It is human nature to try and find patterns. In what we do, what other people do, in your peas at the dinner table.
When I got my fifth ‘Thanks, but no thanks’ text from someone I had been seeing (which was also the third ‘I’m getting back together with my ex-girlfriend, see ya’ text) in the last couple years I couldn’t help but think it might be me. This, despite every assurance that it was not me. Unfortunately, none of these gentlemen advanced past the cliché. My taste is possibly the problem.
As a results oriented person dwelling on the problem was not going to be enough. The potential solutions appeared to be market myself as a professional reunite-er:
“Take me out and your Ex will take you back in two months or less – guaranteed!”
Or, I could try my best to interrupt the pattern. Doing the same thing and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity, so this seems the healthier, if less lucrative, option.
I’m not totally sure what that looks like yet, but I feel as though not being quite so nice about being set aside like last week’s box set is a good place to start.
And so, to keep to this new resolution I decided to forgo my usual ‘It’s alright, no hard feelings’ response. It might be true, and, clearly, none of them were my soul mate, but that doesn’t mean I have to make it easy.
When I finally texted back this last time I said the only thing that could be said,
“I’m not wearing any underwear”
Most of us have an ex, or two, or twelve. Whatever the case may be chances are not everyone from your past falls into this category. You went out a couple times, but were never really exclusive. You hooked up, but to even call it a friendship would be overstating things. You hung out everyday for a little while, but the exchange of bodily fluids was at an absolute minimum. These are the people (in my particular case, guys) who I put into the “Almost” category.
They had the potential to be an Ex, had the stars aligned and things turned out differently- but they didn’t. And now when you’re telling your friends about that time with the guy from the place you can accurately refer to him (or her) as an Almost. Despite the obvious advantages in retelling stories since there is no longer that awkward pause where you try to explain the exact dynamics of your non-relationship, the simplicity of the word naturally leads to a simplicity of the emotions involved. Much like calling a rejection a work of fate. It puts the whole experience in perspective. If he wasn’t really your boyfriend then you don’t really need to plague yourself with doubt about your oh-so-charming attributes when he doesn’t call. There is no breakup with an Almost, only a drifting out of your life. If he was so boring you’ve tried to block those hours out of your memory then you never have to admit to anyone that he was your boyfriend again. If your girlfriend went to parties without you and made out with random strangers, you would be understandably upset, but when your Almost does it you can happily hope that at the end of the night they will come home to you sloshed and half-naked. You know, or not.
This restructuring of titles and pigeonholes opens up some new options for the future, too. Go ahead and go out with the guy that no one you’re related to or friends with should ever meet- he can be an Almost and you can get a good night out of it. Since an Almost is a total absence of classification you can do what makes you happy and non-awkwardly introduce each other to people without confusion.
This is not to say that an Almost can’t become a proper, exclusive, significant other since, as the name suggests, that person was almost something and could possibly still have the potential to be. But commitment is entirely at your discretion.
Since I am currently fairly occupied with being very busy and important I may spare an evening sometime soon to go find myself a new Almost- so much less work than a boyfriend…
Honorable Mention: Man in the cafeteria, I very much enjoyed my ball point landscape portrait. “Hola,” to you, too.