Friday, June 09, 2006

In defense of baggage-filled relationships and by extension, New York

Previously: In defense of New York men, sort of

It's 1:30 am. I have a flight to catch in 5 hours and I have done zero packing. Zip. Nada. Zilch. My dress shirt is in need of severe ironing and I have yet to check on the condition of my suit. But here I am, writing a blog post.

So yeah, I'm a procrastinator. In fact, my high school yearbook quote was "Don't do today what you can put off until tomorrow." Good to see my youthful ideals are still intact.

Ironically (or aptly) enough though, I'm taking care of an older object of procrastination. Little over a week ago, our friend Monkeypants vented her frustrations in re: her dating life. What followed were the inevitable "you can do better" comments.

Nothing against those commenters. I actually like a couple of those people in real life. But they got me thinking. Why do people feel compelled to give out Self Help-style advice on matters that they could never hope to really understand (granted, I've done the same before, but I never meant anything I said). And more importantly, what's wrong with a relationship filled with frustrations, letdowns and emotional pain? I mean, besides the frustrations, letdowns and emotional pain?

Throughout life, we are taught the value of sacrifice. No pain, no gain, you don't always get what you want, blah blah blah. But somehow, when it comes to relationship, you're not supposed to take any shit at all? You should never feel neglected, under-appreciated or otherwise have your feelings hurt?

That's some pansy ass bullshit if you ask me. Here's the thing - we have these romanticized notion of, well, romance. And according to the romanticized version of romance, no guy or girl is worth an excessive level of frustration or dips in self esteem or hours spent killing oneself. Which sounds reasonable enough if you are a pansy ass who's afraid to go after what you really want and willing to settle for "reasonable". No one is worth the pain, you say. Fuck you, the pain makes it all more worthwhile.

I've always been taught, "good enough" is the greatest enemy of greatness, and it applies to love as well. When I'm interested in a girl, I'm either just kinda into her or just crazy about her, and there's nothing in between. And when I'm at the latter stage, there's almost nothing that can discourage me from pursuing the girl.

A wise woman once sang, you are what you love and not what loves you back. I'm not willing to love, and be, simply acceptable. Love is about investing yourself emotionally, and I want high returns. That means taking risks on girls my friends don't think are good ideas, seeing potential where others might be pessimistic, and accepting losses.

The way I think, I can work on issues. A girl can frustrate me with her hangups or trust issues or whatever. But we can always talk it out. But there is no talking out chemistry or passion or good ol' fashioned hotness.

Don't get me wrong, this isn't an apologia for abusive relationships, physically or otherwise. Nor am I suggesting that you can't have a fulfilling relationship without the bullshit. No, it's possible to find a someone who satisfies you in every way AND doesn't give you any bullshit to deal with. That would be fantastic. But you're doing yourself disservice by abandoning what could be the most passionate relationship of your life because you don't like getting your feelings hurt. Aldous Huxley would climb out of his grave and bitchslap you for thinking like that.

You have to ask yourself - are you going into a relationship because of who that person is, or who that person isn't?

I've made this argument before about New York City. I have people ask me, how do you put up with it? The smell, the (apparent) rudeness, the substandard quality of living, the cost of living, the alienation, etc etc. And I see their point. I've been here 5 years now and if I could take a guess, I've been either drunk, clinically depressed or both for the majority of the time. But it's worth it - there is nowhere else in this country that could come close to giving me the opportunities and the lifestyle, and that unexplainable feeling that New York can.

Anywhere else in the US, I would probably be healthier, emotionally and physically. But then, I wouldn't be living in New York and I'm going to feel like I have lived life to its potential. I can deal with the stress and the bullshit. But the idea that I'm settling for less, I wouldn't be able to live with.

All right, time to start packing.

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