When The Gabbler contacted Sophia Richardson, a young editorial assistant at a boutique publishing house in New York City, we hoped for a juicy discussion about the love life of a single woman in an urban setting. What we got, however, was a lesson on how some women see a boyfriend as a living, breathing designer purse—a nifty status symbol that’s also a great place to store lip gloss during a party.
The Gabbler: Thank you so much for meeting with me tonight, Sophia!
Sophia Richardson: Well, it’s Friday. Date night. Not like I had much going on.
TG: Well, yeah. You’re single. That’s what we’re here to talk about!
SR: Yes, I’m single, okay? It’s been like a year. A very bad year.
TG: Oh, so things aren’t going that well? I mean, when your friend Victoria suggested I interview you, she described you as “a single girl who has it all—a beautiful, low rent apartment, a great job, adoring friends.” What’s changed since then?
SR: Oh, that stuff. That’s still the same. I mean, sure, I guess my apartment is nice and all. We have a backyard for barbecues and stuff. And my roommate’s an interior decorator so the whole thing looks just like it’s straight out of Pinterest. And like, sure I love my job and my whole office is so cool and my boss has been hinting about a promotion and stuff. And, sure, my friends are, like, totally amazing and fun but supportive and blah, blah, blah.
SR: But I’m STILL SINGLE. Duh.
TG: Yeah, no, I got that single thing. It’s kind of why I’m interviewing you. But, it’s awesome, though, right? I mean, sure relationships are fun and whatever, but it’s nice to just take a step back and focus on yourself, right? Especially at this young age, you can become the person you want to be without worrying about how it’s going to affect anyone else.
SR: The person I want to be is a girlfriend. And maybe one day a fiancée and even possibly a wife and mother, if I can forget about that child birth video they showed me in 8th grade health class.
TG: But, don’t you have ambitions and stuff? You said you love your job, aren’t you hoping to have a career in the publishing industry?
SR: Well, duh. I’m a MODERN WOMAN. I can WORK and have a boyfriend at the same time. I don’t, like, expect him to support me and stuff. Just to, like, be in a relationship with me on Facebook and go with me as my date to weddings and couple parties. And, oooo, maybe we could double date with a few of my friends and their boyfriends!
TG: Sounds, ummmm, very romantic.
SR: Listen, you’re single, too, right?
TG: At the moment, yes.
SR: So you get it. It’s, like, totally embarrassing to be the ONLY one in your social circle who’s still single. I mean, they all ask you questions about whether or not you’ve met anyone. And they all have someone to carry their wallet and lipstick at parties, so they don’t even need to lug around these giant purses. It’s like, yes, look at my huge purse, I AM still single, I get it.
TG: So you want a boyfriend so that you can gossip with your friends about him? And so that you don’t have to carry a purse when you go to parties?
SR: Well, yeah. What else are they good for?
TG: Love? Companionship? Even just sex?
SR: Oh, whatever. I get LAID, okay? That’s not a problem. I can get it when I need it. And as far as love and companionship go, I’m good. My friends are amazing and totally supportive and I have an awesome family and stuff. So I’m not short on love.
TG: But, you know, romantic love.
SR: Well, yeah, of course, you know, that would be nice. All that rom com all consuming, never ending soul mate stuff sounds nice. Would I love to look into a boy’s eyes and see my forever shining back at me? Of course. But I’m young and if I’ve learned one thing from watching Carrie chase Big for six seasons of Sex and the City, it’s that you can’t hurry or push for or plan that kind of love. But you can have really cool boyfriends while you wait around for it to happen. Like Berger, the writer. Or that artist, Alexander Petrovsky. Romantic love can’t be a goal, it has to be a cosmic event. But a boyfriend, a boyfriend is something you can push and plan and work for. Also, people are much more likely to tolerate whining if it’s just about being single than if it’s about not having scrounged up a soul mate by 25.
TG: So, what is your end goal with this whole boyfriend thing?
SR: Ugh, how don’t you get this if you’re single, too? YOU KNOW.
TG: No, I really don’t.
SR: You’re really going to make me say it, huh? So much for Single Girl Code.
