...Grateful "Me and My Misfit Friends"
Going out with my fortyish, never-been-married single friends for a Friday night happy hour is like docking on the “Island of Misfit Toys.” For those familiar with the adorbs 1960s animated Christmas TV classic “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” you might recall this magical Arctic wonderland.
It boasts a cowboy who rides an ostrich (huh?), a pink-polka-dotted elephant (a bad case of acne?), and a train whose caboose has square wheels (a seriously bumpy backseat ride). There are a few other “misfit” toys that truly pull at your heartstrings. (Who can forget the ragdoll, Dolly, in her sweet gingham frock?) The fact that these misfits, outcasts in the toy world and without owners to love them, actually realize their own misfortune makes you feel for them even more.
“Who wants a cowboy who rides an ostrich?!” Well, this poor cowboy wants to find that special someone. Maybe a little boy or girl somewhere is bored with horses (horses, horses, horses) and commiserating with Santa over a large flightless African bird. Ostriches are actually quite noble and spectacular since they are the largest flightless birds on the planet, right?
Teeny-weeny Rudolph with his own outcast of a glowing red nose, little blonde-haired and rebellious Hermey with his dreams of leaving torturous elfdom behind to pursue dentistry, and Yukon Cornelius who dreams 24/7 of finding gold but his pickaxe comes up dry (oh dear, yet again) stumble upon this remote island. They miraculously, instantly, seem to fit in. It’s a touching moment. To see the island spring to life in melody, in which all the characters sing “we’re all misfits,” you can’t help but feel these lovable characters deserve happiness and a permanent home.
My friends and I have our own “misfit” stories, or shall I say “misfit marriage” stories. Sidling up to the upscale bar in my New York City neck of the woods at 7 o’clock on a Friday night, you might think you’re settling into a soap opera. The show? Maybe "The Bold and the Beautifully Aging?” However, you soon realize you’ve entered the igloo.
“Yeah, my ex-boyfriend didn’t want to marry me because I’m an American. His parents overseas were against it.” Sniffle, sniffle. “Right, I had a chance to get married in my thirties to a great girl, but I was never home because I was traveling with work.” Clink! Another depressed sip and ice cube jingle of vodka tonic.
Before we know it, one “happy hour” has spread into two. More misfit friends arrive from work, and the topic of our single status eventually changes. Our depressing tales of lost loves and near-altar experiences are replaced by tales of raucous nieces, nephews, current significant others that we are “dating,” and all the other ins and outs of our lives. Some of us are sadder than others in our single status. All of us are happy to be with “misfit” friends who understand.