What Happened To The Tango?

There are places where it’s illegal for teenagers to have sex because the authorities are worried it might lead kids to the tango.  The tango is Adults Only, any way you slice it.  It takes sophistication and patience to understand the sensual rhythm of two people moving with each other when they’re barely touching.  Exotic?  Erotic?  All of the above?  Unfortunately, in our time, we don’t tango all that much.  We let the professionals do it and watch, as if it were pornography.  Why?  I blame the “relationship.”  This nasty euphemism has not only ruined the tango for ordinary people; it’s responsible for most of what’s wrong with love in the 21st century.  Here’s the deal:

1 – What the hell does “relationship” even mean?  Unlike love, there’s nothing special about a relationship.  We all have relationships with any number of people, from our colleagues to the kid who delivers the pizza.  Push comes to shove, I have a relationship with my houseplants: they’re beautiful, and I water them.  If I don’t, they’ll crisp up and croak; then we both lose.  Personally, I think using the same word to describe what’s going on with the love of your life and your $19.00 bougainvillea is just a bit dismissive.

2 – People are always talking about taking their “relationship” to another level.  Look, (nudge/nudge, wink/wink) we all know this means sex.  Folks, love is not a video game with orgasms.  You don’t collect points for getting the dinner reservations right or remembering an anniversary, then cash them in some rainy night when you’re feeling lonely.  That’s not how it works.  Trying to figure out sex is difficult enough.  Turning it into a Reward Challenge is just sick!

3 – “Relationship” words all suck.  I want to “be with him.”  I have “feelings for her.”  Who are these people talking about — their grandmas?  You can’t sterilize passion.  Once you do, it isn’t passion anymore.

4 – People are always working at their “relationships” as if they were some kind of emotional salt mine.  Honestly, if it’s that difficult, why bother? After all, love is supposed to be fun.

5 – And finally, being “in a relationship” sounds like you’re bunking in for the weekend (or maybe slightly longer.)  The extraordinary connotation of the “relationship” is it’s temporary.  It has a definite beginning, a middle and an end.  I’ll grant you, few of us mate for life anymore, but I, for one, think love is valuable enough to at least give it a try.

People fall in love.  We can’t help it.  It’s marvelous and messy, but we shouldn’t try to institutionalize the romance out of it.  When we do, we lose beautiful things like the tango.  We don’t tango anymore because we’re too busy working on our “relationships.”   We haven’t got time to see the person right in front of us and realize they’re hearing the music, too.

“Relationships” Are Dangerous

love

One of the reasons I hate “relationships” is people are beginning to think they’re the natural order of things.  They’re not.  Antony was not in a “relationship” with Cleopatra; he was in love with her.  D’uh!  Unfortunately, in the 21st century, a lot of people think love is some kind of an emotional unicorn. (Everybody knows what it looks like, but nobody’s actually seen it.)  So, rather than taking a chance on a nasty kick in the heart, we’ve replaced the whole messy business of love with the “relationship” — a muddy little word that can mean just about anything.  This guarantees that nobody has too big an emotional stake in a very emotional game.  The problem is, however, once you’ve signed a pre-nuptial agreement on your feelings, most “relationships” last a lot longer than your emotional commitment to them — with disastrous results.  Here are a few ways an overdue “relationship” can suck the life out of you.

I’m A Coward — This is when two people stay together because — well — because.  Nobody wants to end up sitting alone on a park bench, feeding the pigeons.  However, staying together just to avoid that is something science calls inertia, and once that sets in, you’re already halfway to that bench.

Revenge — This is simple: “You’re not the person you told me you were, and I’ve wasted a lot of time on you. So now I’m going to make you just as miserable as I am.”

Emotional Paintball — This is the relationship that’s nothing more than a low-level firefight.  These people spend their days sniping at each other and setting up elaborate emotional ambushes.  They do it for the drama ’cause there’s nothing else there.

What About The Stuff? — These are the people who stay together because of the house, the cars and all the other crap they’ve accumulated.

What Will The Neighbours Think? — This is the couple who are always looking over their shoulders ’cause they believe everyone is so-o-o interested in them.  They don’t actually like each other anymore, but their collective egos won’t let them split up.

The Children — Worst reason ever!  Passing your dysfunctional lives on to the next generation is just child abuse.

Sex — Here’s the deal.  Eventually, gravity and Mother Nature are going to come calling, and you’re not going to look all that good naked, anymore. ( Just sayin’!)

And that, folks, is why you’re better off believing in love.

4 NEVERs In Any “Relationship”

neverIt’s an unfortunate symptom of the 21st century, but people have “relationships.” God, I hate that word!  Personally, I think being too chicken for la petite folie de l’amour  is one of the biggest problems in our world,  but who am I to judge?  So, in keeping with these troubled times, here are 4 things you should never — NEVER — do when you are in a “relationship.”  (FYI, this goes double if you actually have the good sense to be in love!)

1 — When you’re on vacation with your girlfriend, NEVER kneel down to tie your shoes.  Seriously, you’re better off tripping on the laces and breaking your neck.  Think about it — weekend getaway, dinner for two, bottle of wine, starry night (maybe a moon) — you’re walking back to the hotel and you say, “Just a minute, honey,” and get down on one knee.  Partner, you better have at least two carats hiding in your sock (and not orange ones, either) or you just pulled the biggest dick-move in history and she will brand you with it for life.  And, BTW, if you do this in Paris, stand up, turn around, walk briskly to the Seine and throw yourself in.

2 — NEVER answer the question, “Do these jeans make me look fat?  You’re in a lose/lose situation, friend.  She’s already doing the over the shoulder ass-check in the mirror (not the best angle) and has decided they do — or she wouldn’t ask.  So, you can say no and she’ll hear you lying to her (whether you are or not) and somehow conclude she can never believe you again.  Or you can say yes and she will hear that you’ve just declared, before God and everybody, that you think she’s a two-legged Hungry-Hungry-Hippo.  The choice is yours, but I’d poke my eyes out with a pencil before I’d get trapped into that one.

3 — NEVER, under any circumstances (even if they hold a gun to your head) admit you think another living, breathing human being is hot.  This includes your brother-in-law, your attorney, the garbage man, Zac Efron, Batman, Mr. Johal (your son’s math teacher) Freddie from 6th grade and Susan Horstnagel (the blonde chick from Accounting.)  No good will come of this.  This kind of information will turn even the most caring/sharing metro-sexual male into Cro-Magnon man. It will ignite a low-level testosterone conflict (“pissin’ contest” is so crude) between your guy and every man you’ve ever met.  Plus, poor Ms. Horstnagel will take centre stage on some deep-dish fantasies that used to be reserved for the pages of Penthouse Letters.

4 — NEVER get the name wrong during sex.  NEVER!