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”
She walked onto new shores, with that glint of hope in her eyes. She thought the mail would be just like her postal service back home. Respectful, always there when she called, putting everything she needed and asked for in her box at a convenient and predictable time (except on Sundays). Hillary would come home to her messages in a nice stack. Some words of love, others asking for money, but no one’s perfect. She hadn’t even thought to imagine that service would be so different in her new home.
Recklessly, she ordered boxes and boxes of things she needed for her new flat. “They’ll arrive at my door!” she thought, “I don’t have to carry thirty square feet of mattress pad across three boroughs on the tube!”. Little did she know this relationship would not be like her last. That she would be shackled to her home for days during regular business hours to have even the hope of a chance to see her mailman and receive her packages.
First, it was an email. “We’ll be by with one of your parcels today.” So she waited for three hours (mostly catching up on youtube videos) until, finally, she couldn’t take it anymore and thought she must take a shower or go mad. Naturally this is when her postie chose to arrive and her hopes of hanging up her clothes with the new coat hangers that were due to appear, were dashed. Another email came through minutes later, “I failed to deliver your order. I’ll try again tomorrow.” She knew what that meant. Hillary had heard of his kind. Just like the cable company. Keeping you waiting all day. Never vacuuming or doing dishes for fear you might miss the knock on the door and sentence yourself to another day of this anxious, anticipatory hell. She even went so far as to change her clothes in hopes that the temptation of being both half naked and trapped in her shirt would be too much for fate to resist and a knock would sound at the door.
She can’t help but wonder, how does a country that once ruled the world function this way? Building relationships based on fear and blackmail is no way to find love, or operate a postal service. She now sees why we had that revolution. The windows, the paper, the tea, and wasting your life away waiting for the Royal Mail. She ordered coat hangers from Fife. Hillary can only imagine waiting for all of your worldly belongings in Jamestown, wondering if they’re coming via freaking rowboat across the Atlantic while you fend off native peoples with nowhere to bloody sit down because all your chairs are in the parcel!
In the early afternoon the knock finally came! (And there was actually a person on the other side of the door, unlike the first three times she answered it to no one) And just like the desperate neglected girlfriend she had become she thanked the postman profusely and took her package into her warm embrace. He doesn’t know there is another way. And she still has five more boxes coming so she really needs not to piss him off. This controlling relationship will continue so long as she lets it. Or until she stops ordering things. Or moves back to America. But he still has something she wants, namely her stuff. And so she waits. Peeking through the curtains and running to the door at every noise until she gets what she craves.
I’m not saying that I want someone who I’m with to change an unreasonable amount to accommodate me, but if they could come equipped with features not entirely dissimilar from my DVR that would be kind of great.
Whoever decided that abandoning all of the carefully honed habits that you cultivate into perfection as an individual, and reordering your life’s priorities to put a person your brain would like to share parts with at the top, was romantic, is more than mildly delusional. Why did I figure out what I like if I don’t get to do it anymore?
But someone who saves up all of the things you have previously decided you’re interested in hearing about so that you can choose (in small doses) convenient segments to spend time with them. Moments that you can fully commit to, that you can plan around the rest of the pieces of your life. Now there is something I can get on board with. A relationship that is all about the best, pre-sorted parts of each other, with reminders when important issues have been in the queue for too long, might be the key to lasting monogamy in our On Demand world.
Obviously every relationship would then have one person in the box and the other with the remote, but that’s just the way the cookie crumbles. There’s always going to be a power dynamic, this way there are simply actual batteries. Considering the alternative relationship involving batteries, it’s my personal opinion that DVR boyfriend would be preferable.
Everything else in my life has power switches and privacy settings and notifications, why not my entire romantic life? If anyone finds a guy who seems to have a lot in common with a cable box, please, tell him to get in touch.
I love my boyfriend so much. We are really good together. He’s always there when I need him, and I love being close to him when I feel bad, and when I feel really good. There is no one better to celebrate with or have with me after a long week.
Things aren’t perfect. When I was younger I couldn’t get enough of him and I never got tired of having him around. But as I got older that constant attention took its toll. I started to gain weight and get headaches, until I could really only be around him every once in a while. But ultimately we found a balance in our relationship and moderation really has been the key to our everlasting love. He understands when I need him and I know he’s there for me, even when I have to handle something on my own.
As Valentine’s Day approaches we have very special plans together. On this one special day there will be no moderation, only indulgence and excess. We will be with one another constantly and I look forward to every minute. And when the holiday is over we will return to our well-honed relationship based on trust, understanding, and love, and he’ll give me just enough distance that I still crave him at the end of the day.
Because our love is true. And my boyfriend is sugar.