The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

23 July 2004

The Roosevelt Rule

I found this in Caren Lissner's novel Starting from Square Two (Don Mills, Ontario: Red Dress Ink, 2004).

"I used to toss obnoxious men aside without a second thought. Now if I meet one who's single, I'm expected to look for the bright side. It's like the Roosevelt Rule."

"The Roosevelt Rule?"

"Fear of being alone is worse than being alone itself," Hallie said. "When I was nineteen and didn't have a boyfriend, I never felt bad about it. Because I figured someday I would. My friends and I had plenty of fun alone. What ruins the fun is the fear that you'll be that way forever."

Gert knew how scared Hallie was. "You know, you could find someone in the blink of an eye," Gert said. "It could happen tomorrow." But she didn't think she sounded convincing. She didn't like issuing comforting platitudes, but she didn't want Hallie to give up, either.

Hallie stood up and went over to her stereo and fondled the copper Empire State Building on top. "I'm in New York City," she said. "I'm healthy, attractive, and I have a steady job. I should be seeing every play on Broadway. I should be eating at the best restaurants and getting drunk with friends and singing at piano bars. I should be taking road trips across the country and sleeping under the stars. But since those activities are enhanced doubly and triply when you do them with someone you love, I've put them on hold and instead spent all my time looking for that person. It's just too hard to live in the moment when you know how much better the moment would be if you found someone."

Well, I definitely have no business singing in piano bars.

Still, I feel compelled to raise the possibility of a new deal, so to speak.

(Update, 10:40 pm: Fixed links.)

Posted at 8:45 AM to Table for One

Unrealistic expectations. The great American dream as a wish list.

Grow up. Build on what is around you or move.


Posted by: Rich at 9:45 AM on 23 July 2004

Yes, it's fiction, but the advice is the same.


Posted by: Rich at 9:47 AM on 23 July 2004

Um, if you didn't know this already, I should point out that Red Dress Ink is an imprint of Harlequin. I don't think we should expect anything realistic or sensible from them.

Posted by: sya at 4:59 PM on 23 July 2004

I did know that; on the other hand, I figure that even disreputable literary genres occasionally come up with useful information. :)

Posted by: CGHill at 6:08 PM on 23 July 2004

It's a pretty realistic dialogue, I would say, sya. Did you not find that it mirrors certain people's thinking? Has your life been so great that you never wished for someone to enjoy the most wonderful things with? Those quirkyalones haven't even given up on finding someone - they just don't want to compromise to do it.

Posted by: perkin at 8:25 PM on 31 July 2004

What was SYA's complaint, though? The passage wasn't 'information,' it was two girls talking. Does she disagree that some things are best done with a partner, and that it can sometimes be hard to do things on your own if you wish you could find someone to do them WITH? Anyone who denies that is either kidding him/herself or has had life waaaaay too easy. I wonder if SYA has been in a good relationship since she was 18 and thus don't know how the real world works. There ARE lonely people in the world. And some of them have a hard time learning to be less lonely. That seemed to be the point. She should meet new kinds of people and open her mind.

Posted by: Huh at 3:30 PM on 3 August 2004

I can't speak for Sya, and I have no idea about the state of her relationships, but I suspect that her mistrust of the literary genre (if that's what it was) does not necessarily extend to mistrust of the actual experience.

Posted by: CGHill at 3:45 PM on 3 August 2004