Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Theory of Relationship Relativity

The title of this blog refers to a short story I had published in SingleLife (a Wisconsin dating magazine) in 1991. The story was an ode to James Thurber's "War between Men and Women." So I'll continue to write on this war (war correspondent?) and the relationships between the two combatants.

So let me start with something about Math.

The Theory of Relationship Relativity
After years of devoted research, I’ve made a shocking discovery about relationships.  Love is a mathematical formula.

Sure, this flies in the face of thousands of romantics from the past.  Shakespeare would reject the theory outright.  Burns would chase me through the streets with a red rose (and a stick).  And I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Dr. Ruth put out a contract on me.  But it’s true.

I finally came to this conclusion after closely looking at the relationships of movie stars.  After all, aren’t they the modern paradigm of love?  Gossip magazines spend thousands of dollars to snap wedding pictures of Posh Spice and her soccer man.  Everyone at work gathers around the coffee pot to discuss Madonna’s latest flame.  So they are perfect laboratory love rats, no offense to any rats out there.

The formula is this:
LOVE= amount of time with a person  x  the qualities you like about the person
                           ÷ those pet peeves that drive you crazy

Let me give you an example.  Mr. Smith has loved his high school sweetheart for 10 years.  Ms. Brown served on the student council and lead the cheers at football games and looks incredible in a tight Angora sweater.  However, she snaps her chewing gum, hates to cook, cleans her house once every decade and wears perfume from K-Mart.

For the most part, the qualities and pet peeves are fairly even.  However, because of the length of time they have been dating, they will enter relationship heaven.

Example B.  Gail has dated Roger for close to a year now.  He works for the Shark, Curmudgeon and Bitter law firm as a junior partner, often gets confused for Brad Pitt and owns stock in IBM, Exxon and Ben & Jerry’s.  However, she’s recently learned that his favorite pastime is nude, Jell-O wrestling, munches on a whole onion (uncooked) at lunch and still thinks that “Porky’s” is the best movie ever produced.  This relationship will be joining the Titanic in no time at all.  Because the time factor is so short, and the nasty quirks are slightly stronger than the qualities, they don’t stand a chance.

How did this formula come about with the help of movie stars?  Well, look at the examples.  Bogart and Bacall spent a lot of time together on the sets of several movies.  A lot of close time together.  They both were beautiful, charming and provocative people.  Negative qualities were slight and undiscovered.  Their relationship was so mathematically predictable, even a French Lit major could solve the equation.

This formula gets repeated over and over with modern stars with incredible frequency.  Almost every week you can read in one of the paragons of journalistic reportage, like The Enquirer, about two hot stars falling into a relationship after spending many arduous months together on a film.  The time factor is so strong they can’t resist each other.

Of course, these relationships also never work out.  And it’s mathematical.  After a year of marriage/shacking up, the negative qualities start to appear and grow.  Soon they quickly outweigh time and positive qualities.  A break-up follows to the delight of readers everywhere.  This wouldn’t happen with Mr. Smith and Ms. Brown because the time factor has become so large the pet peeves could never overcome it.  There could almost be an argument made that to save the relationship, for the first few years you should try to avoid learning anything bad about your mate.  Build up that quality time so that the math works out.

As with all math formulas there will be countless tests to validate it.  So go ahead and test it to your heart’s (and relationship’s) content.  Plug in your parents.  Try out your sister and that stupid Marine she met at Mardi Gras.  And dare you?  Sure, be brave.  Plug your own relationship into the formula.  

The numbers don’t lie.

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