How to find your soul mate

“In high school, I always used to wonder who he was, where he was, and how my life would be different with him in it. I'd close my eyes and imagine myself sitting on his lap, laughing just because we were together.” Cosmo Girl, August 2001


I think the concept of a soul mate is—sorry, mom—bullshit. And you know what? Maybe I’m just saying that because I haven’t found “the one,” which is another concept I reject because there are literally five billion people* on the planet, and you’re telling me only one of them is right for me?

*not literally, I actually have no idea how many people are on the planet, which I’m embarrassed about. That’s something I should know, but also something I’m not going to take the time to Google because I’ll never remember the number anyway.

I feel about soul mates like I feel about ghosts. I don’t believe in them, and I don’t believe people who say they’ve seen them, though I believe the people believe it. We tell ourselves stories, etc.

A 2001 issue of Cosmo Girl has a story about soul mates that’s so convincing in its argument that the subhed is, literally, “Don't worry! He's out there. Here's how to spot him.”

Heteronormativeness aside, there’s so much wrong with publishing this in a magazine for teenage girls who grew up watching Disney fairytales, loyally babying their American Girl dolls, and “playing house.”

“Your soul mate,”—who is obviously out there, the article implies, but uh, if he’s because of course he’s a he is MIA, your life is incomplete, so just keep searching?—“thinks the way you do. It's like you have this secret, unique communication. You laugh at the same stuff and can sense a change in each other's moods, no matter how subtle.” Speaking of subtle! It’s hard for me to even articulate why this makes me so mad *because* it makes me so mad.

“Everybody has a "type" they tend to go for. Maybe you like tall and athletic blond guys or something. But when you meet your soul mate, that won't matter anymore. You're connected with his spirit, not his fashion sense—or his ethnic background, religion, or anything else surface-y. You just see him.”

His spirit!

Back before I had such strong feeling about, or against, soul mates, back when I shopped at Abercrombie and faithfully listened to LFO, with whom I was in love, I would have told you that athletic blond guys were my type. Nevermind that I’d never dated one; nevermind that I haven’t since.

“So really, you're not alone even when you feel alone. There is someone out there for you. Maybe he's sitting in math class three towns away, mowing the lawn for his dad in another country, or just reading a book next door. He's going about his life, like you. But one day, you will be drawn together, and from then on your life will never be the same. It's your destiny.”

Who can blame us for growing up believing that we were not enough if we were alone, and, worse, that when we finally found someone we thought was our soul mate, they were our One Shot at happiness? That’s why there are so many bad relationships and rich divorce lawyers out there. The thing is, I don’t want someone to finish my sentences. I can finish them just fine on my own, thank you.