It hasn’t taken much adulthood for me to realize that, at the end of the day, I’m a recipe for a god awful partner.
By partner, I don’t mean business partner, or creative partner, or even sexual partner (I think?). That’s all squared away and fine and good. I mean the other type of partner. The “let’s go to the farmers market and grab some decorative gourds” one. The “oh, honey, would you mind taking out the trash? Our #MeatlessMonday dinner is nearly done” one. The shared bank account, monogrammed dish towels, house in the suburbs one.
You know. A partner partner. That one.
Why do I think this? Well, lots of reasons why.
For starters, I’m at my best when I live by myself. According to the internet, I keep fairly similar hours to Sylvia Plath, a fact that alone speaks volumes. I wake up when drunk people are at the point in their evening where they’re pissing on my apartment building so that I can run 5k and accomplish some writing. I like to write as I do other things – running, commuting, cooking, watching TV, talking, whatever. This involves a lot of scribbling while running into things and mumbling to myself. I can’t do that with other people around – or, you know, I can, but they don’t like it. But on my own, it’s super chill.
Here’s else why: I’m gross as fuck. In weird ways, though, not in, like, ways anyone would suspect. For instance, I have been known to eat leftover vegetables in bed. Who does that? Me. I love that shit. Un-relatedly, I have a seven-year-old piercing that’s never healed – not at all – and a cornucopia of mysterious open wounds at all times. Why? WHO KNOWS.
I’m constitutionally incapable of making my bed. I only seem to sweat on one side of my body. Just weird gross stuff. You would never know any of this or even care because it doesn’t impact any of my relationships or my ability to be a productive member of society – unless, of course, you’re my partner. Partner partner. Then it matters.
Finally: I am competitive as shit. I would not be surprised if I ate a potential twin in utero just to prove my evolutionary fitness. Not that I’m in the practice of murdering people, obviously, nor is my competitiveness usually directed at others. I primarily compete with myself, setting astronomically high standards and consistently failing to reach them. Things like “win a Nobel Peace Prize for internet comedy writing by age 26.” And rather than say to myself, “Gee, Sarah, maybe you can dial back that ambition a touch,” I give myself a really hard time for not succeeding and then try again. Basically, I’m a goddamn nightmare.
I am, of course, at the age where shit goes down and people partner up, plenty of my friends included. I am happy for these people. Partnership is good. Most Ikea furniture is impossible to make alone. Babies, too – very challenging without two participants, in some shape or form. And, like, being around a person you like, deep friendship, a support system, “guaranteed” sex (which, well,), stability, etc.; all compelling reasons to engage in a partner-y partnership. My friends have caught on, and there are partners everywhere. Some have babies, some have dogs, some have Instagram accounts. They have varying levels of affinity toward quinoa but share the fact that they seem to be making things work.
Since I’m very self-aware, I guess I could change. Start watching my words. Conduct all kale consumption in the kitchen. Stop trying to conquer the planet in a long weekend. The fact that I’m not the worst at other types of partnership actually suggests that I’d be a perfectly salable partner-partner if I put the effort in, DIY wooden coasters and gratitude platitudes potentially included.
But I don’t change. I change not one bit, in part because, though my core problems in life can be attributed to giving far too many fucks, about these particular things I give barely any. I look at it all and kinda go “ehhhhh.”
Potential partner partners let me get away with a lot of it for a limited time because they don’t really believe it’ll be so bad – and also because I suppose these are less alarming behaviors than, say, serial cheating or habitually masturbating into the kitchen sink (though the latter, given my chromosomal makeup, would actually be kind of impressive).
And I suppose the other half of it is some half-cocked belief that none of it will matter. Maybe I’m just over-thinking things again and I’m no more god awful than anybody else, meaning there’s little need to change at all. Everybody’s gross and annoying in their own way, which is more interesting than the antiseptic, featureless alternative. My shortcomings in blood clotting will pair with someone’s superior scab-forming capabilities, or something.
I guess that one doesn’t really work, but you get what I mean. So maybe I’m not the worst after all, and just a kind-of okay who’ll find another kind-of okay, too. Should we just go with that?