You may know someone who is better at beginning and ending relationships then being in relationships. That someone may be a member of your family. That someone may be you. I think every family has one of these people. In my family, I am this person.
"On the other hand, you have different fingers." Steven Wright
We can be recognized by our relationship history - we’ve reached a point in our intimate bonds where family members, in an effort to salve our situations, give romantic partners a number rather than a name.
I remember when I finally asked my stoic, gruff father why he was being so distant with #613 even though we’d been together for two years. He explained that he was trying to protect himself. He said that he had gotten so attached to #610 and #611 that when I broke up with #612 he sort of felt like he had gone through break up too. I gave my Dad a hug and took him out for a Mrs. Field’s chocolate chip cookie ;)
I think in some ways my karmic connection to botched romance helps members of my family (those who may be tempted to climb onto my side of the fence) see that the single side of the fence is only greener when people like me spray paint the grass green like they do in California during the driest part of summer.
As the newly self-appointed spokesperson for this invisible, voiceless tribe of romantic thoroughbreds, I've outlined below the template I've teleologically mananged to salvage from the wreckage of my latest race.
The Wow Period
I’d seen my dad (the infamous sculptor) get wowed enough times by life that he developed a routine. He’d drink to the point of passing out and then proceed to write romantic poetry all over the walls and furniture of our house with a black wax pencil.
My model for “wowness” is in my genes. I never stood a chance.
“Maybe mistakes are what make our fate... without them what would shape our lives?" - Carrie Bradshaw from Sex in the City
My own courtship history is littered with similar ways in which I took my own metaphorical wax pencil and scribbled all over my life.
Through the years, I’ve made elaborate tokens of love and concocted unbelievable courtships aimed at winning the women I’ve fallen for. I once created a 3ft foot pink papier-mâché moon and took it on a plane to Mexico to woo a woman I barely knew. Did it work? I guess it depends on how you look at it - we got married. Another time, I made a 4ft children's book complete with hand sewn pages and encapsulated in purple faux fur. I took this to Alaska, chasing a girlfriend who had grown tired of me. Then, there was the five year period when I took dozens of boxes - refrigerator sized boxes - and decorated them with dioramas inside and delivered them to doorsteps. Needless to say, once Youtube came around things changed.
Wow in Motion
Four years ago, I created the video below to win over the girl of my dreams (#613) who was already spoken for. (Love makes us all crazy sometimes, doesn't it?) I'm not a video maker - just a guy with a flip camera who was in love. My nephews, who were home for Christmas break, helped me out. What happened with the girl? She left the other guy, and we fell madly in love or so I thought. Lesson: When love is no more than the sum of the parts of a courtship traveling in one direction, the love can never, truly last.
What a difference two and a half years make. Same relationship new video.
#613 moves to New York. I'm not sure I can leave my life in Richmond, VA behind. Things begin to fall apart.
The connection and exchange of energy between two people can be life changing. More so if you’re an artist and romantic like myself who throws everything into a courtship but the kitchen sink when you meet someone. As Woody Allen says, “I don’t go out on dates. I go out on relationships.”
"You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming." Pablo Neruda
I’ve been in five monogamous relationships. Each lasted exactly 4 years. Each time, I fell head over heels in love with the girl, each time the girl left me and each time there was a year or sometimes two years separating each relationship. This gave me just enough time to feel the magic of existing in the world again as a single, happy, maladjusted romantic, and contemplate what I’d done wrong just long enough to put myself right in cupid’s path.
What a difference three years make. Same relationship new video.
Below, you’ll see the same song as above, repackaged for a Valentine’s Day performance. Maybe I thought she’d see this and come running back to me. Did it work? She did come back and we managed to limp along for another year.
What a difference four years make. Same relationship new video. The last one. I promise.
If you’ve been reading my blog for some time, then you know how I’ve been working overtime to get over this latest break up. (See posts: "Breaking up Without Breaking Down" and "The Clueless Groom Battles for Relationship Status").The template for each of my relationships has been exactly the same. With hopes that you may be able to glean some lesson that I’ve failed to learn from my own personal history, I present the template to you above.
I have no regrets. In fact, to fall in love five times in one’s life is a magnificent endeavor. (Sometimes on my way to the post office I fall in love a dozen or more times). The only regret I'll have is if I continue to choose women with an expiration date. You see, it may make for good adventures, but you can't curl up with an adventure at the end of the day.
Slash Coleman, M.A.Ed. is an award-winning writer and performer best known for his PBS special and Off-Broadway one-man show, The Neon Man and Me. more...