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The Dating Game, Pt. 2

Room for Squares

One of the major misconceptions people have about dating is that meeting someone is the most difficult part. Think about it. Most romantic comedies sort of end right when two people meet and get together, as if that were the only part of the story worth telling. They skip over all the relationship building stuff that happens after the honeymoon phase. But if you’re lucky enough to have made it past that, then you’re at the real meaty bits that make the dating game so much more difficult than a few late night quickies. Yes, you’ve reached level two.

What is dating after all if not a series of getting-to-know-you bust ups designed for the purpose of furthering a relationship? Nobody remains on cloud nine forever. That’s just a fact of reality. It just won’t happen to you. And if it does, then you’re probably blissfully unaware of your need for a serious perception adjustment. I suppose you also buy into that rom-com stuff too, which is…well, let’s just say there’s a reason why so many people watched Bridget Jones’s Diary and no one watched The Edge of Reason.

Those of us who are more in tune with reality will realize that if those movies were to focus on what happens after the jump, then they’d cease to be comedies. I was reading “Dear Abby” the other day and came across the perfect example. This particular letter came from a man who recently moved in with his boyfriend of 12 years and wanted to learn how he might go about seeing past the newly discovered shortcomings of his now domestic partner.

Although “Ready To Scream” loves his domestic partner dearly and couldn’t imagine being without him, living together has created a series of problems. Unexpectedly, his partner has gone on to display some freakish examples of un-common sense that “Ready,” try as he might, just can’t seem to get over. Among other things, his partner uses clean linen to soak up toilet leaks although a mop is handily nearby, and instead of going to the store to buy cat food he chooses to feed their cat with the goose liver pate they brought back from Paris. Talk about a deal breaker.

These are the inevitable hiccups that no one tells you about that are neither big enough to ruin relationships nor so small as to be ignored. They’re the mundane, banal, everyday little arguments that get in the way of domestic bliss. And they’re a novelty whose welcome can be very easily and quickly worn out. Ostensibly, all relationships like this need something fresh to rejuvenate them. For a lot of straight couples, the next step past this initial lull is engagement, then marriage. But what do gay couples who don’t have this luxury do and where do they go from here?

There is no clear sailing all the way. Anyone who doesn’t want to reenter the shallow waters and rejoin the even shallower fish of the dating pool has to tough it out, emphasis on tough. I say that because dating, at this particular stage, becomes a test of wills where, in spite of whatever mutual affection may exist, what matters more is commitment. And let’s face it, that’s not exactly the calling card of our community. Whether the one is the result of the other is best left for the philosophers. However, it’s not hard to imagine that being given the legitimacy of marriage just might help clear up this commitment befuddlement somewhat.

For anyone who can’t remember what being single is like and would sooner jump ship than tough it out, remember that the first level of the dating game is no cake walk either. Personally, I’d choose the petty, little lovers’ spats over the lonely nights spent in too close proximity with a bar full of strangers and only two good friends, Mssrs. Walker and Beam, anyday. At the least, nonsensical lovers of the feeding-cat-pate kind offer more stimulating conversation than Johnny and Jim.