June 05, 2007

Persistence pays.

"I seriously don't understand how anyone ever ends up together," I said, shaking my head at a friend and his wife across the breakfast table.

They had just finished telling the "how we met" story, and let me tell you, it was epic:

At a party, boy meets and schmoozes girl. Girl remains aloof and chilly. Boy asks for phone number. Girl denies. One week later, they bump into each other again. Boy is hammered at a bar, drinking with the bartender. Girl is sober. Boy again asks for girl's number. Girl gives it to him, verbally. Boy belligerently swears to remember it. Girl leaves. Boy (surprise!) forgets number. A few days go by. Boy runs into mutual friend, who he asks for the girl's phone number. Friend gives him girl's work number. Boy calls girl at work, interrupting her while mispronouncing both her first and last names. Girl asks if she can call him back at a better time.

A few hours later, girl calls boy who has now been schmoozy, sloppy and forgetful around her, and possibly doesn’t even know her name. That is far more than three strikes, is it not? A few weeks later, they're inseparable. Now, they’re married (and adorable).

"I mean, you didn't even say her name right!" I rolled my eyes, thinking about all the poor schleps I'd dismissed for crimes far less eggregious.

“I know,” he chuckled, as his wife looked at him adoringly. “My success with women can only be attributed to my ability to be so ridiculously persistent that they finally give in and give me a shot.”

Ain’t that the truth, too? There is much to be said for the persistence of a man who simply will not take “no” for an answer.

Why is that “eye on the prize” approach so attractive? It should be interpreted as arrogant, but its effect is sometimes positively the opposite, compelling women to do exactly what these overeager types ask, as if we simply have no choice in the matter.

According to Webster, "persistence" is the quality of continuing steadily despite problems or obstacles. So is that it, then? Is it purely biological? Are we all ultimately seeking someone we know isn't going to give up only because we realize in life there will be obstacles to overcome that will seem monumental enough to make it feel like quitting is the best possible option? Is this our built in "stability-meter"?

Whatever it is, there’s just something about a man who thinks he wants you badly enough to treat pursuing you like it’s a full time job.

I have absolutely fallen for it before, against all my better judgment. But it’s not a surefire path to success -- if there’s no chance for a relationship’s survival, someone will ultimately snap out of it. In my case, it took about a month and a half before I realized I was somehow mysteriously dating a bi-curious man who only ate Jack in the Box chicken sandwiches, failed out of school twice and who had... wait for it... just pierced his tongue.

Two days after I saw the light and after the world's hottest and most exfoliating shower, it was over. But props to him for a strong, if manipulative and ultimately creepy, start.

By the time breakfast had wrapped up with my lovebird friends, I was thoroughly convinced that dating, love and marraige was just a game of chance that God invented one day to keep him entertained (okay, and ensure procreation) -- something like a bully with a magnifying glass on a sunny day might keep himself entertained by scorching ants on the asphalt between his dirty feet.

(Sorry, God. I hope we can still be friends. I'm just saying...)

Except the ants have tiny brains and get to burn to death. We just have to go on hideous date after hideous date, having the same exact conversations with different versions of the same exact people, all of whom likely find us as boring or crazy as we find them, until someday, almost against our will and certainly with no help from us, something is just... different. And then, maybe even all the things that would have otherwise mattered (hell, even the pronunciation of your name) just won't.

I hope that makes it all worth it in the end.

I like to think it might.


Chuckles said...

I don't know anything either and how people stay together is well beyond me, but I keep trying. And trying. And trying. My dating history has more smoking craters than the moon.

Cuz I crash and burn. A lot.

Trebuchet said...

My problem has been more often me crashing and indavertently burning others. I need to learn how to play nice.

But good to know that we are all out there doing the same thing over and over again, just waiting for different results. Isn't that the definition of insanity?

Well, then, here's to comaraderie in insanity.

minijonb said...

you can meet someone anytime, anywhere, if you're looking or not. i met my ex at a mutual friend's xmas party and i met my new super girlfriend on... yeah, i'll admit it... match dot com. it works.