I'm sitting here thinking about ironies. And of course we can't think about irony is this day and age without the accompanying soundtrack of Alanis Morrisette's Ironic. Though catchy, the song always makes me stop and think about the words too much, wondering -- is that situation really ironic, Alanis?
But, having looked up irony in two online dictionaries, I now feel better about her use of irony. So, if nothing else, every time I hear that song going forward, it should be easier listening for me. That's an important result from my labors here. For the record, dictionaries yielded:
• coincidental; unexpected
• the use of words to express something other than and especially the opposite of the literal meaning
• incongruity between the actual result of a sequence of events and the normal or expected result
But none of that was really my point. About irony. In my case, I was thinking of the third definition. About how who we are and who we project may in some cases be ironic (incongruous). About how what we think we want and actually want might also be incongruous.
What brought this to mind specifically was the wonderful world of online dating profiles (yes, they're wonderful, almost all of you will be nodding in agreement). For example, a vegetarian, peace-loving woman might get matched with a man whose greatest passions are "HUNTING AND FISHING." In all caps, no less. Or, a substance-craving woman might find a profile of a beautiful man, and only partial profile answers, or answers of no substance. Or, a person might find a profile that's laugh-out-loud funny, with the accompanying realization that short of being the last two people on the planet, there's just no way they could mate with the person in the photographs.
All of which led me to thinking about irony. About how what we want and what we find can be, well, ironic. Not well matched, in spite of all the efforts of an online matching service. And yet, how out in the "real" world, we can find either no one we encounter of interest, perhaps not being privvy to the self-marketing and inside information you gain from an online profile, so that you just KNOW before meeting the person that this SHOULD work, because you're just so well-aligned on paper.... Or, you find someone of tremendous interest and spend the whole time wondering as to their status, to learn later of their lovely partner (yes, Alanis, we feel your ironic pain).
So, is it online v real-world irony? Or is it an overarching, greater span of irony of that which we want is either so hard to find or perhaps so easy to find we can't see it before us? Or is it not findable because we don't know what we want, much as we protest otherwise?
Oh, the endless rabbit warrens of irony.