Dating is confusing. You have to wait how many days to call? Oh wait, no one calls anymore. You have to wait how many hours to answer a text?
You can blame dating apps or social media, but I think rom-coms are the culprit. Movies have spoon-fed us unrealistic expectations about love. These optimistic plots are the reason I purposely carry around my stack of “Harry Potter” books, just waiting for someone to gracelessly bump into me.
But stress no more, singles of the world! We have our newest romance hero. No, not Rachel McAdams. It’s Kimmy Schmidt. Her love life is far from perfect, but Kimmy is resilient and optimistic. We could all learn from her escapades.
“Hashbrown, no filter”
Kimmy says hashbrown instead of hashtag and thinks “Billy Madison” is a documentary, but she could not care less. Kimmy is authentic and genuine. She says what’s on her mind and doesn’t worry about embarrassing herself.
I can recall a date where I pretended to know a lot about dairy farms because she had worked on one for most of her life. Spoiler: We didn’t make it. The way she described cheese, though, sure was dreamy.
Date like you never could
… or like you’ve been in a bunker for 15 years. Close your eyes and envision not knowing about Tinder, or that people won’t date someone because of height differences. Kimmy disposes of stereotypes and cuts through the mundane. She approaches situations with the kind of awe and gratitude that’s nearly absent in our romantic culture.
I wish I could greet each person and situation with this same awe. I try to turn off my phone during dates, but sometimes I still catch myself glimpsing. I try to keep an open mind and date outside my usual type.
Kiss them, whatever.
Yes, even if it’s in the kitchen of someone else’s house. As one of Kimmy’s insults goes: “2090 called. You’re dead. And you wasted your time on Earth.” We spend too much time overthinking. Here’s to Kimmy-esque spontaneity, taking risks, asking out that person you’ve had your eye on, and going back for that second or fourth bowl of ice cream.
Do more Kimmy-ing
“Kimmy-ing” is what she calls smiling until you feel better. To me it’s about acceptance. We’re all going to mess up in relationships. And although some mistakes are more forgivable than others, we shouldn’t worry so much about doing or saying the wrong thing. When my last relationship ended, I focused on my faults and flaws, over-analyzing why it didn’t work out. Rather, I should have focused on the future and what was in my control.
I wish I was your yellow hat!
When a construction worker told Kimmy he wanted to be in her jeans, she didn’t let it go. He finally responds honestly: “I say these things to women even though I got a mother that I love, and three beautiful sisters. Okay? Are you happy?” Relationships aren’t a tug of war, but they are about bringing out the best in one another. And sometimes that means challenging the person you’re with — asking why they believe the things they do or finding out what’s really behind an offensive remark.
Outside-in doesn’t work
“You could have the most beautiful feet in the world, but it wouldn’t fix what’s really wrong,” Kimmy says to Jacqueline White (played by Jane Krakowski). Throughout the series, Kimmy tries to find meaning in a new place where she knows no one. Whether it’s her job, friends, or romances, she realizes that true happiness comes from the inside-out.
Kimmy also has work to do on herself
Kimmy’s emotional trauma becomes more visible in Season 2. Nearly every time she tries to get involved with someone, her past experiences pop up. She hits Dong over the head with a phone while he tries to kiss her, for example, and puts Keith (the veteran she meets at a bar, played by Sam Page) into a weird leg hold when her bunker trauma is triggered. Kimmy eventually comes to the conclusion that she needs help. And she gets it.
When pain goes unaddressed, it doesn’t just go away — it presents itself in other ways, making it hard to form deep connections in new relationships. In Kimmy’s example, seeking help is considered a sign of progress, not weakness.
You have needs, too
When Kimmy meets Andrea Bayden (an alcoholic psychiatrist played by Tina Fey) in Season 2, Andrea manages to give Kimmy some quality advice, even while drunk: It’s not healthy to always put others before herself, she advises.
Throughout both seasons, Kimmy is constantly putting others’ needs before her own, such as helping Ms. White keep up her wealthy appearance. In Season 2 Kimmy finally begins to express her needs, especially to her roommate Titus, who takes advantage of her kindness. This is a big step forward for her. It’s also a reminder that, in successful relationships, both people’s needs are considered and met.
Kimmy may not have it all figured out. But she does seem to embody a more honest and authentic dating culture — where quirkiness, self-pride and personal growth are more important than swipes, frustrating rules and expectations.