I’m not a person who falls headfirst into relationships. I’m practically tantric about dating; I stave off as long as I can — Sting-style. I keep people about a yardstick away, “holding hands” through a napkin like we’re dancing at an Orthodox wedding. I hem and haw, awkwardly introducing someone I’m newly seeing as “my friend????” I Houdini-disappear my way out of entanglements before feelings or daylight, whichever comes first.
Naturally, like a stock character in a Katherine Heigl romantic comedy, I am bowled over by actually liking someone. (You’re saying I’m not immune to human emotions? …I don’t get it.) Choo choo, all aboard the Ozzy Osbourne crazy train. I have no idea what I’m doing.
Story time: I had started seeing someone I really, really liked — and sort of unexpectedly, everything jumped on the NASCAR fast track. There was no first date. We kissed and then, a week later, we were spending every spare second together, texting and talking on the phone during the few hours apart, cooking together, planning trips, brainstorming future writing projects. We became immediately inseparable. You could have snapped your fingers between the time it took for us to admit our feelings for each other and the time I started leaving clothing at his place. More instant than your coffee. Bam! Dating! Very seriously!
A mere week later, I resurfaced into society to see a movie with my friend Meghan. I was wearing one of his shirts because I hadn’t gone home in three days (We’d been jokingly calling it “love jail” or “sex quarantine” although both of us were dopey and infatuated with each other so although those terms imply “imprisonment,” it was more Martha-Stewart-white-collar-fancy prison and less Riker’s Island). Meghan, rightfully, was like, “Where the eff have you been?” She was one in a stream of concerned friends who’d started texting me about putting out an APB on my whereabouts.
I explained to Meghan why I’d disappeared into this dude and, probably lost my goddamn mind (this is so not my MO), and she put it perfectly: “Oh my god, you’re on Narnia Time.” Meaning that though in the real world, it had only been a week, to me it felt like we’d been seeing each other for eons. Narnia Time: You step into the magical wardrobe and experience a lifetime; you step out of the wardrobe and only five minutes have passed.
And it’s easy, even great, to fall into a Narnia Time relationship. It means you have immediate comfort with somebody, an instant connection where you both seem to feel like you should have been together this whole while and are just now doing the things you’d be doing maybe five or six months in. You want to jump ahead to the part where the amount of time you’ve been together “matches” the intensity of what you feel. Maybe you’re just excited about the possibilities of this new person. You have hope. You feel happy. You’re diving in because you like the way they make you feel and you like spending time together so why stop? Heck, maybe you’re really in love.
You start hanging out, and the hang outs never end. There’s no finishing one date and starting another. You’re just spending all your time together like this is what you’ve always done. They don’t feel “new.” You talk about how you’re going to sleep at your own apartment, then you never do. You talk about how crazy and fast this all is, but you don’t slow down. You vow to spend some time apart, but neither of you really wants to. It’s wonderful. It’s amazing. Narnia is fun as hell.
But you’ve totally lost perspective. It’s hard to remember that outside the wardrobe, you’ve been together about five days.
The risk of a relationship on Narnia Time is burn out. Something so on fire supposedly has to come down to embers at some point. You can very easily lose yourself in the person you’re with — forgetting about friends and family and work. Your priorities shift. You no longer care about “the real world” outside the fantasy land you’ve created. You start the day with goals and that devolves into ten hours of cuddling and watching 30 Rock. I’d say to “be careful” but no one who is currently experiencing Narnia Time wants to hear that. I certainly wouldn’t have listened. And maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe everyone else is just a bitter White Witch played by Tilda Swinton.
Yeah. You know what? F-ck it. You’re lucky enough to have found your wardrobe? Stop worrying and just enjoy Narnia. Lord knows you can’t stay with Aslan and Mr. Tumnus forever.