Here's a place to talk about the relationships in your life whenever you want.
It has been a couple of years since I have been on a first date. The last first date I went on was with a very nice, normal seeming 42-year-old who I will call Nick. Nick liked Krav Maga, karaoke and indian food. He was working on a screenplay about vampires, and over samosas, we talked about writing and and our families and all sorts of normal first date stuff.
Things were going well until the check came. As we waited for the waiter to pick up the paid bill, we got on the subject of Disney films, and I mentioned my childhood favorite was the Little Mermaid. Nick started humming Kiss the Girl. Then he started singing it. In the restaurant. In public. Then he got up from his seat, sidled over to me, and landed a kiss right on my (gaping) mouth.
After that, he got really intense; he texted constantly, called me before bed and tried to sing me a lullaby, and when I reneged on our second date he asked if I would meet him outside (we lived several blocks apart) so he could “just hold me.”
When I voiced my concern over his intensity, he admitted that he had just gotten out of a 15-year relationship and I was the first girl he had dated since his ex who, “was not a nice person in the end.”
“At least you didn't marry her,” I joked.
An awkward silence prepped me for what was coming: “Actually, I did.” Don't get me wrong –- there is nothing wrong with divorce or dating someone who is recently divorced. My parents got divorced and, aside from joining their fluids to create yours truly, divorce was probably the best thing they ever did for themselves. However, at the time I met Nick, I was 22, working my first big girl job and freshly out of my only serious relationship. While the 20-year age difference had been fine, I wasn't up for bringing up wifey's rear. Also, the singing in public thing was a deal breaker, obvi.
Trauma aside, Nick's revelation got me thinking. What if you made a list of your relationship experience to bring along with you on a first or second date, a la a dating/romance resume, sort of like you would on a job interview? What if this was a societal norm, like you order drinks and appetizers, talk about the weather/traffic/sports and then pull out your resumes. This could possibly be the worst idea I've ever had, but just hear me out for a hot second:
You could look for any red flags (commitment issues?! communication problems? No relationship over 6 months?), all your history would be out on the table, and you wouldn't have to wait three months to admit that your last relationship actually ended because one fateful Sunday you came home from brunch to find your ex in bed with your cousin and now the mere sight of a mimosa brings you to tears.
You could add your strengths and weaknesses, as well as activities or hobbies, so that any future romancers would know exactly what they're getting into. It could be sort of like online dating except in addition to making yourself sound way cooler than you are in real life, you would also be laying your history out on the table.
I pitched the idea to a bunch of my friends and heard mixed responses (“You sound mildly sociopathic”), so I decided to create my own. Since I'm not single, and my manfriend already knows my dating history, I decided I would share it with you. Maybe it will inspire you to make your own. If not, it will probably at least make you feel better about yourself.
For clarity, in the following romantic resume I call my SO's romancers, and I am the romancee. Also, I didn't include any purely sexual flings or relationships under 6 months because no one wants to read about that summer spent boning my older brother's frenemy because I was going through a rebellious streak, and also he had a car and could buy cigarettes.
Behold, my romantic resume!*
Education Here, I considered adding that Extend Your Orgasm workshop I took, or the Beyond Blowjobs class that Babeland offers, but I decided not to, 'cause I'm a classy lady. Romantic Experience
Johnny J, September 2001 – May 2002- Gained experience penning unrealistic and flowery prose pledging devotion and delivering said prose by means of paper footballs.- Displayed fierce loyalty by bloodying the nose of boy on bus who made fun of romancer's learning disability. - Unexpected fear of commitment arises after equally unexpected divorce of parents. - Showcased a fear of commitment by tonguing romancer's brother in the garage after school. Timothy S, 2003-2006- Gained experience forming first genuine intimate relationship. - Displayed superior communication skills by means of lengthy phone conversations, AIM chat sessions and thought-provoking debates held after school and on weekends. - Exhibited a thorough understanding of monogamy demonstrated by refusal to make out with member of romancer's garage band. - Experienced intense emotional demolition of trust after romancer drunkenly penetrated co-worker; these issues were frequently expressed through midnight drive-and-ducks. Daniel R, 2006 – 2007 - Displayed consistent enthusiasm for consuming large quantities of marijuana, watching Adult Swim in basement dorm room and eating jar after jar of olives. - Relationship terminated for numerous reasons, including the once uttered statement: “Why would anyone want to leave New Jersey? It has the beach, AND ski slopes. It's basically the perfect state.”
Brad T, 2008- 2011 - Excelled in rational communication. - Explored numerous “bonding” activities including early morning trips to the farmer's market. - Successfully maintained a monogamous long-distance relationship spanning three summer vacations. - Upon college graduation, gained cohabitation experience, 8 months.
- Strengths included (vegan) cooking and kitty-litter cleaning.
- Weaknesses included a tendency to lock self in bathroom and weep when overwhelmed by constant close proximity to romancer.
Parker P, 2011 – Current- Showcased an ability to slowly ease into things in a rational fashion. - Ability negated when enthusiasm for commitment spurred romancee to move with romancer to a (physical, not literal) island with no outside friends or family present. - Successfully collaborated on creative project without damaging relationship―romantic or professional.
- Continue to showcase emotional devotion, trust, and commitment; cohabitation has not yet spurred weeping in bathroom.
Additional Experience Some flings undocumented for insignificance, brevity, and/or the presence of a myriad of amphibians lurking in romancer's basement.
Strengths Loyalty, fidelity (aside from that one-time brotherly tongue session), compassion, flexibility, bathroom humor. Weaknesses Bathroom humor, affinity for micro-managing, penchant for peeing with door open, tendency to document relationships and/or feelings on the Internet. Activities
Writing – Fiction, non-fiction, blogging, experiential journalism, screenplays. Usually done between 5 and 10 am. Blocks in creativity expressed by the occasional tantrum and the habit of mainlining espresso. Cooking – Vegan only.
Masochism - An interest in obstacle and endurance races including two Tough Mudders, numerous 10-milers and an impending half marathon. Yoga - You're welcome.
* Names changed, obviously.
Making this “resume” showed me the following things:
- Despite being a serial monogamist, my relationships have been, for the most part, unhealthy.
- I probably, definitely, have commitment issues.
- This would probably be a terrible thing to show any future love interests, but it was a great exercise for self psychoanalysis and much cheaper than therapy.
OK, are romance resumes the worst idea ever? I guess I concluded that they are. Would you want to put your dating history out there from the get-go, or is part of getting to know someone slowly learning about their past? I guess you're more likely to stick around if you already fancy someone before you find out their last romance ended because they tried to sneakily pee on their girlfriend in the shower.