Thursday, June 21, 2012

Love and other drugs.. my reality TV version.

Since the age of fourteen, when my best friend got her first boyfriend, people have been giving me unsolicited advice on relationships. I was accosted with the 'privilege' of being the lone single girl who was yet to validate her existence. They hypothesised about how one day, when I was worthy enough and pimple-free, I would 'understand'; one day I would overcome that last bastion to social status and attain a boyfriend.

Almost eight years later, somewhere in the south of Spain this 'one day' came, and I 'understood'. All sarcasm aside, I finally understood what everybody was crying over, stuffing their faces with ice-cream for and breaking down randomly at Adele songs on the radio. More than that, I got my very own personal tour of the irrationality of being in a Relationship. There is no logic, no formula, no grounded sense of reason. It hit me then why nobody listened to me when I told them He's No Good For You, You'll Be Fine, Let It Go, among other variations.

I learned a lot from being knee-deep in a relationship, instead of watching from the outside. It was every bit as dramatic as one could have dreamt it to be. I was swallowed whole by the novelty of being overseas, going on dates in Spanish with a European whose name was straight out of an Almodovar movie. The lesson wasn't that a Colombian Telenovela can actually happen to you in real-life, when you're in Spain and find a guy whose name rhymes with Taco (although that was certainly a hilarious enlightenment on the possibilities of life).

It was that crossing the relationship line is like having an iPad. When you don't have one you look at people with iPads and think they are idiots, you don't understand the attachment, the adoration, the cooing and the ahhing, the obsession with having to be connected. And then you find yourself at the Apple store hyped up on impulse-buying-adrenalin with an iPad2, purchasing all the unnecessary accessories for it and advocating like a Jehovah's witness for all the benefits it will bring into your life.

You're just another addict to the relationship drug. And it is an addiction of sorts. Want to know why? Well, what I learned is that the most attractive thing about another person is how much they like you. It sounds egotistical but is it not the truth? Having somebody tell you and truly believe you are every bit as awesome as you have known all along you were, is one of the most gratifying experiences somebody can ever have. It's affirmation embodied in another person. Who's going to give that up? 

I asked a friend recently, "Who's your ideal guy?" to which she replied, "Somebody who loves me and tells me I'm guapa everyday" (guapa is spanish for beautiful). There's nothing in that answer about if he's a witty, financially stable lawyer of a suitable height and conventional good looks. It's not even about if he reads books or votes Labor. It's about how much he loves you, after all. 

That's it? I hear you ask. Really? That's all? After holding out for 21 years that's all you've come up with? That relationships are all about somebody holding up a mirror to reflect your own ego? Well, yes. and no. It's also about companionship, about having somebody to plan adventures with, try new restaurants with, drag along to things you don't want to do by yourself. You could get a dog, but boyfriends and girlfriends seem to be the more socially acceptable option to bring along to a movie.

Don't get me wrong, obviously it's also about who so-and-so is 'as a person', but it's mostly about things you don't account for. Do they make you cups of tea without you asking? Do they listen when you're talking? Are they interested in what you're trying to say? I'm opening myself up to all kinds of backlash by the masses of people with years of dysfunctional relationship experience waiting to tell me I'm wrong. Which I might be, but this is what I've learned so far. It's not what I thought I would 'understand' when that 'one day' came. But it's come and gone and I'm still standing, living to tell the tale. 

The tale of how what I learned about being in a relationship is that it's possible that somebody else other than yourself believes you are as awesome as you think you are (just as I suspected!). Now that I have my validation, what's next?


  1. This made me laugh! "It was that crossing the relationship line is like having an iPad. When you don't have one you look at people with iPads and think they are idiots....." made me laugh out loud.

    Really enjoying your writing, Grace.

    1. Thanks Clare :) well it's true, right? ipads, relationships - totally unnecessary parts of life.. kidding! glad you enjoyed it, don't really write much about relationships on here, more so because my lack of them but thought I should share what little encounters/enlightenments I've had recently... I can get a little carried away.. ahaha