‘The Lobster’ And Why You’re Lonely (And Shouldn’t Be)


‘The Lobster’ – a strange dating satire made Lucas think about how lonely finding love these days can be.

It seems all too common nowadays that we live in a state of flux where you are either A) dating or B) looking to date.

Yorgos Lanthimos’ ‘The Lobster’ is a film unlike any I have seen before. The plot revolves around an uncanny dystopian society in which single people are forced to find a partner in 45 days before they are transformed into an animal of their choice. Lanthimos’ film is unique not only in its high-concept delivery but also in its ability to make a significant social commentary despite its overwhelming strangeness. Sitting alone as I watched this film I couldn’t help but notice the way in which the date-or-die mentality presented in ‘The Lobster’ was not altogether different from that of our own society. Although we do not run the risk of being transformed into animals in our everyday lives (I would choose a panda, for argument’s sake), the world we live in is one where individuals are defined entirely by their relationship status and interest in the opposite sex. If you are in a relationship: that’s great! But with who? And if you are not: Oh no! Why not? And who would you like to be with? The real world, as prophesised to my pre-teen self by Bowling for Soup many years ago, really does seem to be just as obsessed with who’s the best dressed and who’s having sex – a world where chunder charts and shag charts adorn the walls of numerous student halls throughout the country.  It seems all too common nowadays that we live in a state of flux where you are either A) dating or B) looking to date. There are no other real options available.

To many, ‘The Lobster’’s conceit of a hotel where lonely individuals can congregate in order to find their soul mate in a last-ditch effort before they die may seem a little far-fetched. However, a brief glance at the prevalence of dating applications such as Tinder and Grindr can show you that this is more familiar territory than one might initially think. Quick-fire judgments on possible suitors are made on such apps within an instant and an entire evaluation of a stranger’s worth to your future can be decided with the simple swipe of your favoured digit of choice. Other options do exist, with websites like Cupid.com offering a bespoke experience where matches are made based upon your shared interests. As great as this sounds there is unfortunately (my condolences to all the lonely mathematicians out there), no algorithm to falling in love and neither an nor website app can guarantee that you will successfully separate the wheat from the chaff and find your future life-partner. There are admittedly many who have found happiness through these match-making services, but I believe this is more down to the sheer number of people (some of whom will obviously be like-minded) on these applications rather than as a direct result of the mutual interest you may share in ‘Come Dine With Me’ and Kings of Leon.

There are admittedly many who have found happiness through these match-making services…

‘The Lobster’ take subtle aim these match-making services via the various inferiority complexes held by its lead characters. Some, like Colin Farrell’s David, are short-sighted, others such as John C. Reilly’s aptly named Lisping Man have a lisp. Regardless of how significant or menial their perceived defect may be, each character holds this as their ‘defining characteristic’ and refuses to see themselves as being a match with anyone who does not share this flaw. This leads to a variety of characters faking flaws in order to find their match, settling for love built on a lie as opposed to a life full of loneliness.

The real question that ‘The Lobster’ brought to my attention was to related to the latter and what exactly a life full of loneliness entailed. The fictional inhabitants of Lanthimos’ dystopian depiction are in a hurry to find a mate and avoid being alone because they run the risk of being turned into animals. Fair enough. Why then does our current society share this same rampant desire and drive? We run zero risk of being turned into a crustacean if we do not find love within an allotted amount of time and I think it’s important that people remember this. Take a deep breath if you need to: It’s OK to be single. We as a world seem to have forgotten that our worth is not defined by how others perceive us but rather how we perceive ourselves. The most important person to love in your life is yourself. Yes, it is fantastic to be valued so highly by another human being but there is no reason why you shouldn’t treasure yourself in the same way each and every day.

Putting yourself first is the key to being truly happy and content and, who knows, you might even find that others start falling in love with you too.

Are you a serial dater? Or is it better being single? Let us know the modern pitfalls of dating and whether it makes people lonelier? Facebook or Twitter

Check out these open access sessions in youth clubs across Bristol – they’re great places to meet people.

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