A “For Now” Relationship
Updated: Jul 1, 2020
Man, I could use a relationship right now.
Nothing too serious, just something for now. A “for now” relationship.
She wouldn’t have to be perfect, or necessarily even my type, but it would tide me over for a bit. I’m not talking a total mismatch – just someone who I get on with, with vaguely similar interests, who has female genitalia. The basic package — like a Sky subscription without the movies and sports channels. It’ll basically be Freeview, but with Sky One so I can watch The Simpsons and Ross Kemp On Gangs.
Because there are loads of good things about being in a relationship, aren’t there? There’s companionship and kissing and sleeping together. And I don’t mean sleeping together as in sex; I just mean having someone to lie next to in bed, someone to spoon, someone to calm you down when you’ve just woken up screaming from your recurring nightmare where you’re at Greggs and the person serving you asks you if you’re eating-in or taking-away and you accidentally say eating-in but you really mean taking-away and you’ve just been charged extra for VAT for eating-in and you’re proper panicking and OMG it’s too scary to even write about. “It’s okay, babe,” they’ll say, “you’re awake now; they can’t get you.” And then when you’ve calmed down a bit you can start some good, old-fashioned FUCKING.
Hehe, I did mean sex all along.
The main problem, though, is finding someone to be in a relationship with. This might just be me – it’s also definitely you as well you little doofus – but I expect a lot from another person. At first, it’s fine. Any interest from absolutely anyone is met with so much glee that on the first date I break into an acapella version of Don’t Stop Believing with a bunch of my high-school friends who are inexplicably on the date too. I’m so happy that I’m being dated that I don’t even care how dated my references are. But then something happens. Probably like three or four dates in. I start to not care as much for this small-town girl and her lonely world and her weird habit of taking midnight trains with no specific destination.
I get scared. I start thinking about the future. I worry about her imperfections, because if things go well, there’s potentially 50 years I’ve gotta spend with this person. What if that mole starts to annoy me? Or the way she talks? Or her laugh? And going back to the first thing – what kind of person has a pet mole anyway? Why did she bring it on the date? I don’t wanna make a mountain of this mole thing but it’s creeping me out. I’ll be watching the windmill going round (mini golf, classic third date) and internally be falling to pieces. And I tell you what, my putting suffers from all the agitation – I’ll be starting to hit below-par just as I realise that’s what she is.
And it’s not just her imperfections, it’s mine as well. Will she be able to put up with me long-term? It seems cool to her right now – but what about my stand up? Will she stand by me during the ups and downs, through thick and thin? If we have kids, is she gonna be okay with me being away most nights, working out material for my genre-redefining multimillion-pound Netflix specials instead of being at home changing nappies? Or how is she gonna feel when I’m middle-aged and my popularity dwindles? When a new wave of comedians come along and I’m getting criticized for not developing my voice to appeal to a modern audience? And what about the resurgence? When after a ten-year hiatus I come back in my 60s with a new special that’s such a poignant examination of the human condition that it’s almost like I was waiting for my twilight years to finally release my true voice onto the world; approaching topics with the kind of soft, empathetic perspective that only age can bring, uniting new and old fans of mine alike, turning me into a national treasure? And then finally, what about the allegations that will bring me into public disrepute for good, destroying my career once and for all?
It’s gonna be too much of a roller-coaster for her.
The reason I get worked up about all this stuff is because I’m thinking about forever, rather than just for now. This mole-girl is probably fine. But all these expectations have been heaped onto a potential relationship like the way VAT is heaped onto the price of a sit-in Greggs meal. It’s not fair.
What if we both went into it just thinking about for now? Like explicitly, I mean – both actively being aware that we’re waiting for something better to come along. It would really take the pressure off. With that philosophy, you could just have fun.
You wouldn’t worry about their annoying habits, because it’s just for now. You wouldn’t mind that your career ambitions might come between you, because right now it’s fine. You wouldn’t care if their parents were proper mental and hated you. Better partners with better parents will come along in the future.
