>>> The Scholarly Tabloid
By staff writer Et Nola
November 19, 2006

“Trivial Enlightenment from Beginning to Zen”

Have you ever been hanging with someone only to realize that the best thing about the relationship was that it really wasn’t much of one? Consider some of the people you casually hang out with whenever you’re bored, or the ones who happen to share a class with you. Maybe they’re smart or funny. Maybe they have an amazing body and a kind and gentle soul…whatever. The thing they all have in common is that you really have no emotional obligations to them whatsoever. That’s great news because ‘tis the season to exploit them.

Around this time each year, Americans prepare for the onslaught of the “holiday season.” Shoppers (read: women) begin their perennial targeting of bargains and sales, much like a war council on storming Normandy, or K-Fed on storming the unemployment line. These shoppers seek to ransack the malls and outlets in search of elusive bargains, while others prepare for a season of preying upon the emotionally crippling atmosphere of winter.

If it weren’t for the scattered fragments of broken couples and the shattered dreams of romance, the holidays would be far too upbeat for the brand of psychological warfare I’m talking about. With the stress of work or exams mixing with that faint aroma of depression hovering ever so faintly above the dorm room of every collegian, it’s no wonder the post-final, pre-flight “home hook-up” odds are in the favor of anyone with a pulse. While I’m not advocating using people as an emotional crutch, I am saying that this is certainly the time when it happens the most.

“I'm not looking for a person who embodies something that I’m lacking in hopes that they compliment me.”

So, if you’re lonely and happen to stay awake long enough to remember that cute guy/girl who lightly flirted with you throughout the semester, ‘tis the season you’re likely to deck their halls with your holiday cheer. While I sit this particular game out each season, I figured I’d put it in writing for the uninitiated. Cheers.

Southern Discomfort

I was making plans for the next evening after the current one went south, when the girl I’m with asks, “Do you always have to plan everything?” I tell her, “No, but it's nice to make plans with people after you've cancelled on them.” I was referring to making plans with someone whom I cancelled on to be with The Grand Inquisitor sitting beside me. That particular interrogation, coupled with her fondness of a friend of mine that she met at a party, kind of brought to light that I really wasn't what she wanted in a boyfriend. I wasn't her particular brand of impulsive and thus, I wasn't quite right. She wasn’t the brightest bulb or even the most effervescent, so I considered it a draw.

My mind then flashed to the last couple of women I’ve been with, and I thought about how much both parties would have preferred someone just a little different. Sometimes we wanted less sentiment, and sometimes both parties seemed to want someone else entirely. It became clearer that what we wanted and what we actually found weren't so much different on the actual level as much as they were different inside our very minds. Perception trumps reality most of the time, but it honestly becomes a case of how the packaging that attracts us ultimately leads at least one person to buyer's remorse.

There's a lot of talk from exes (not just my own) about wanting someone who is reliable, trust-worthy, open, and honest. They talk about finding someone who really cares about them and doesn't judge them. They want someone easy-going yet dependable. The first question I ask is, “Why should such a person stick with you? Would you rather *they* be miserable with your lousy ass?” But don’t think the women I’ve dated were the only delusional ones.

For the record, I chose to date and/or sleep with them, so I’ve got my own pitfalls there. I guess the difference is that I’m not looking for a “concept” person. I'm not looking for a person who embodies something that I’m lacking or something that I neglect in hopes that they compliment me. I can’t say the same for some of the women I’ve been with. Instead, I'm looking for someone honest enough to embrace who they are, particularly someone worth being with who I am.

It’s all a balancing act, from balancing one's introverted/extroverted tendencies all the way to balancing joint pursuits of personal growth and individual reflections. I simply can't abide by the fact that someone else should be brought in to compliment what we feel we are lacking when it comes to traits like kindness, sincerity, trustworthiness, creativity, or intellect. We can not expect another to be our “muse” or our “personal Jesus.” The truth is that unless both people are seeking personal improvement, neither will be able to obtain much lasting happiness. In the end, it is a lopsided exchange of faulty expectations and inevitable time-bombs, the epicenters of which relationships dismantle all too late.