The half life of human desire…about two years

Married Chairs

Married Chairs

Golf partners are most enjoyable when they are golfists. To make your marriage work, you have to be a marriage-ist.

This is advice I give to young, single women who are giddy about a blossoming romance. The half-life of human desire is about 2 years. This is if two people remain unchanged and exactly the way they are. It applies to just about anything that you get passionate about. When you start something new, a giant hourglass flips over. The sand is finite, and it is half empty in about two years, and a half again, furthermore in another two.

To keep a relationship going you have to evolve, break it off for a while (not cheap if you are already married), or have kids to completely distract yourself. Adding of more sand is not possible, but flipping different hourglasses that you discover between yourself and your mate is always a good rule. These are discovered often by means of meaningful conversations.

A second rule of thumb is that you can have about a hundred meaningful conversations with anyone before you have to quit. Most long-lasting couples understand this and keep conversation to a minimum or go on vacations -usually to the same place -how different is bermuda from palm beach from bali -trust me I’ve been to all of these places and if I were a primitive person, I would think that I enter a metal box with no airholes, sit cramped and bored for about 8 hours, and end up in the same crazy taxis, going to the same sandy, watery, blue skied place, eating the same food, and buying the same trinkets.

Don’t reduce your choices to someone’s basic body parts. In all the freedoms we think we have (free will being the top) we are shackled by the basic laws of neurotransmitter biochemistry. Romantic love is a neurobiological one-way spawning state – we’re all tricked into thinking it occurs naturally by our limbic system, but true love is a marathon of the higher brain centers.

You’re probably just as well off being given a mate on your appointed wedding day, someone you get to know in the Biblical sense on the wedding night in half darkness broken by the ululations of your women kinfolk holding up the bloody bedsheets to the village. And after your inaugural flying of the flag of Japan, you embark on a life of getting to know eachother, and if you’re lucky, falling in love, which only 5 percent of us really get. Be careful before you waste one of your 100 meaningful conversations over this post.

The 100th Conversation


couple001It is established, at least to my mind, that a person can only have a hundred meaningful conversations in the course of a relationship, and it is folly to run through them in the first several years of said relationship. In postponing these conversations, you maintain some semblance of mystery and self-hood. The process of having one of these results one of the participants being spiritually absorbed, to the one-hundredth part, by the hungrier party. This is usually the woman who is the devourer. It is never a bright thing to allow oneself to be spiritually phagocytized.

I was recently eating lunch with my son G at Gateway Market, our local version of Whole Foods, and I saw this couple in earnest conversation. What could he be saying that left the young lady in such a serious pose? I could imagine this:

Marty: “You know, you were the best of the lot.”

Rose: “What do you mean.”

Marty: “I figured I had these criteria when I was single and looking around. Looks, money, intelligence, personality, and cooking ability.” 

Rose: “Oh. What are you saying, I was a compromise.”

Marty: “No, you are the complete package, sweetums.”

And that would be it. Marty has no where to go but down. This picture was taken probably about ninety minutes after the start of the conversation. 

Rose: “So you mean there were prettier girls?”

Marty: “In one sense, sure, but that’s when you break down looks by face, boobs, legs, and ass. Any one woman may predominate in one category, but might be completely zero in other more important categories.”

Rose: “So you made a conscious choice? You had a spreadsheet!”

Marty: “No honey, when I saw you, I knew you were the one…”

As G and I smacked away at our food, the Titanic was sinking right before us. Here was the human condition at a yuppy café in Des Moines. 

Rose: “What kind person are you! Do I know you! How can you reduce a woman down to parts like a chicken -drumstick, thigh, breast and wing? How dare you sum me up by personability and money and the ability to make a soufflé!”

Marty: “Snookums, I was just making conversation.”

This is why the couples that last 50-75 years together sit in resplendent silence. Our life spans are far beyond what nature had intended. Nature had intended that we be run down by hyenas at the ripe old age of 20. My advice: shut up!

What honey? I’m talking to the people in the computer again. About nothing…