Wednesday, March 24, 2010

#42 The Fate Versus Coincidence Debate

As young, impressionable children, single girls once believed in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, unicorns and true love.  While our faith in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny has diminished, the dubious existence of true love has been perpetuated by romance novels written by Nicholas Sparks and romantic comedies starring Meg Ryan.  (Unicorns, on the other hand, are real.)

The idea of "true love," "love at first sight," "the one" and "destiny" has often been challenged by many single girls, specifically after a horrible break-up or a series of bad dates.  But our confidence in a "happily ever after" can easily be restored by accidental encounters with the (current) object of our obsession affection.

However, because some single girls have become a bit jaded with age, these seemingly serendipitous meetings are the subject of a great debate that pits fate against coincidence.  For example, if we run into a boy we are interested in at the supermarket, could one argue that this is fate and predestined to happen, or purely coincidental?

The case in favor of coincidence asserts that people are attracted to people with similar interests, so naturally bumping into him in the freezer section at Trader Joe's means the two of you love their mint icecream sandwiches.  (You even mentioned this on a date, remember?) 

So you run into him again at a rock concert?  Coincidence.  You obviously like the same band.

Additionally, a chance rendezvous at the local bar is an absolute fluke if the two of you live within a three-mile radius of each other.  (Don't forget, single girls like geographical desirability.)

Now, the defense for fate contends that these unexpected tête-à-têtes are rather remarkable, maybe even magical.  Think about it: an unintended and unplanned encounter translates to two people being in the same exact place at the same exact time. 

Would these "coincidences" still occur if you took an extra two seconds to apply lip gloss this morning or if he stayed in his car an extra five seconds to answer a text message?

Those mint icecream sandwiches at Trader Joe's?  Not only were you both at the same exact Trader Joe's at the same exact time (3:07pm on Saturday), you were both completely out of mint icecream sandwiches at the same time.  Is this fate?

So you run into him again at a rock concert, waiting for a beer in the same exact line (the one upstairs) at the same exact time (9:46pm on Thursday).  But neither of you know the indie band on stage - you're only there to support your friend who is in love with the bass player and he was invited by a friend who won tickets on the radio.  This is TOTALLY fate, right?

Another fortuitous reunion, but this time the two of you both happen to be in the same shitty dive bar in a completely foreign neighborhood at the same exact time?  What are the odds?  Is the world really this small?  And why does it seem to revolve around us?

Call it kismet, call it fate.  Whatever this is, it's not just a coincidence anymore.  Or is it?


  1. The notion of "fate" is one of the three keys to proving that women are crazy.

  2. I am actually a coincidence person, aka cynical single girl. I don't believe in fate. But women do love to debate it.

    To the anonymous misogynist who posted the last comment: there are men that think like this too. So your little crazy label in this case is not just for women. I actually know men that think this way, but they are labeled "romantics", while women are labeled "crazy". Another case of the double standards.