While growing up in a Western society all males were told, implicitly, that we ‘deserve’ a beautiful woman. But I’ve come to realise that perhaps I’m not the ‘hero’ of this story, and that perhaps I don’t actually have a beautiful maiden waiting for me at the finish line. What I mean here is that I don’t have the perfect specimen of female waiting for me. The Megan Fox-type model of incredible Photoshop beauty is not waiting for me as a damsel in distress because she doesn’t exist. In this world the beautiful girl is not going to be attracted to me unless she chooses this for her own reasons or perhaps not until I’ve actually something with my life that could benefit her. She’s just like me. She wants to have the best man she can possibly get too. So as all mature men must eventually realise I must lower my pleading gaze from the lofty heavens whence angels chorus, and refocus somewhere more realistic.
The bizarre thing is that in feeling like I’ll have to lower my standards it’s essentially saying I’ll take a girl that isn’t my dream. She’ll be good enough to selfishly fill the emotional relationship void I’ve been given by an uncaring society, and I should be happy with what I get. Her personality isn’t the best, but it’ll have to do if I’m to get any satisfaction from a miserable life where everyone dies alone. I can’t help but feel there’s a bit of a dead-end either way. I can’t find the perfect girl, because she probably doesn’t exist, so I’d be looking forever, never quite feeling fulfilled. Or it’s all leading to the pathetic ‘backup’ decision of finding someone who’ll just “do”, only so I can have a new possession for my life collection of experiences and finally be able to bring a playmate along each time I meet up with other couples.
That’s what really bugs me about all this relationship stuff. Some people get into relationships because otherwise they’ll appear lonely or out of place within their social circle. What if they turn up to that barbeque alone? You’ll be fine with your mate, he’s quite happy taking to you. But the poor Mrs Mate will be all alone in the corner twiddling her thumbs like some overly-dependent suddenly neglected child who was promised a toy to take her mind off the searing pain of just how far her life is falling apart as she realises the ridiculously high mortgage repayments for the new renovations essentially mean she won’t be able to afford her monthly shoe budget. If you’d only bought a partner to distract her from the meaninglessness of it all, perhaps you’d get invited to more things. She’d never have stumbled into those insidious thoughts about the mortgage because my partner would have distracted her for a few hours, and that depressing argument between her and you mate as they stepped into the car would never have happened.
Sure having someone to bring along to barbeques would be great. It would solve so many problems. I’ve even heard a relationship doesn’t mess up nearly as much stuff as I might think. But I’m not yet convinced having a relationship is the best thing to wish for. I know, evolutionarily speaking, that the only real measure for success in a typical human lifespan is reproduction. But surely we’ve moved past the tiresome biological leash.
It does worry me sometimes that no matter what we do in this life, nothing really matters. When the sun blows up into a red giant and wipes all trace of our human existence from the universe nullifies even the most epic of human achievements. Having a relationship and passing your genes on to a successive generation seems like success, but only in the snivelling anthropocentric meaning of achievement. The universe cares not a jot for our victories. If you find a girl or if you stay alone, it doesn’t matter in the big scheme of things.
Yet in the structure of our society, it does matter. It matters a lot. And for the short time we’re here, the fleeting spark burning momentarily bright before fizzling into blackness again, we can strive to nothing higher. Having a relationship with another person, feeling love, really does matter to humans. Since we have to carve our own paths for meaning in this life, attachment to another person is considered the essential experience. An ancient saying declares man’s life is incomplete unless or until he has tasted love, poverty, and war. We have far too much of the latter two and too little of the first.
But what happens when I do get into a relationship? What happens if I do find someone who finds me attractive or I actually accomplish something big enough to outweigh those physical imperfections? What then? Does the film close as it pans into the dimming sun? Does the hero cast his arm across his girl’s shoulders as they look deeply into each other’s eyes? Probably not. The journey only begins there. The romantic drama is only the prelude, when reality sets in and I realise I’m actually stuck with a woman, I may wish for change and it could all crumble around me.
The NGF begins to subside after about a year as it creates a more rigid reaction in your brain when you see your partner. Suddenly, instead of a beautiful face, that you’d drag yourself over sharp mountains and through cold seas just to gaze upon, becomes a plaque inexplicably spewing forth drivel about how tough her day was or how bitchy her workmate is being. That perfect mouth you’d kiss tenderly in the snowing storm you now can’t wait to shut for just five minutes. The short moments gifted you after she leaves the house and the sudden glorious silence her departure brings paint your longing dreams each night. Soon I may wish to be alone while reminiscing about how close you came to finding your true love all those long years ago. She left to go overseas and you were stupid enough to play video games as her flight departed, too afraid to let her know how you felt.
If I settle for a person just to be in a relationship then I’ve set my own trap. She might not be the most perfect person, but who is? The chances are very high I’ll grow bored of this other human in about 18 months’ time and we’ll have to end things before they become violent. The thing is, I’m sure I’ll just go straight back to thinking like this again. I’ll be all self-indulgent once more, wishing I could find someone, hounding at the gates, shouting into the wind in abject (if melodramatic) despair. Of course, I’ll go through the whole rigmarole of finding a girl who gets about a B+ grade on my great list of attractive personality traits. The ridiculous cycle of filling the relationship void in my life will be closed once more and nothing will have changed. Most relationships don’t last. And almost all of those which fail end for stupid reasons in hindsight.
Ultimately it’s me that has to change. Our society is built around beautiful and powerful people being successful, I understand that. I will never be either, and I think I’m almost comfortable with that. I’m not attractive enough to have women make the first move, so if I want it, I’m going to have to get out there and do it myself. I know I can’t get the kind of woman I dearly want, I’m not even sure if she exists, so I’ll have to broaden my range a bit. I don’t know what that means exactly, but I’m figuring this all out.
I’ll also have to figure out what I actually want from a relationship. Am I in it for the sex? Do I just need someone to talk to? Maybe it’s about kids and a legacy. Or maybe I need a person who can be my partner as we take on the world. I’d have to radically change my ways and be prepared for the sacrifice of potentially losing the race for my dreams. If I desire a relationship, if I’m going to bring someone else on this team, I’ll have to be sure. Ball's in my court now.
Part 4 here