Shelf Life.

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Happily waiting.
Happily waiting.
Emily Eden

Early nineteenth century, if a women was not proposed to, or had been asked for her hand in marriage and then the fellow had a change of heart and retracted his offer, she was referred to as being left ‘on the shelf’. If you google this idiom the following words pop up in definition; “useless” and “undesirable”. For several decades later, women settled for whatever man and marriage proposal came along first- in utmost fear of being put away on the dreaded shelf. Women opted to be with a brutish male that drank too much as it apparently was a much better life than collecting dust in one’s bloomers.

Nowadays we wear Victoria’s Secret lace thongs and have so many options of a potential life partner. And yet at some point or another, the anxiety of expiring on a slab of wood creeps in causing us to lower our standards.

We begin to fear the dust bunnies, so we settle for a date with the guy that has halitosis. Or teeth that you can’t help but stare at and wonder if he did meth before or after binge watching Breaking Bad. Or we go on dates with guys who stare at us so intensely and firmly, who tell us how beautiful we are over and over. We buy it, and then we realize they haven’t blinked in the last five minutes as a result of taking Adderall.

It’s not just extremely bad dates that we settle to go on, sometimes we find ourselves on dates with great guys who tick every box but there’s no spark. And we so desperately try to convince ourselves that we can perhaps live without the butterflies. After all being with a great, stable- guy is better than being left behind in the race of adulthood and stuck on the shelf like a stale jar of marmite.

I once dated an amazing guy who was everything you hope for. An attractive man who would have moved the world for me. Yet for some reason I couldn’t reciprocate the attraction and therefore couldn’t bring myself to kiss him. I kept hoping my feelings would change. It became apparent they wouldn’t, when after dinner one night, he hailed me a yellow cab that had automatic retractable doors. As he was paying the driver and telling him where to take me, I climbed into the backseat. He then leaned in- to kiss me goodnight and my apprehension was so obvious that the taxi driver closed the door to save me from this man’s lips. Karma had me endure a Spanish inquisition for a hundred blocks as to why I did not want to kiss this “very-very nice, man”, who had even paid for my trip home.

After hundreds of these near miss experiences we neglect what we truly want. We completely forget about our value and what we deserve. We do feel “useless” and “undesirable”. And out of need for validation of our greatness, we begin to date everybody in hopes of it extending our shelf life. But the truth is we are literally expiring ourselves.

If any of this is resonating with you thus far, I challenge you to change your thoughts to the shelf idiosyncrasy immediately. (Cue Eye of the Tiger’)...

Instead of feeling like Woody the Cowboy in the first Toy Story Movie, sensing you have been ‘put aside’ for a newer and shinier plastic toy, take pride about being on that shelf. And envision it as the top shelf where they store the most valuable and hardest to attain prizes.

You want a man that is going to shoot a thousand hoops until he scores you. After all, you are not a bottom shelf cuddly toy made from child labour in Taiwan. There are men out there, who will actually carry you to a pub on a date and uber you home when your knee is in a brace because you are unable to walk. (Cue Joe Cocker)... Some men will go to wonderful efforts to coax you down from the ledge. So why jump in haste and behave like a consolation prize?

There maybe times that you feel like you have been ‘on the shelf’ for a while, and you find yourself thinking about how you should have just married Bill Sykes. But look what happened to Nancy. Do you want ‘A Fine Life’ - when you can have an awesome one? There is no need to be second rank in a man’s life to a dog named Bullseye.

This is when you go out and enjoy your time with your friends and you ask them to remind you of how fabulous you are. And they tell you; you are far more interesting than the girl with botox who has as as much personality as a stick of celery. They will not only get you drunk and make you laugh, but they will also assure you, that you will not have to store mothballs in your 3 for $33 VS panties for safety. Because the right guy will come along.

And we all know what happens to our neglige when he does...