I’m pretty awesome at picking men. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m utterly shit at relationships, but I’m good at picking men. You see, after I’ve gone and messed it all up in the romance stakes, the fellas that have had the (mis)fortune of being my ‘man’, eventually become bloody excellent friends*.
My usual post-relationship process can be a little…let’s say…robotic (less harsh than ‘inhumane’). First, I complete the ‘Emotional Hard Reset’ which includes eliminating anything relating to the said man from my life. Next, I intellectualise the whole situation, putting my feelings into little boxes and storing them neatly away in my mind palace (yes, Sherlock isn’t the only one!). I then begin quarantining and emotionally disinfecting the ‘icky’ and uncomfortable stuff. Finally, I lay the foundations for an eventual friendship by ensuring that there are no hard feelings and that we part on good terms. Then it’s smooth sailing and emotional steadiness until the sadness eventually subsides and everything is great. NB: There was a ‘slip’ once, where I got roaring drunk and turned up at an ex’s house and cried – no drunkenly sobbed – with snot and everything! Yes, sometimes the human gets out.
My latest foray into singledom though, is totally messing with my system. Firstly, I wasn’t even officially ‘unsingle’. Maybe that’s it – maybe it was too unconventional a none-relationship to fit into my normative way of processing. This time folks, the break/pause/whatever, (almost) had me reaching for the Ben & Jerry’s; certainly had me checking What’sApp/email/Twitter approximately three thousand times per hour and generally saw me being a bit of a whinge.
Now, the benefit of picking great men and remaining friends with them after the romance has waned, is that they are around when a mini crisis-of-confidence occurs. Plus, they have to say nice stuff (it’s the law with this type of relationship).
Today, when the pity party began and my own character assassination was initiated, it was time to call in a ‘friend-formerly-known-as-boyfriend’. It could only be the one that has military style ego boosters (besides anything else, he replies fastest).
So, I fired off several messages – ‘Why am I incapable of maintaining a relationship? What is so wrong with me? Why do those women with the intellectual range of a teaspoon and the depth of a puddle manage to snag a man but not me? etc etc. I offered to pay handsomely in brownies for advice that works.
As expected, the ‘friend-formerly-known-as-boyfriend’ did the job. He’s like the Yoda of relationships. Well, not at all really, but he’s quite amusing. So for anyone out there questioning what is wrong with them and wondering how to nab and keep a bloke, I’m sharing this ‘holy grail’ advice with you (you’re totally welcome).
“Umm. Cash is always my favourite.
1. Make a list
2. Never compromise
3. Everyone wants open, honesty
4. Think of what the other person needs and check if what you offer fits
5. Never let a good moment end
6. Have an ideal and express that so the benchmark is clear always
7. Never show you need, simply want
8. Search and search again
9. Once snared just repeat
10. Burn this list and ignore points 1-9!
Why? There are universal norms we have by virtue of background, genes and gender. But until you know who the other person is, you cannot predict these, they will simply become reasons why things are as they are, not as they should be. A formula based on success is a modern industrial concept of mechanising humans in a rational way, despite all evidence that we are blobs of irrational fertiliser and struggled for 40,000 years to wear pants in public. Therefore we do not work on the basis of the rest of our world because our internal variables are so wide and wild, we can only hope to gain some form of base consistency by crude social control. Consider this and our apparent ‘formula-ising’ of what should be in a relationship and expectations, and you see where the disparity lies between that formula and real-life. Because of that, we see that gulf and blame ourselves for it as we do not understand our own socialisation and 5% of our psychology, but believe that the cause must be the result of the subject that is tangible (i.e. ourselves). So our frustration leads to anger and disharmony the more the expected outcome does not occur.
11. This all could be shit.
12. Never make a list again.
PS. your brownies were the best. I had some ‘home-made’ ones at work the other day which further reinforced this. ”
He could have just said what many of my girlfriends would have said (á la Bridget Jones): ‘It’s not you, it’s him. He’s a massive knob head with no knob’.
Sometimes though, you just need to be distracted with pseudo-intellectual, funny stuff. But there are some valid points there, I think!
From what I can gather, that all means that I am not doing stuff wrong, it’s just the universe taking its time throwing the right lump of matter (romantic!) my way. Maybe it already has, but now is not the right time. It is all such a delicate and complex equation; one that actually can’t be calculated. It just works. Or it doesn’t. But it can’t be created synthetically, contrived or forced.
Overall, it’s just down to luck/chance/kismet or whatever. Which for me and my history of luck, means I am buggered.
However, what I can hold on to is that I have been very lucky to share my life with some amazing people – some have gone, some remain, but nonetheless, they made/make my life richer. So even if these connections are temporary, disconnected, full of pauses, or destined to be life-long, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you pick well in the first place so that you can share a part of your life with someone who makes it better, for however long that may be. And, you may even end up with some amazing ‘friends-formerly-known-as-boyfriends’.
Plus, I have discovered that writing a slightly self-deprecating and mildly amusing blog is an effective Plan B when the ‘Emotional Hard Reset’ fails.
* This is not a 100% record – a couple of them were just massive knob heads with no knobs.