TG: Is Single Girl Code a thing?
SR: Ummm, it has to be. We don’t have men to protect us, so we need to protect each other.
TG: Okay, listen, I don’t need a man to protect me. I definitely don’t need the protection of some little snot-nosed Editorial Assistant who can’t even see how amazing her life is.
SR: Well, someone’s cranky. Okay, listen, let me just clue you in. Boyfriends, they’re not like people, okay? They’re like accessories. It’s like, who wants to spend a month’s paycheck on an ugly designer handbag when you can just wear a cute graphic designer, you know?
TG: So to you a boyfriend is basically a form of social capital? A way to show your value to the group?
SR: EXACTLY. I mean, do you know how embarrassing it is to show up to a New Years’ party alone? Or go to a wedding dateless?
TG: Yeah, I’ve done both of those things. It was really fun, actually!
SR: Fun? How can it be fun when everyone’s staring at you like you’re a leper? Like, “poor little Sophia. Alone still.”
TG: So why don’t you just pick someone? You say you got laid. I assume you date a bit. Have you tried OK Cupid? Or even Match.com or EHarmony?
SR: I do date. And I’m on OK Cupid, which is exhausting by the way. How can there be SO MANY totally desperate guys all on one website? It’s like, stop messaging me. I’ll answer you if you’re cute enough. And guess what, you’re not cute enough, so move on.
TG: And you still haven’t found a boyfriend?
SR: Well I don’t just want a boyfriend who’s like the equivalent of a purse that you found on the 80% off rack at Target. I want, like, what’s a good designer? Like the Chanel or Prada or whatever of boyfriends. He has to be cute and funny and employed in a well-paying but slightly artsy profession. And, lately, I’ve been thinking that maybe he should be a libertarian. I mean, everyone has a boyfriend who’s liberal or progressive or whatever. And I could NEVER date a Republican, could you imagine the looks I would get? But libertarian is a little bit funky, you know. Like Ron Paul but hot and young and holding my lip gloss for me.
TG: With criteria and motives like that it’s crazy that you’re still single.
SR: I know, right? But seriously, do you know anyone? Single? Libertarian? Artsy but employed and well-paid?
TG: I do not. So, really, is that really all you want from a boyfriend? You mentioned earlier wanting to be a wife and mother one day. Is there a chance that all of this rush to find a boyfriend is just the slow ticking of your biological clock?
SR: Okay, seriously, have you been talking to my mother? I swear to God, if ONE MORE PERSON starts bugging me to “meet a nice man and settle down and have some babies” I will go INSANE. Did I not mention that my apartment looks like it’s straight out of Pinterest? Do you THINK I want a man moving in and messing that up by getting all his male body hair all over everything? And my career, which I love and is just getting started and a million other people would LOVE to have, does that seem like something I can put on hold for a wedding or a honeymoon or BABIES?
TG: So, wait, wait, wait. Your motivation in finding a boyfriend has nothing to do with wanting to settle down, get married, have babies?
SR: Ohmygod, of course not! Are you insane? Have you been listening to anything I’ve said? Why would I want the FATHER OF MY CHILDREN to be some flashy designer handbag boyfriend? Do you honestly think that I want my children to be raised by a LIBERTARIAN just because it’s trendy in 2013? Can you imagine? “Oh, sure, son, you smoke that pot! Neither your mother, the government, nor myself have the right to tell you not to.” Gross. No, no, no. This boyfriend that I’m searching for is just Mr. 2013. He needs to look good on me for now, not for forever. I’ll worry about all that falling in love and settling down stuff when I’m, like, 29.
TG: Just out of curiosity, what kind of handbag boyfriend would be the type you settle down with?
SR: The kind of boyfriend you settle down with isn’t a handbag. You marry a person, not an accessory, duh! I mean, not to reference Sex and the City again, but Miranda didn’t settle down with some high powered attorney or whatever. She picked a bartender, because he spoke to her heart in a way that no one else could. Because he was a person, not just something shiny to bring along to an event.
TG: Okay, that almost makes sense, I guess. Well, thanks so much for speaking with me today and enlightening me about exactly what I should be looking for in a boyfriend.