Over the winter of 2015, after having spent a wonderful and eventful Summer in Turkey, I decided to return to a small town called “Fethiye” for Christmas Holidays. I had little else to do, and I’d been hired by a friend to edit a book of his. The small port town was thus the perfect getaway now that the prices had fallen and the tourists had left for warmer places.
Truth be told, most of the articles I published in 2016 came from this month of work. The sudden and noticeable drop in activity and frequency of published articles midyear happened once I ran out of them, and actually had to get my ass into gear. Although I quite enjoy the art and craft of writing, I often just as much enjoy pretending I’m going to write and watching Youtube videos instead.
Be that as it may, I have very fond memories of this month as a quasi-hermit and author. Despite the terrible weather, the fabulous scenery was still there, and there wasn’t a foreigner in sight. Hence the few remaining shops, restaurants and hostels open were extremely generous to any lost soul that happened to end up over there. Among them there was a cafe by the boardwalk called “Pelikan Cafe,” and contrary to expectations, its name delivered!
To question one’s purpose in life is about as normal of a human activity as one could possibly do. Recently, I had a long and very frank discussion with a girl about how one ought not to rush love and how the right partner will find you. She viewed it as unnatural and unhealthy to expend so much mental energy on women and approaching them. I naturally scoffed, tell that to my 19 year old kissless, hugless and virgin self, I thought to myself. Had I kept doing the exact same thing that I had been doing, I would’ve likely died alone, and very frustrated.
In the words of Woody Allen “eighty percent of success is just showing up” – for years I’d failed to turn up and then one December I decided to show up. Life took a turn for the better after some initial road-bumps. I cannot say with certainty where I would’ve ended up had I not met people who helped me change lanes, but I’m sure that I wouldn’t have gone down a positive road.
Imagine if you will, a world of such mathematical exactitude that a formula is devised. This formula is nothing short of magical, for it can predict what truly makes a man happy. This equation knows nothing else but the contents of your heart and how best to achieve them. It can tell you whom to love for the happiest life, what to eat for the most satisfying and nutritious meals that your body needs, what to do to be satisfied, and what choices to make so as to have no regrets.
On first instance, this seems like a miracle from the Heavens. After all, who doesn’t want to be happy? Nobody wakes up wanting to be miserable, it’s just that life has this way of piling up such emotional weight on you at times, that it’s difficult to carry all that, as well as lift your frown. So, naturally, you’ll try to use such a formula.
What perhaps you’ll realise is what I did a couple of days ago. For the first time, in a long while, I am in a large city – Zagreb, to be precise. I decided that it had been some time since I had a Summer romance. I fondly remember what I used to have in the past, and thus I decided to try to recreate it.
I cannot help but feel that over the last few years there’s been a progressive escalation of hatred to the opposite gender. On the one hand, we have the “feminazis,” who see any masculine trait as an affront to their personal wellbeing. On the other hand, we have the “manosphere,” which often preaches that all women are blood sucking harpies who’ll stab you in the heart if you ever take your eye off them. Caught in the crossfire of this drama, we have the average Joe and Jane.
Neither Jane or Joe genuinely sees the opposite gender as an enemy to be fought. Yet the problem is that our own gendered extremists are lashing out at the other side, which creates reactionary extremists, which will create even more extremists of the opposite gender, and it becomes a negative feedback loop. Let’s stop this before it gets out of hand.
I have come to the conclusion that most people do not want to be happy. They say they do, but wallowing in the depths of self pity, paranoia and arbitrary rules is far too fun. Life is simple (you laugh, but it is). You’re born, you exist and you die. That is all there is to it, not content with that beautiful simplicity we make arbitrary rules for our existence. We say that tea has to be made in a certain specific way, rather than just adding hot water and leaves; we say we can’t swim in the pool before an hour has passed after we’ve eaten; we say we can only have dessert after a meal; and we say we can only have sex and love one partner. Just noise, it’s all just noise, and I am tired of it.
This is not how we were meant to live. This is not life. I genuinely believe life is about connections and finding happiness. It’s about exploring who you are via how you interact with your surroundings. Yet we tend to put a barrier between us. I challenge you to go to your local restaurant and see how many people are interacting with a screen rather than with each other, even if they’re supposedly intimate with one another. Sometimes it’s not as overt as having a physical barrier between two people, but it accomplishes the same.
When you’re talking with someone and they invoke their significant other as some sort of higher power to put a break on the interaction, like a lawyer citing article 3 subsection b, despite wanting to continue being around you. I think that’s wrong. I’m not saying that they’re not in their full right to do so, but they do so in spite of thoroughly enjoying you. In other words, they’re deliberately sacrificing their happiness because someone out there has told them that they cannot do so as it would be disrespectful to their significant other, because supposedly you can only be intimate with one person.
