I remember a time when meeting someone who was just as damaged was a bit of a relief. Everyone walking…
There are vast expanses of the country that don’t receive cell phone reception. Miles upon miles where you are forced to look off longingly into the distance and actually observe the nature that is speeding past you at 70 miles an hour. This makes for lots of downtime and actual human interaction when you’re trapped in a van with a handful of dudes on tour driving through Nebraska or Montana or the Appalachian mountains.
Through my years of on and off touring, I have prepared a handful of things. The first, earplugs. You really have no idea just how important they are until you need them. Sleeping in hotel rooms with eight other farting boys, awful music while you’re trying to nap on the floor of the van, or just when you want to read your text messages in peace. And the second most important thing I take with me is a screen capture of Chuck Klosterman’s 23 Questions I Ask Everybody I Meet In Order To Decide If I Can Really Love Them. If you have never heard of these – you’re welcome. I have kept them on my phone for over 10 years for all those times when I have been stuck in a van with no reception or on a plane because I’m too cheap to pay for the wireless internet. These questions will provide for a solid hour of entertainment and actually help you learn more about the people you’re traveling with and even yourself.
There is one question that always stood out a little more than the rest, number eight:
You meet the perfect person. Romantically, this person is ideal; You find them physically attractive, intellectually stimulating, consistently funny, and deeply compassionate. However, they are one quirk: This individual is obsessed with Jim Hensons gothic puppet fantasy The Dark Crystal. Beyond watching it on DVD at least once a month, he/she peppers casual conversation with Dark Crystal references, uses Dark Crystal analogies to explain everyday events, and occasionally likes to talk intensely about the films deeper philosophy. Would this be enough to stop you from marrying this individual?
A fairly innocuous question, but it always leaves me thinking about the aspects of a woman’s personality that I either can’t stand or find ridiculously irritating. Now, you might say, “Well that’s a pretty pessimistic outlook, Chris. Why are you focusing on the bad things instead of concentrating on the good?” And I would tell you to shut up because it’s a perfectly normal thing to think about and to quit criticizing my inner monologue, ya jerk.
I mean, let’s be real here for a second. After the idealistic glow of the relationship wears off, we are left with the real personality. The one that farts in their sleep and has smelly armpits and maybe has a little too much hair in their buttcrack. Hopefully, this is someone we can learn to not only love but tolerate on a daily basis. Because odds are, if we end up dating there’s a pretty good chance I’ll be hanging out with them on the couch sharing a pizza even after we hook up. So we all have to be prepared for the idiosyncrasies that make up who they truly are. All the things they don’t mention in your Nicholas Sparks books or John Hughes movies.
Let me spell it out a little clearer for the cheap seats with a few things I have encountered during my tenure of dating people since the 80’s:
– The woman who chewed her toe nails while sitting right next to me.
– The woman who constantly left her skid-marked underwear next to the bed.
– The woman who picked her nose and actually ate it while she drove.
– The woman who was intelligent around me but acted like an airhead around groups of people.
– The woman who would tell people she was “weird and edgy” because she wore mismatched socks.
– The woman who smelled like chicken noodle soup.
– The woman whose vagina smelled like a homeless person even right after a shower.
Yeah, I get it. All of these things make me sound horribly superficial. And yes, I know we are supposed to look past these behaviors and see that person as who they are as a whole. And for as much as I like to believe people should be judged by their character – you know just as well as I do that if you started dating someone and they intentionally farted in front of your parents that you would reevaluate your status as their significant other regardless of how good of a boyfriend they were.
Basically, what I’m getting at is that we all have our deal-breakers. Some of them a little more shallow than others. And there are simply little things that we can not get over and it actually causes us to find them less attractive. I’m sorry, but when I looked over at her with her finger deep in her nose, pull out a straight up booger, then stick it in her mouth in direct sunlight while driving down the expressway, the first thing I thought was – do I have it in me to spend the rest of my life with this person?
Whether it is a vagina that smells of death or an obsession over The Dark Crystal movie is irrelevant. What I’m getting at is that everyone has something that will inevitably clash against what you feel is attractive. There is no perfect person out there because we are all opinionated people with a strong sense of what we find attractive and a handful of deal-breakers and hopefully we can find someone who clicks into our life just well enough to make us not want to daydream about shoving them out of a moving car. Because what we need to do is at least attempt to not be so shallow and realize what is and is not important to the health of a potentially life-altering relationship.
I have done some amazing things in my life. One of the most surprising, is looking past what I believed to be a deal-breaker because the love I was investing was stronger than my stupid little grievances and I needed to grow the hell up and realize that absolutely no one is perfect no matter how wonderful they were. Some are going to have eye-boogers. Some will embarrass themselves by constantly misusing the word “literally”, and some will be inappropriately cranky when you wake them up in the middle of the night. And if you ever want to have a real shot at a forever, you’re going to have to learn that “deal-breakers” are optional and vary from person to person. But most of all, you’re going to finally have to admit to yourself that you don’t know what the hell you’re doing, your list of wants and needs evolves from person to person, and hope that someone falls in love with you anyway despite all of your weird tendencies and grotesque personality quirks. Dark Crystal or bad breath. Boogers and all.