You wouldn’t feel trapped by the relationship, because you’re not. It’s not the person you’re spending the rest of your life with, it’s just the person you’re spending now with.
Maybe that better person isn’t available right now – it doesn’t mean you should go without. Like, imagine you’re at a restaurant – say, Greggs, for example – and you really fancy a steak bake. By some incredibly cruel twist of fate, they’re all out. Does that mean you should starve? No. Get a chicken bake. Get a cheese bake. Compromise. Choosing a relationship should be like choosing a baked good – look on the shelf for what’s left and stick it in your gob. It might not be hot, and it could well be disgusting on the inside, but trust me it will get the job done.
It’s more than just a romantic relationship I want that suits me right now. I want my relationship with everything to be like that. My relationship with my work, with my comedy, with my goals. Even my relationship with myself. Instead of worrying about the person I was or the person I’m going to be, I’ll be just locked into the moment. I want to be in harmony with how I feel right now, all my commitments constantly up for re-negotiation, all easily let go of when something better comes along.
I’m not gonna go mad with this for now thing. I realise that you have to plan for the future a bit, but it just seems silly to be lost in that way, letting go of every moment. Planning too much seems especially stupid when you think about how you can’t know the person you’ll be anyway. I’m 23 now. Imagine what a shit-show it would be if my 13-year-old self was making all my decisions. I’d be spending 8 hours a day watching porn. That’s 2 more hours I’d have to find every day. In the same way, I shouldn’t be in charge of my 33-year-old self. I don’t know what that guy wants. I just know about now.
If you’re not someone who has your future figured out, you’re seen as being irresponsible. Everyone tells you you need a 5-year plan and a good pension and a deposit for house and all that shit. So everyone’s working towards something, living in a world that’s not here yet.
I don’t think it’s irresponsible to sack that off and live in the present. I think it’s a sign of someone who’s really got life by the balls, someone who knows there’s nothing more important than now.
Right now, I’m just enjoying typing this thing up. I’m at Cannon Hill Park in Birmingham, it’s Bank Holiday Weekend and it’s sunny as fuck. There’s loads of grass in front of me and I’m sat at a table outside the café where a few other people sit outside writing as well. It feels cool. There’s a girl on another table across from me. She’s well pretty and after every paragraph I finish I keep taking a cheeky glance at her. I can’t resist.
She looks dead nice. Pretty face and round glasses that look really cool on her. She’s also working on her laptop. She has a word document open. I can’t see what she’s writing, but I wonder if she has a blog too. Maybe she’s writing about love and life as well. Maybe this was meant to be.
I think when I’m finished I’m gonna ask her out. I’m just gonna walk over there, say, “hey, I’m Eric,” and play it from there.
Why not? Sounds mental, and my heart is beating faster just thinking about it, but I just feel like I should. Something in the now is calling out to me. And who knows, if it goes well, we could go out. And have more nows with each other. And all the nows might add up to a lifetime. We might realise we’re right for each other. Our for-nows turning into for-evers; marriage and love and good old-fashioned FUCKING and everything I’ve ever wanted. It’s all there for the taking, all in my future with this girl and her round-glasses. It will be bliss, for the most part. Maybe a few arguments over money and chores and who’s looking after the kids, but I guess that’s to be expected. That and the aging of our bodies. And maybe at one point she’ll start focusing more on her work and I’ll wonder about other women. I suppose our fights will then get more and more personal, using our intimacy against each other, and it’ll begin to affect little Ross and Gregg, but we’ll wind up trying to keep it together for them, slowly becoming more bored and resentful, trapped in a kind of marital prison, living the same day over and over and over again, oh God it’s awful, how have I let this happen, she’s gonna ruin me and I’m gonna ruin her and—
“What are you writing?” I look up, it’s the girl with the round-glasses.
“Oh, nothing yet,” I say, closing the laptop for now.
Anyway, that’s about it.
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