I've been getting a lot of questions (some emailed and some not so nice) about WHY I made a Hitch List, why I've put what are several "well, DUH" items on the list, why I left someone I loved to do it.
First off, I’m somewhat dismayed by the standard “if you could even picture kissing another human, you didn’t love him” default many people revert to. Love, as my longtime gay wingman pointed out recently, is not black and white, nor is it concrete, especially in the cases of people who have been together for half a decade or more. (PS: Limerence, the 1-2 year chemical love high kicked into action by the brain, feels concrete. But it’s not. I still see lots of people mistaking the two daily.) My 90-year-old grandmother confirmed this after I confessed I’d been taking abuse from snark-sharks who said that I couldn’t have been in love if I left, and that I had been taking the snark to heart. Grandma, who is very wise and very Catholic, said simply that “realistic love” is transient, and the people who can’t recognize that are the ones who become rigid and unlovable. She then berated me for caring what other people think. (Point taken, Grandma.)
Obviously something as personal as the reasons behind leaving and hitch listing will be different for everyone. I certainly don't expect anyone who's from a more traditional, white-picket-fence-mindset to even remotely understand the selfish, all-about-me nature of listing.
But for clarification’s sake, I can say FOR ME it is a much needed codependency treatment, one that will ideally cure me of a potentially fatal (socially and romantically) illness: Super Lameness, clinically known (in the clinic that is our halfway-house of an apartment) as Chronic Monogamy Syndrome.
Like generations of men, women and sitcom characters before me, I like the single life. It's sexy. It’s fun. You don't have to answer to anyone. You can pick up and go study the art of prayer flag making in Tibet. You can go on Puckish adventures into the outer-boroughs for anything you want--underground dances parties, thin-sliced pizza, bohemian guitar circles, green tea, make-out sessions with random lead singers of bands you accidentally picked up after even more random concerts (I'm looking at you, Red...). Anything's possible when you don’t have someone else to consider. Nights can end at 6am with your partner in crime at your side, both of you smelling like gin and lime and high off the heady violation of every cardinal rule of proper behavior. Or you can just sit alone contentedly blogging without being called antisocial. (Though I recommend debauchery. It all goes in a memoir someday, and if your memoir's too boring too read you’re wasting the precious gifts of life and genitals.)
But like everyone who’s ridden singledom already knows, eventually loneliness sets in...followed by self-doubt, social paranoia, the fear that if you die no one will come looking for you until the dog eats your face, and that gnawing, irrational need to be spooned by a warm body which holds you tightly. That warm body completely validates you: you’re pretty enough, smart enough, interesting enough, worthy enough for companionship, and you’ve got proof!
For Chronic Monogamers, this can become the relentless, insecure driving force behind jumps from long-term relationship to long-term relationship.
This is super lame.
Example: I have a background in wanting to be partnered so badly that I fall in love too easily, forgiving glaring personality flaws (long histories of womanizing, lack of direction in life, non-reciprocating oral sexers) en route to the next level of companionship. That eventually resulted in a failed engagement to a douche who was clearly a douche, and the purchase of 25 stone wedding centerpieces which are still sitting, like a bizarre graveyard, in my parent’s basement.
Far worse is that I blow off friends as soon as the signing bonus on new relationship goes through. I’m nesting. I’m sexing. I’m entwined with my lover, happily absorbing their nuances like a sponge, purring and lolling about in togetherness like an overweight cat in a featherbed. I become defined by the relationship, which leads to monophobia outside of the relationship.
This is all incredibly humiliating to have to admit, because it reveals just how insecure and cringe-inducingly awkward I am at my lowest. But I do know through countless conversations and shameless evesdropping that I’m not an isolated case. I’ve seen it: normally rational, fun, strong people fading into their chains of band-aid relationships, losing touch with themselves as they go. We’ve all watched enough disturbingly codependent relationships sink into the tar pits because at least one person can't admit to this, and it’s ugly enough to make me want to suck it up and deal with it now.
So, I left. Not because my lover was a douche (this one was and is a decided catch, loved and approved of by everyone from Grandma to our social circle’s bitchy-I-hate-everyone-Godfather-of-the-Gays) but because I might be...or might become one down the road if I didn’t take some time to sort out all the glaring flaws I’d never addressed because I haven’t been alone since I was 19.
By making a list, forcing myself to go independent, learning to have fun without a partner or date in tow and reconnecting with all the friends I abandoned when nesting (or failed to meet by not going out), I just might become the kind of person I want to marry.
I may end up something besides super lame.
And I think that's just swell.