Most of the fodder I get for this blog comes from conversations I have…or ones I overhear. One of the blessings of living in a city is the surplus of people and their oblivious nature regarding who is listening to their words. Or really, the sense of comfort everyone seems to have with strangers, friends they’ve know for five years or five minutes – the city doesn’t sleep and it’s people are unmindful in admitting who they’ve slept with.
Perhaps in a time to come, I’ll be the same. But for today, I’ll just write about it.
Recently, a friend of mine and I were walking through the village, discussing what the best of friends discuss best: sex and love. Unafraid and uninhibited by the fear of judgment – we spoke openly and freely, carelessly and candid. Both of us, in our own respect, have each had our fair share of experiences and as it always seems to do when two 20-somethings discuss the perils of Manhattan mating, the rhetoric inevitably turns to questions. Well, what do you think? Do you think marriage is an illusion? What constitutes as cheating? Do we ever really know the people we are in relationships with? What is all this love stuff, anyways – and how in the world do I make it go away? (But wait, do want it to?)
My friend has this ridiculous obsession with chocolate chip cookies, but not the ones as big as the ones that are as big as my face and sold in trendy bakeries off of Waverly and Perry. Nope, they prefer those 50 cent goodies we all carried in our lunchboxes in grade school. As cheap and chewy as these suckers are, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stopped to grab them -or the number of instances I’ve given in and asked for a bite. Maybe two.
Nevertheless, as we’re walking through the Bodega, in search for this prized commodities, I ask, “Well, sex is one of those things that can’t be compromised. If it isn’t good, if your drives don’t match, then you can’t seriously stay in the relationship.” Still in search for the cookie-that-must-be-bought, my friend replied, “Yes, I feel that way. But not everyone needs passion.” Astonished by this revelation, I reply, “What’s the point in being in a relationship if you’re not madly in love? Why give up your opportunity to meet someone you could be crazy about to be without someone who is mediocre?”
Excited to have found a few packs and distracted by the cashier, they matter-of-factly stated: “Think about it – they get along fine, the sex is somewhat good, and they are ready to get married. So they do. I mean, it saves on rent.”
And thus is the mantra for settling in New York.
I may have a few unreasonable expectations about the man I ultimately want to be with – like the fact I’ve never dated under 6’0″. But I’m well aware that some standards are not actually qualifications, but preferences. Sure, there are non-negiotables (I won’t date someone without a job or with a heart that’s described lack-luster at best) – but most things can be compromised. Especially if the person actually finds a way to throw me a line or show me a move I’ve never seen or felt before.
However, as much as I realize and accept my ideal man may turn out to be far from the image I’ve constructed in my mind – if there’s one thing I won’t settle for, it’s love. He may be in a profession I would never have pictured myself intrigued by (truth be told, I’ve stuck to businessmen pretty consistently) or sport a look that’s never made me take a second look. He may not come from the background I’d prefer and we may not share some of the syncing interests I’ve had with boyfriends of the past. He may not be the wildest I’ve had or the man to push me to my furthest limit. He may not give me hell or the giggles.
But he, whoever he is, will be unlike any love I’ve known before. I will not place a price on passion or release those desires into a land where they’ll never be fulfilled. Because, at least when you’re single, there’s always a hope for something that’s better than the one before. And if you’re tied down when you’d rather be with someone who is your real partner- your eyes will wonder. Along with your hands and your mind. Or worst of all, your heart. And by settling for less than you desire to fill a need that’s ultimately void – you waste their’s and your’s time. Not to mention, the prospect of making a cut where it is unjustified and penetrating wounds that could take longer to heal than the length of the phoney relationship.
So here’s a case for unsettling: why should I lock myself into something I know I’d one day leave? Why would I be with someone who checks off boxes but doesn’t give me that intensity or doesn’t grow with the same steady velocity that I do? Why stick around and ditch the single status for something with an expiration date? If it’s sour going in, it’ll be unbearable when it leaves.
And while there may be things that I’ll dismiss in order to allow a promising person into my life, if I don’t know they are the person for me, I won’t stick around for the purpose of settling down. Because frankly, the idea of lowering the level of love I’d like to find is more unsettling than being alone.