A single guy starts writing about relationships. It could well be the prelude to some deeply romantic twenty-first century love story, where a lonesome singleton finds his soul mate in the comment threads.
But it hasn’t happened that way. At least not after nearly a year of flirting with the topic. And if I wrote the script of my dreams it wouldn’t – my picture of romance is more glamorous than that. I don’t know quite what that story looks like: I can conjure up features I like the look of, melding together aspects of the worldly and the spiritual, to build a composite girl of my dreams. But I wake and find I live in the day and not the dark.
Life is more complicated in the daylight.
When I think about romance, I think about someone I am attracted to and want to be with. I think of the other person. I do not think of myself.
I hope and dream and fantasise that one day, everything will fall into place like a hacked game of Tetris without the need for challenging swift manoeuvres to get the blocks to fit. I sometimes gild this with a spiritual veneer by talking of trusting in God, and waiting for his timing.
When what I’m really doing is copping out of tough decisions. Not that hard work will make everything all right, but without it, the disappointment at failing is less acute. If I am single and lonely because I’ve never done anything about it, at least I can retain the halcyon hope that one day it might not be so.
But if I have given my all, if I have risked my reputation and it comes to nothing, then I am still lonely and single but with disappointment thrown in for added hurt.
All the time I am waiting for something that is so right it cannot be wrong. Except things always go wrong, even in the most picturesque of wedding scenes there is a tension or disagreement, or unspoken resentment that lies somewhere beneath the surface. We are all frail people. We are the broken. Yet we look for perfection in other people, we think that will make us whole.
We put too much on other people, and place a burden on the relationship that it is not built to carry. No romance will make us perfect, no girl, or guy, no matter how attractive, funny or kind, will make us into the person that we want to be.
If we want to be rescued then romance isn’t the place to go.
Very slowly I’m learning that it’s not about waiting for the perfect girl. Or waiting for me to be good enough for someone to love. And learning that no relationship will set all of that straight. The freeze frame images of my hopes and dreams are not enough to capture the prospect of life with another person.
It is something I do not understand. It is something so distant from the images of romance and beauty, and love and life, that have rolled across my dreams. It is something so much scarier, something much more hopeful. Something that is perhaps worth the risk that it will not all go to plan.