Dating Myths: The Truth About Chasing Unicorns

Most girls grew up wishing for a unicorn.  When they were sensible enough to realise that wasn’t going to happen, they set their heart on a simpler, more attainable pony. To this day, even the girls that actually got their chestnut thoroughbred or snow-white pony would trade that nag in a heartbeat if his magical, mystical Unicorn cousin came prancing up to the plate. Straight off to the glue factory for you, Mr. Ed, next to that shiny, shimmering stallion you look like a bottle of Clag. Because no matter how adult we pretend to be, there’s a little girl inside every woman that still wants to believe in fairy tales.

Tell Santa what you want for Christmas Judy. “A pony”. What do you want for your birthday, darling? “A pony”. Sweetie why are you crying? “I. Want. A. Ponyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy.”. Well, Judy, you go out and find that pony, but don’t come crying to me if he bucks you into a blackberry bush or shits on your shoes. There’s a lesson here, Judy: nothing good is ever without a trade-off and there is never a reward without a risk. Chasing love is  often a choice between unicorns and ponies. Should you hold out for your fairy tale or do you bet your money on the realistic, reliable and more readily available steed?

It begs a few questions about unicorns: do they actually exist? How do you catch one? And if by some small miracle you do, then what do you do with it? I’ve waded through a fair bit of emotional horse manure in my attempts to wrangle a garden variety pony and I’ve been left wondering if there really is something more? Is there a mythical beast out there with my name on it, a game changer holding the key to my happy ending?  I thought, “what the hell”. If I’m going to risk getting crapped on it might as well be by a unicorn. At least they probably crap out glitter.

I don’t normally chase the unattainable. Some are brave and without fear, but frankly I’m a big, fat pansy that’s scared of rejection. I don’t like to set myself up to fail and like many single pringles, I’m a control freak so I don’t want to put myself in a position of unequal power. Happy to be a unicorn? Yes. *Swishes mane with glee*. Happy to chase a unicorn? Oh hell no, I don’t wanna play a game I can’t win.  But Carpe Diem/ YOLO/ DILIGAF, I thought I’d give it a try and this is what I’ve found: Traditionally the unicorn is that too-good-to-be true stranger/dreamboat/ man of your dreams/ personification of perfection/ unattainable beyond measure/ I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter kind of human. The type of person your girl friends tell you that you deserve to be with, but you’re not sure actually exist in the realms of men (eg. Chris Hemsworth as Thor *drool*).

Do they exist? Yes. A unicorn has an unimaginably rare combination of traits that you want to dedicate your whole life to being worthy of them. It’s the 6’4” smoking hot veterinarian who speaks three languages, is kind to his mother, spends his spare time reading to blind homeless children, has a heart of gold, a wicked sense of a humour and charm that makes grown men consider switching teams (Missing person: If you find this man please return to Life in Arcadia, care of Jules and DO NOT alert the authorities).

We have all glimpsed a unicorn before: the unattainable dream often personified as your best friend’s big brother, the hot lecturer, the high school captain, the heart-throb lead singer or the incurable bachelor. Effortlessly resplendent with the perfect balance of friendly and aloof; often engulfing you in a full body paralysis every time they speak.  Aside from putting you at risk of choking on your own tongue they drive you hopelessly insane whilst doing absolutely nothing at all except being just ever so slightly out of your reach. Always.

That, my friends, is the unicorn. Very hard to find, even harder to catch. You might only come across one or two in your lifetime. Some say they are just a figment of your imagination; a cruel mirage in a desolate dating wasteland. Others say finding your unicorn is the meaning of life and you should never stop searching until you find one and marry it.

Catching one is as much a game of chance as it is a game of skill. Like the lottery, you will undoubtedly lose but you can never win if you never play. There’s no right or wrong way to catch a unicorn. But remember that everything looks perfect from far away. When you get closer you can see past all the glitter and rainbows and things aren’t always as perfect as they appear.  A good friend once told me that those whose talents are most obviously on display are often those hiding the biggest flaws. Like cologne, a man’s true qualities should be discovered and not advertised. Let that sink in.

So, Unicorns, if you catch one, then what? What do you do when you finally catch an untamed animal with a precarious pointy protrusion? All of a sudden your fairy tale feels a bit more like The Running of the Bulls and you start to get a horrible feeling that someone is going to get seriously injured. Whether or not you get gored in the small intestine, sooner or later you realise that the things we build up in our heads are usually the greatest disappointments. Liars, cheaters, commitmentophobes or creepily dependant mumma’s-boys; often these mythical creatures have been frolicking freeling for so long in everyone’s imagination they haven’t even been broken-in. The reality can never live up to the hype, so maybe it’s better to be wowed by a pony then disappointed by a daydream?

As beautiful as they are from a distance, once you rub the rainbows out of your eyes and the glittery shit off your shoes you realise unicorns are really no different from all the other ponies.

Thanks for reading. If you love Life in Arcadia why not follow us on Instagram to get you weekly lols at @lifeinarcadia and don’t forget to sign up for email notifications in the menu tab at the top right of the page. Love x

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