Soul Seeking Mate

by Leandra Medine
November 26, 2013
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Just in time for Thanksgiving, we can have our cake and eat it too

unicornhorn

People think that soulmates are like cake, or pie, when in fact, they’re actually much more like cookies. See, when you indulge in a cake you can have as much of it as you want. Finish it or don’t. It won’t matter because you’ve already nailed the flavor in your first several bites. The taste won’t change. You might like it, you might absolutely love it, it might be the capstone of birthday cakes, but when you’re done eating you’ve satiated your fifth sense with just one, comprehensive taste.

With cookies, you get the opportunity to bask in variety. You don’t have to choose a chocolate chip cookie over a sugar cookie or a macadamia nut. You can be finicky about your selection and then rest assured that unlike with cake, you can have your cookies and eat them too.

When considering soulmates, the supposition is always that there is one per person. That after you’ve found your one, your search is over, that your existence has been complimented and can therefore be rendered complete. But what if at the tender age of 23, you’ve already fulfilled this “duty.” Where does that leave you and the anticipatory years of exploration you imagine lay ahead?

Probably eating one uniform loaf of cake.

According to Wikipedia, the layman interpretation of soulmate is “a person with whom one has a feeling of deep or natural affinity.”

The historical context dates back to a theory culled by Plato that suggests in addition to the male and female genders, there was another: the “Androgynous” — a powerful and therefore highly threatening group that boasted both male and female genitals betwixt their legs. To eliminate competition and double the number of human worship, head honcho Zeus split the Androgynous down the middle so that each one got either a penis or a vagina, not both. The separated humans would then forever pine for his or her other half.

Another theory states that the androgynous gender was divided as a karmic testament to the gluttonous nature of their habits on earth. As the story goes, if and when the karmic debt is paid, the separate parts come back together.

Evidently, Match.com has found a loophole to predate the post-payment consolidation process. How? Watch one commercial — just one — and count the times these human affirmations will effusively declare, “I found my soulmate!”

You will cringe, I will too. But there’s trouble in that because at its core, Match.com is a selfless, endearing service aimed at helping to locate the thing we all presumably search for: happiness. That we look for happiness in the prospect of a partner, of course, presents another issue, but the relationship stories that come out of the website have, I am positive, affected at least a handful of people you know personally and maybe even taken you off the ledge of lonely.

Online dating is no longer a stigma. If you don’t have time to loiter around bars, there’s literally an app for that. If you’re not sure whether he’s is looking for his Mrs. Right, you can rest assured there is a place where you will know. So why are we cringing?

Because they’re calling each other soulmates! Duh! How corny is that? But why did the poor old compound word, made up of two seemingly diffident, one syllable nouns become such a hallmark of misplaced sentimentality?

It could be popular culture’s fault. After all, it turned the act of finding your soulmate into a violently platitudinal state of existence that describes two romantically involved parties who have become annoyingly happy and irrevocably in love preachers of the old adage, “Don’t worry, you’ll find your lid.”

My friend Sophie e-mailed me on Monday to ask about my stance on the topic of soulmates. I would imagine she thought I was the right person to ask because I’ve already chosen my cake, so to speak. But here’s the thing: heteronormality mandates that your soulmate should be your life companion, and the assumption when considering life companionship is that this “lobster” (as one Phoebe Buffet once put it when explaining the rubberband effect that was Ross and Rachel’s relationship), can only be your seafood of choice romantically. But does that have to be the case? Can’t a partner just be a partner? A really good one, who gets you, who likes you just as much as you like him or her, who stimulates you intellectually and as a bonus, offers athletic value to your bedroom-rooted exercise regiment?

Friendship is powerful. In spite of how much I love my partner-in-sex, when I think about my friends, I’m almost positive that I reap all the intrinsic benefits of a “soulmate” from the girls who have become my sisters. I feel the same way when I think about my mom, who gets me to a degree that I don’t even get myself. Sometimes, in fact, when I’m seated in that cushy leather chair, staring into a mirror while the man behind me rests his chin an inch above my crown and says “You need to go shorter,” I think my hairdresser might be my soulmate, too. Of course, the latter relationships are devoid of sexual stimulation but guess what? I have another, very reliable battery operated “soulmate” for that.

So why can’t my mom or best friend or hairdresser be my fresh-baked batch of soulmates while my husband just functions as my, you know, American Pie?

Illustration by Charlotte Fassler

REPLIES
  • Hannah

    Genius. You read my mind, you brilliant, piece of brilliance, you.

    I completely agree on all terms. We try to label the voids in our lives, which can subsequently lead to more voids. Labels create expectations. Expectations create inevitable disappointments when those expectations are not fulfilled.

    I am not Ghandi. I am a tired college student who is greatly looking forward to apple pie in 1.5 days. I want to find my partner in crime/sex/everything else. I have faith (in I don’t know what) that I will not settle for anything less than a “soul-mate” ish relationship.

    The end.

  • http://zoethemoustachecat.squarespace.com/ Zoe the Moustache Cat

    Your drawing made my day. I’m all about unicorns. Will you be my human?

  • Anonymous

    Meredith and Cristina on Grey’s. Case in point. “You’re my person.”

