I am really bad at being a grown-up sometimes. This is especially true when it comes to love. Despite prioritizing romantic love above virtually anything else in my life, I have had some truly shit-acular relationships in my time. I am a master of breakups, heartache, and disappointment. In Super Mario terms, the little guy would have met every gory death known to man, and King Koopa would still be ruling the roost, cruising around with Princess Toadstool in tow.
Except. Except. I somehow have this great relationship now. Despite a history of inglorious fuck ups aplenty, I’ve managed to find someone who accepts me in the ways that I long to be accepted, who challenges me in the ways that I welcome, and who loves me with the crazy intensity that I’ve craved all my life.
And yet, as the credits roll, and the special music the development team composed for just this occasion plays, a track only to be heard by the talented few who timed their platforming just so, I get the feeling like it’s all a hoax, that any minute Bowser’s going to rip out on his demented smiley-faced flying machine and tear me a new one.
Part of me suspects it has to do with how every time when I managed to clear a world, to kill Bowser for what I hoped would be the last time, I’d be informed, no, wait, actually – not here. You haven’t won. It’s not over.
I shouldn’t admit this, but I was watching “The Bachelor” when I realized the error of my ways. I know “The Bachelor” (and its spin off, “The Bachelorette”) is a terrible show full of fakeness, dreariness, unrealistic expectations, and frankly, BAD POLY, but I can’t help myself. Something about watching beautiful people pretend to maybe possibly fall in something resembling love – or perhaps even a variant of lust? – is captivating to me. I was watching a series of youtube clips highlighting the rough arc of season 15, Brad Womack’s second go at things, when it really hit me: What the hell is wrong with me? I’m in love. It’s going great. Why can’t I just enjoy it?
People have been telling me this for a while now, friends, Skyspook – even my therapist.
Me: I’m so in love. It’s wonderful. I have no idea what to do.
Therapist: Enjoy it.
Me: Uhh… huh. Hmm…
I don’t know why my moment of clarity hit then, of all times. I was watching these glistening perfect-looking people saying all the right words, doing all the things one’s “supposed” to do culturally, all the ingredients there for prime mating – and yet, nothing. No magic. Occasionally a decent beginning, but rarely does anything long-term come from the show’s format. Engagements are made and broken.
These are the sort of people I was always told I was less than, the beauty pageant types with perfect bodies and skin, working respectable jobs, smart but not threateningly so, warm but with the right amount of chastity and decorum so as to be the “marrying kind.” You know, all the shit I failed at. And they want the same thing I want, someone to love – and yet, crickets.
Simple fact of the matter: Odds are BAD you’ll meet someone you’re compatible with in terms of a long-term monogamous primary relationship in a group of 25 random strangers on a reality show, regardless of how physically attractive said specimens may be.
Thank you, Bachelor, but your princess is in another castle.
And it kind of dawns on me, well – geeeeeez… I was so focused on giving everyone a chance who took a serious interest in me, trying to stretch out relationships and give them the best possible chance to survive, even if they made me unhappy, and that entailed not being true to who I was or what I needed, that, I was…
Oh. Yeah. Basically dating whatever random strangers happened to show up.
About that. That doesn’t work so well.