If someone truly loves you, would they not want you to be as happy as you can possibly be? Quite frankly, would it not be downright disrespectful and offensive to even suggest that the person you’re with is so insecure that they will treat you like a belonging, and limit what you do with people when they’re not even in the same vicinity? I sincerely don’t get why that should be fine with any rational person. Imagine a friend telling you that from the day you befriended them onwards, you could never have another friend, whilst you still see them. Would you really believe they’re someone worth keeping in your life as a positive influence? Jealous, petty and manipulative are not traits I have on my list for potential lovers. Nevertheless, it has become the default state of affairs due to how the system is organized.
I sincerely rue the day 10,000 years ago when agriculture and property rights made it necessary to start having a monogamous culture. Property rights made it necessary to have clear lines of lineage, to be able to benefit your offspring, rather than someone else’s. Before that, not even STD’s had been a strong enough disincentive to have such a rigid structure. Books like Sex at Dawn make the case that for most of our existence as a species we were “monogamish”, we had a special someone but we were open enough with our partners that they could be with others if they so wished.
Hell, biologically, we’re even built for that sort of environment. Sperm Wars, another great book, explains that men have three types of sperm (most of which doesn’t have the express purpose of impregnating women) :
1. Impregnating sperm
2. Blocking Sperm, essentially deformed sperm, which blocks the canals so that no other extraneous sperm can push through
3. Attacking sperm, which carries a dose of poison to kill other sperm.
If we were never meant to have more than one partner at the same time, why did we ever develop such a fine tuned mechanism to pass on our genes? Finally we also have the largely varying orgasming times for men and women (on average). As if to suggest that women could take on multiple males one after the other. If anything, I think we’ve become a clock that isn’t allowed to tell the time, because it’s supposedly immoral to do so. We truly want to give the time, as we’re built for that purpose, and we feel miserable when we can’t be like that.
The heart is a muscle, and like any muscle, it becomes bigger the more it’s exercised. If you succumb to lethargy, then it dies off and it becomes useless. I think love works in the same way. The problems that this “moral” solution tried to solve, have been solved by science and ingenuity. Condoms have virtually eliminated the high risk of most diseases, and there’s cures for a good chunk of the diseases as well. Then, we also have various ways of avoiding unplanned pregnancies, and even if they were to happen, we can be entirely sure of who the father is, we could even abort it if need be.
Monogamy has thus become an outdated concept. However, it’s been so ingrained in us that it is hard to let go. Every song, every book, every movie, every other person has been brainwashed into believing it is their own idea. We think it’s what we want, but then our body and caveman brain scream “NO” in unison, hence why less and less of us in society are deciding on getting married in the first place. Personally, I’ve never had an “official” girlfriend. I’ve always considered making it official, somewhat demeaning to the girl and to myself.
It just seems oddly patronizing, as if to imply that I have a right to a second of their time that they don’t want to give me or vice versa. I operate under a very self admittedly libertarian approach to dating. The second that they find me boring, ordinary, and not worth the time, the door’s there. There’s an analogy that I always like to use in the matter.
Imagine, for a moment, that you’re a Coca Cola fan. You love the flavour and you have half a mind to call yourself an addict. Coca Cola doesn’t have to come in the middle of the night, point a gun to your head and tell you that bad things will happen if you drink anything other than Coke. No, it knows perfectly well that tomorrow you might drink Fanta, Sprite or, heaven forbid, Pepsi. Even after having tried the devil’s elixir, you will eventually come back because Coke has shown you enough worth to warrant it.
I think exercising monopoly rights over a person is an insecure person’s game. If you think you’re someone worth having, why do you fear competition? Is it because you realize that they might be too good for you? If you don’t trust the other person in being responsible and using protection, why even be with them in the first place?
This might not come off as a huge shock (what with you being able to read page after page of my ramblings here), but I have a bit of an ego problem. If my ego were a physical object it would’ve long since collapsed into a black hole due to the immense gravitational pressure it had. However, even with that ego, I do not think I am the perfect man. I do not have nearly all the traits a partner could possibly want. So who am I to arbitrarily say that someone should ignore a facet of themselves, because I cannot supply them this trait? I believe that a partner should help you in achieving the greatest heights of happiness, so he should be willing not to be jealous of you fulfilling the needs elsewhere that they can’t supply.
Life would be so beautiful if we helped each other grow, rather than guarding each other like a dragon guarding his hoard. There’s too many things to worry as it is. Let’s not add more to the stack with artificial, inconsequential concerns. Happiness is a choice, and it is up to you to decide to be happy.
Have you ever been in a polyamorous or open relationship? How did it work out?