So, a frog and a rabbit walk into a bar… Okay. Yes. So it’s a joke, right? What’s the joke?
No, no joke, it’s a frog, a rabbit, and a bar. You know, it’s us. Wait, let me explain.
I’ve been watching these days, paying more attention to how people, how couples work. I need to because I need to learn. Obviously, there are things I’ve missed along the way. And while I’m a smart cookie–no point in pretending I’m not–and so there is a lot I do know about the world, that I do know about people and relationships and the interactions within–
But, there are things that I definitely missed because I’d assumed that head knowledge meant street knowledge. I’d assumed that book smart could replace experience.
It can’t. It doesn’t. I’m a frog and you were a rabbit (or vice versa, makes no difference, the metaphor is in the opposition, not the definition).
I like to watch, now, how couples host parties or dinners. How they interact at bars and restaurants, charity events, galleries… How they don’t interact and the portents that throws out to anyone who is paying attention. I have watched my brothers and their wives, my friends and their respective co-habs, wives, husbands, partners, paramours, girlfriends, boyfriends, “special persons” and my goodness, I think I could be onto something.
I remember reading this story about how two people can “smell right” together and I think of how badly I ‘smelled’ with most everyone I’ve ever dated. I can rattle them off, easily:
- The one who hosted a brunch where part of the conversation revolved around our sex life (I didn’t care that it was meant to be a “compliment” – I was mortified and furious and was never able to relax in that friend group)
- Also the same who threw a “porn party” – I don’t even have the words for that debacle.
- The one with whom I couldn’t host a party at all: her friends were all students in the same program and things revolved around cheap happy hour beers and chasing tail–not hating on the life stage but we broke up because she was unsure about what to do with her life – in retrospect, not so surprising
- The one who in a fit of jealously broke up my relationship with her best friend and with who I had to endure uncomfortable family dinners with her shit of a little brother whom I wanted to strangle; our shared friendships were mostly set aside and I spent more time at work than I did with her (see above: how a couple does not interact)
Then I can rattle off the ones, well, the situations, where this played out differently. People who I never succeeded in dating, seriously, for various reasons, but people with whom I “smelled right”. Where we were able to work a bar or a party together; to connect across a room and check in with each other with an eyebrow or a wink; to get along, in fact to even come to deeply enjoy and love our individual friends until they started to become mutual friends; Friday nights at the local or weekend parties or random get-togethers or mid-week dinners, all of it punctuated by an ease of breathing in each other’s space…
It’s partially a knowledge of each others ticks and nicks. It’s partially being secure in one another. But, much of it is actually being compatible, being able to be the negative space for one another, to actually complement and support one another. You are adjacent puzzle pieces; your lives should fit together. You should make sense.
You are, or come to be, two frogs or two rabbits. Two snakes in the grass or two crocodiles. Or two zebra-striped lions or leopard-furred armadillos– You are a pair. You are a singular thing together. You–
You both walk into a bar…