I was on one of my exercise hikes the other day. Usually, on these hikes is when I do my best introspective thought. Maybe it’s the relaxation benefits of exercise, the stress relief of physical activity, or the blatant fear of my bran flakes cereal working its magic when I am stuck on a hiking trail nowhere near a bathroom, but for whatever reason walking gets my mental gears turning.
Whilst on this walk, I began to review the mental game film of relationships with the handful of women I’ve had over the past year and half or so. Disclaimer time, kids. No, I will not name names. No, I will not give any salacious details. No, I will not lay out the details of why or how these relationships ended. That is not the theme of this blogisode. Back to regularly scheduled programming.
As I briskly strolled through the river valley trail that cool spring evening, I went over the starting lineup of each relationship. Each relationship varied in its emotional breadth and scope. Some were romantic and some platonic. Varying women, each unique in their own way. At one time each brought something different to the relationship table. At one time, all were part of my life but as relationships tend to do; all ran their course. Some I still talk to from time to time, some I have no contact with. Some you wonder what could have been had things worked out. Some you knew were destined to be short term. Some you still can’t figure out what the hell happened. Some like a Springsteen lyric you think “… I miss you baby. Good luck. Goodbye…”
I continued to stroll, the cool spring air smelling of wet leaves, and dog feces, (I’ve never been good with descriptive visual imagery, I’m way too practical, sorry.), I followed this train of thought to its next step. For some people with large social circles, relationships come and go, its natural, it’s easy for them. For someone like me, who keeps a small, thoughtfully chosen, social circle, having this handful of relationships with women end in such a small timeframe has taken a toll on me emotionally.
To clarify, I’m not bitter, I’m not angry, I’m not worn out, I’m not swearing off relationships. I’m not going to grow a beard, move to South Dakota and start a polygamist cult based on a hybrid philosophy I create based on the teachings of Magnum P.I. re-runs and the love songs of Tom Jones. I’m just at a point where I’m a little bruised from the way relationships end.
Then it hit me. Why should I take the bumps and bruises when a relationship gets rocky? Why can’t someone else do it for me? When John McClane jumped off the exploding roof in Die Hard it wasn’t really Bruce Willis. When Indiana Jones jumped from a galloping horse to the top of a moving tank in The Last Crusade, it wasn’t really Harrison Ford. They used stuntmen. That’s what I need. Someone to take the bumps and bruises for me. I need a stuntman.
I need a Relationship Stuntman.
My Relationship Stuntman would look strikingly similar to me, but not be quite as handsome, obviously, that’s just a given, I shouldn’t even have to make this point. Probably in a little better shape than me and a few pounds lighter. He would probably go by the name of “Tex.” That wouldn’t be his real name, but it seems to me most stuntmen have cool nicknames and “Tex” just sounds like a really badass stuntman nickname.
Tex could go in for me in relationship situations where there is a good possibility of danger, be it emotional or physical to my person. Here are some examples where I would use Tex:
-During a breakup. One thing about Mitch is that I really have a hard time dealing with other people’s feelings and their emotional reactions. It makes me uncomfortable as hell and quite frankly I downright loathe the buildup to getting into these situations. Tex could be my stand-in for the dreaded “We need to talk” talk. I could give him some flash cards of what I want to say and points to get across and in turn he would take notes and report back to me how it went. Meanwhile, I’ll be in a safe undisclosed location.
-Awkward post break up chit chat. There’s always that time within a month or so after a break up when you run into the other person at a mall or coffee shop or somewhere or you still have to do the “here’s your crap back you left at my place” swap. The agonizing, “so… how you doing?” chit chat. That awkwardness is the absolute worst. Tex could step in for me and go through the painful motions of feigning interest in this banal conversation while balancing the fine line of not looking too interested in the conversation to inadvertently give the person that hint you’re still into them. Meanwhile, I’ll be in a safe undisclosed location.
-The one that got away. We all got one. That one person who, you never will quite get over. That one person who you will always have feelings for, no matter how hard you try not to. For whatever reason, the universe likes to make this person pop up from time to time. Like a reminder punch to the emotional gonads of that tick in the loss column of your lifetime love sports statistics. I would just call Tex in and he could do the run in with the one that got away, have the comfortable friendly mildly flirty chit chat like no time has passed since the last run in. Thereby, saving me from the predictable 3-5 days of emotional hangover of “Man this sucks, the one that got away. Damn it. This still hurts.” Meanwhile, I’ll be in a safe undisclosed location.
Honestly I could go on forever with a list of practical uses for “Tex”, my Relationship Stuntman but I’ll wrap it up here.
No need to thank me. Meanwhile, I’ll be in a safe undisclosed location.