I have proof in the form of sixteen reasons the first episode was bad.
@leeesq I respect your perspective on this, but I find it so baffling because it's completely opposite to my own.
If I hadn't paired up in my teens (I didn't date anyone until 17) or 20s, I wouldn't have felt like I missed out on anything. Having done so, having gotten married at 21, yes, it's amazing and fabulous and far more happiness than I could have imagined... but I didn't *want* to pair up. It's a thing that would have been a lot more work to avoid than to embrace, which is why it happened, if I'm fully honest about my 18- through 21-year-old self.
And I actually fought pretty darn hard to avoid any settle-down relationships, which kept pushing themselves at me. Jaybird tricked me - in the good way - by becoming my soulmate friend-wise before I had any idea of romance with him, before I had ever even met him (that took more than 2 years btw, and thousands of hours of phonecalls and emails). Even so it was touch and go for a long time.
If I hadn't been paired up, I would've been happy, as happy went, most of the time, I would have kept my loneliness mostly on the inside, and I would have been plenty busy with all those things Roland mentions, and not really noticed the lack of a romantic partner. I would've daydreamed about having one sometimes, but when I went to college my lifeplan (hee hee hee hee, like 17 year old me had ANY idea about such things) required minimal day to day interaction with anyone, even my long-distance high school boyfriend, until age 28 or so. In other words, as far off as I could plausibly push it away.
It took me until a few months into sophomore year to even get a phone, for Pete's sake (and we all know how that turned out :P ).
I think the tragedy is perhaps not that people end up not being paired up, but that the people who don't really want to be paired up have some kind of extra magnetism for everyone else.
Like, if Jaybird dies before me, I really would rather not have another romantic relationship (this doesn't mean I wouldn't have sex). Lord, it's so much work! I'm glad I did it for Jay and vice versa but I feel exceptionally unwilling to ever do it again.
Except that I do realize that in that situation, I'd probably have lovers who had FEELINGS about me who were amazing within like six months and then I'd end up reciprocating their FEELINGS because that's how my feelings work and while none of them would be Jaybird, my ideal life dream since I read The Horse and His Boy of being a HERMIT for the rest of my life is just. Well. Probably not going to happen.
If I could trade the improbability of that happening for the angst and suffering many of my single friends who are wired for pairing have gone through, I would do it in a heartbeat.
But it just doesn't work that way.