  • Quinn Halman

    This made my day 1000 times better. You gals always cheer me up <3

  • julie

    You’re writing is a joy to behold and you make me laugh. Two things, I hope my daughters think of me as kind of a soulmate and next, if you haven’t already, watch Hedwig and the Angry Inch–yet another take on Plato.

    • Raquel

      I was gonna say the same, about Hedwig and the Angry Inch! Great text!!!!

  • Paola Sofía

    OMG this is perfect. I’ve found myself recently in a position where I have a perfectly round and deliciously frosted cake all to myself, but the cake is too far away to eat as we are in a long distance. So trying an aray of cookies every once in a while has started to fulfill my needs. When the cookies started to become my “people”, that’s when I realized there was a problem. All of this does not mean that my cake is not my soulmate, it emphasizes it even more. And makes me question what you mentioned, “Can’t a partner be just a partner” and a soulmate just be a soulmate? upgh love.

  • Munnazza Khan

    This post made me think of this:

  • laura

    cool

  • dupras

    I’ve been going over the phrase “Familiarity breeds contempt” a lot lately and wondering if my soulmate-type relationships killed themselves for that reason. I think I understand dessert analogies better than anything :)

    blog.duprasdesigns.com

  • Lindsay

    Love your writing Leandra!

  • Polly Daszkiewicz

    Totally with you on this. I love my boyfriend but before I met him I was completely content in thinking that my best friends could be my soul mates, and that hasn’t changed. I think the label itself is terribly limiting.

    http://www.polway.eu

  • mekeesha

    i always say that my dog is my soulmate. maybe like how your mom or hairdresser is– she just gets me. :)

  • marie a

    Exactly! It’s so funny because when people (like me) say they don’t believe in soulmates, they’re often considered jaded or cynical. But it’s actually much more optimistic! When I say I don’t believe in soulmates, I don’t mean that I think it’s impossible to have a really profound connection with someone… I just mean I think you can have this with multiple people in different ways!

    • Angela

      I get the same reaction for saying that we are not limited to just one soulmate. Or that a soulmate must be of the opposite sex.

  • Aubrey Green

    I love this and completely agree with you. One of my favorite pieces from you so far.

    Wasn’t it Pheobe from Friends that said Ross was Rachel’s Lobster (or eachother’s)?

    • Leandra Medine

      You are so right! Thanks for being the best fact checker there ever was. Apologies for the mistake! Editing now.

      • Aubrey Green

        :) you’re welcome. Interested if you’re hiring ;)…

  • ani

    This is extremely perfect!!

  • kirbybee

    Perhaps it’s my perennial single state talking, or my preference for cookies, but I find the concept of a soulmate old fashioned and out of step with the way I live my life. We seem to be so focused on getting THE ONE, that we fail to appreciate the people (friends, siblings, parents, hairdresssers, dogs) we have in our life that are equally, if not more, important than some fabled unicorn, who may or may not be, waiting for you on match.com.

  • crosbylafayette

    Everyone should read this book. We all have a group of “soul mates”. http://books.google.com/books/about/Journey_of_Souls.html?id=Psk6tJq1ybQC

  • elle ganda
  • Ric Iglesias

    But then why even have one American Pie? Why not dozens of American Pies? Should probably be cool as long as all the Pies are aware of the situation and are consenting Pies, right?

  • http://www.blackwhitecolor.org/ MarineBWC

    Loved the Friends reference aha

  • Virginia

    excelent writing! i’m from Argentina and here (this is literally the bottom of the world) happens the same… we’re so busy trying to find our other half but maybe it’s been always by our sides, as our friends, family or pets. :)

  • Sabrina Haskinson

    On the dessert analogy, I have found my cake at a very young age. It took me a while to realize that just because I have my cake doesnt mean I cant have cookies and pie. It just means that those cookies and pies stay what they are, and my cake stays my cake.

  • viennarightnow

    Love the irony in the illustration

    http://www.viennarightnow.com

  • Celeste

    Leandra you’re so articulate and entertaining and perceptive I just can’t. I sound like a basic bitch but there’s two different kinds of people right?

  • Josephine Baker

    Brilliant! Love it.

    www. mybeautifullife.me

  • Amelie
  • http://greygooseconfidential.blogspot.com/ Eve

    In my experience, even the good ol’ battery operated soulmates need a little ‘me time’. If even your sex toy could use a break once in a while, what’s to say about the rest of us, who might be happy together, but also (obviously-a-little-less-but-not-really) happy on our own?

  • marieke schreurs
  • roofing houston tx

    Awesome post and all content!!!Really i am happy to read this.Its very important and helpful for us.I seem we should read it

  • Elizabeth

    Why not? Well, why are you asking anyone but yourself? Your asking for external confirmation because internally you feel it is not enough.

  • Vanessa Correa

    Maybe it’s because I’m dyslexic, but given the problems in society (more than half of marriages ending in divorce and surge of single parent households) I take it from the other end. Instead of focusing on the right “one” I think we should all focus on not attaching ourselves to the wrong one. So no, I don’t believe there is any one person you are destined to be with, I believe there are numerous people you are not meant to be with and if we all would be more proactive about crossing those names off our lists, maybe our statistics would improve.

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