I often struggle with interpersonal relationships. Well, not so much struggle as “ignore until someone yells”. This means that I have created a variety of rules to get through life. Unfortunately, I tend to ignore some and forget others. Some rules don’t really have lasting repercussions if ignored. Rules like “tell the grocery clerk ‘Thank You’ instead of ‘Can I take my bags and go now?” only have, at worst, a temporary setback (not including the nightly remembrance of hurt/annoyed looks). Other rules have may have a series of permanent repercussions if ignored. Rules like “it is not ok to tap the car in front of you with your truck to get them to stop texting and proceed through the green light” could limit my freedom and pleasant social interactions if ignored. Most of my social rules stem from past failures in social interactions. Rules like “It is not ok to scream random things back at a homeless man” stemmed from a two hour conversation from a friend after I may have screamed something about dinosaur blood melting kittens. To be fair, he was following us for a block or two (ok, one) and asking for money while shouting other random things. I am not certain what precisely that justifies, but it seemed relevant at the time.
Along with the social rules in my head (“It is not ok to flick someone in the nose, just to see if they were paying attention”), I also build ratios in romantic/dating relationships. I have many ratios that come into play during a relationship. I know that many of you are thinking “Wow, how can this guy be single?” but that is just one of the weird mysteries of the universe.
One of the ratios of dating is the amount of money I have spent compared to how difficult the relationship is to deal with on an everyday level (The “Dollars to Pita” ratio. This is an important ratio because it can show up at random and cause trouble. “Well, I could have flown to Peru and seen some pyramids for the amount of money I have spent in this relationship” is a type of thought that usually indicates I am not enjoying the dating relationship as much as I should.
Another ratio I use in relationships is the number of times she has bought dinner for me compared to the number of times I have bought dinner for her. This is typically a very small ratio. I believe the phrase that best describes it would be “statistically non-zero number”. By comparison, there is a “statistically non-zero number” of virgins recorded to give birth.
A third ratio is actually two important factors in one equation. That ratio is the “hot vs. crazy” ratio combined with the “crazy vs. really really crazy” ratio. Given my statistical sampling of zero “non-crazy” girlfriends, I assume that a woman has some base level of crazy beyond what is normally associated with two X chromosomes. An added layer of crazy, if you will. Here is where the ratio comes into play. If I find the woman I am dating fairly (though not overwhelmingly) attractive and her crazy is that she has a whole room dedicated to troll dolls, that is an acceptable “hot vs. crazy” ratio. If, however, she is fairly attractive and tries to start fights in restaurants, that is an unacceptable “hot vs. crazy” ratio.
At the same time, the crazy must be established. I dated one woman who got into roller derby and practiced running in high heels in case she ever needed to provide heroic assistance to someone (no, not to run away if someone came after her. I asked.) That was a “quirky yet fun” level of crazy. I dated one woman who broke into my house, blended my xbox controllers (yes, in a blender), claimed that I hit her, and punched a cop responding to the domestic violence claim. That was an “Oh, I think I need a bulletproof vest” level of crazy, which is not quite as fun.
The last ratio is the “SmAR” which stands for the “Smooches to activities ratio”. I really wish I was kidding. I also wish I was kidding that I tried to come up with an “E” word so that the ratio could be called ‘smear’. This is the ratio that shows the likelihood of receiving a kiss based on my current actions. This is a very important ratio. A result of 1 is “very likely” while a 0 is “not likely” and a negative number is “you’re in trouble”. For example, giving a piece of expensive jewelry while rescuing a kitten is probably a 1 ratio result. At the same time, insulting her grandmother’s thanksgiving preparations is probably a negative number. ( I have not done either of those things). Once that ratio is too negative, it is time to move on (or possibly enter the witness protection program, depending on the crazy vs. really really crazy ratio). I usually try to keep it a positive, albeit small number (kittens and jewelry get expensive). Through years of observation, sometimes while fleeing for cover, I have found things that always move the ratio in a positive or negative direction. For example, sending her flowers that have a “With deepest regrets” card is always a negative reaction, no matter how funny I say it is. One thing that has never, ever, ever changed the smar ratio would be watching “chick flicks”. It seems unfair to call those out in particular. No movie has ever changed the smar ratio, but the only reason I ever watch a certain type of movie is to “make a girlfriend happy”. I will write more of that subject in the future. If I were to recommend a bit of dating advice, I would say don’t take dating advice from someone who is single and who makes poorly conceived mathematical ratios to solve complex social interactions. Or, if that doesn’t work for you, I guess I could try to write down the formulas so at least my ratios are consistent.