I’m not even here to talk about shipping characters in a fandom context.
I’m here to talk about shipping in real life.
However, before I start, let me define “shipping” for all of the non-fandom people who don’t know the lingo.
Ship: N: Short for romantic relationship, popularized in fanfiction circles. V: To endorse a romantic relationship. Example: “I ship Enj and Ep so hard…” (According to The Urban Dictionary)
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way…
Let me first say that I’m a firm believer in shipping. I ship characters and I ship my friends. (I’ve been told by an acquaintance that I’m the only person he knows who says “ship” outside of fandom context. Me: Doesn’t everybody? Oh, well.) Now, I’m not an Emma-level matchmaker, but I do enjoy observing and sharing my observations with close friends every now and then.
Things have happened in the past few months that have made me think a little more about my ships and real-life otps.
Instead of giving out all of the details, I’ll just say that I shipped one of my good friends with a guy who she ended up not liking. It made the situation awkward for her. And I’ll be completely honest with you guys and say that I didn’t really care. I stepped back from trying to put them together and decided to just sit and watch it happen. HA.
So then, a few months ago, my younger sister shipped me with one of my guy friends. (*sheepish smile* I actually told him yesterday, because he asked. We’re still friends, though.)
This brings me to my point – I didn’t know how awkward it was until my younger sister started doing it to me. I couldn’t see that guy the same way whenever I talked to him. There was always a check in my mind – something that constantly reminded me, “My sister ships us!”
So this is my new message. I’m not saying that shipping isn’t bad, but I am saying that sometimes it’s best to stay out of people’s love lives. We don’t know either person’s true feelings (such as the case of my first friend), and we also don’t know if there could be a third person involved – someone who likes one of the two people we’ve shipped.
Again, in Emma’s case, Harriet ended up alright – eventually marrying the guy that Emma had so easily dismissed in Act One – but she had to suffer through a lot of pain and sadness because of what Emma put her through, what with all of the teasing and prodding and nod-nod-wink-wink.
So there it is. I won’t say to not ship your friends – far from it. I love shipping people. But sometimes it’s best to think before we ship, and to think before we tell those friends about our ships.
But we can still silently pat ourselves on the backs with smiles on our faces at our otps’ weddings. 😉