I am a romantic.
There, I said it. Well suppose I wrote it, but the sentiment is intimately valid. Even though my critical mind has identified that romantic love, at least in the American Capitalist Context, is a product for sale, I simply cannot help this overwhelming desire for companionship. Months ago I went to a talk featuring the veneable Tim Gunn. He is even more pristine and endearing and impeccably postured than he appears on television -- unflappable and stylish (obvs), he shared that his most insightful failure was that of a relationship.
The boo cheated and after years of sharing a life together informed Tim that he no longer loved him - a light switch flip of emotion. And so Mr. Gunn has maintained singlehood over coupledom ever since. I desperately wanted to move as surely as he -- unfettered by the drama of romantic entanglements. But this quickly gave way to daydreams of a tender snuggle bunny, tantric sex sessions and a partner compassionate towards my general goofiness, fluctuating conservatism and free spiritedness.
Maybe it's the only-child thing. One of my most treasured moments in any given relationship are the times, when at opposite ends of the house/apartment, I pad to my partner, offer a kiss-hug, and, wonderfully satisfied, return to my perch of doing, making, watching, writing, researching, contemplating... Yep. That's the shit right there. Or especially when I consider their needs before my own in small and substantial ways, a rediscovered reflex that makes me feel all warm and helpful and understanding and a part of a team.
I am experienced enough to trust my own instincts, so I feel like an unlikely target of physical and/or emotional abuse. But with these kinds of important realizations, my dating pool has necessarily diminished. This hard won knowledge has my bullshit meter on a 100 million -- unimpressed by Tinder texts that begin yawnfully with "hey" (app deleted for the third time) or men, being that I am of a certain age, who berate their ex-wives as crazy (despite having full custody of the children) only to follow up with a booty call (its very contemplation made possible by the fact that they don't have the kids). Or even those forty somethings who don't have a hamper (TMI in the form of exposed laundry) and have a generous sprinkling of hair clippings in the bathroom sink, a definite throwback from my college years. It was pretty gross then, it's even more off-putting now.
Make no mistake, I am similarly critical of the off-puts I bring to the table -- an "emerging artist" slash studio squatter and maker of less than 700 dollars every two weeks. Oh and a-hanger-outer-with-20-somethings who actually have savings, full time employment, rental leases, occasional hangovers and musical tastes that volley between Radiohead and Murder INC. They also have my confidence and respect. Yet even in the confines of this fiscal coonbox I am able to create occasions to pamper myself and others with thoughtfully selected experiences, often in the form of artisanal preserves and non-digital conversation. My friend tip is thorough. I am spoiled by my platonics, a reciprocal exchange of encouragement, care, professional advice and general dopeness, which according to Kanye is the point of this whole life thing. Well, as subordinate to love.
Real talk, I get a little shook thinking that maybe my path is one of solitude (loneliness a nonissue) but I can't help but continue to believe in the fecundity of my journey and its connection to another person. A person who builds with compassion and woos with finesse. Whose dream is similarly concentrated on the spiritual practice of love and commitment and mind blowingly fun secks. Or, as one of my 20-something friends said, "someone to be cute with" (he and she with an imminent long-distance cookie date).
As a romantic, I can't help but revel in the cuteness of others. Admittedly I'm a bit too self-absorbed to be envious (go figure), so I will continue to light a pink candle -- spreading love Brooklyn-style, like artisanal preserve on toast.