July 5, 2015

Relationships & Bicycles: It’s all About the Ride.


There is little that screams “Aha!” like an apt metaphor. Very little.

Being able to take a situation and couch it into the archetypal truth of a single word unleashes Mozart sonatas into the halls of my brain. Like the time I was beyond convinced that I was Penelope and my long lost love was Odysseus busy finding himself before we could join forces.

That—or he just wasn’t that into me.

Myths aside, this story entertains the idea that a promising relationship resembles that of a reliable bicycle. A functioning and stable instrument that doesn’t go too fast or too slow and whose movement represents the continuous ability of both partners to progress while on the same ride.

This revelation, like most, came sprinting out of a spirited conversation with a good friend.

The patterns, absurdity and sheer humour of our romantic lives, to be exact.

We both happen to want it all and a side of chocolate fudge cake. One of us looking for a Harry to her Sally, the other eagerly seeking a hardwired Sagittarius.

Truth be told, we’re both bad bitches but we have a freakin’ problem: we keep hopping on the wrong bikes. 

First things first: How to pick a frame:

Girlfriend met a new guy. As we’re dissecting his horsepower, we conclude that she rather likes the lad. Shockingly he’s not her type, or at least not the type she’s usually gone for.

He’s an older model and his tires seem a little roughed up. Two years ago his look would have been a red flag. Now, it’s intriguing.

And no, not because the options are limited but because at some point you realize that what you’ve been chasing after for so long is nothing more than a resume and is not a human being. (Not that you want to be chasing a human being either.)

So who is this Mr. Take Me Home that we’re all swooning over?

It seems the applicant for our heart’s desire simply must have a certain predetermined number of qualities—that, or we’re swiping left. Or is it right?

Either way, holy guacamole!

Who created this foolproof algorithm? Was it Mommy and Daddy? Our besties? Or maybe, just maybe, it was never really meant to work. Maybe eliminating candidates is easier and safer than exposing ourselves to an honest, vulnerable and messy relationship.

Lance, the bikeman, Armstrong himself, once said: “If you’re worried about falling off the bike, you’ll never get on.” 

The first necessary ingredient to identifying our soul rider is knowing what kind of rider we are. It typically takes a few souped up, shiny prototypes to realize that somewhere on the inside we prefer lankier, freckled, Bruce Willis look-alikes.

I totally made that up.

Point being, eventually and hopefully, the resumes get tossed and the human hiding behind the paper is actually seen. We all know what it is we should want.

That somehow changes the minute we allow ourselves to enjoy the ride with whoever it is who is there to pedal next to us.

Granted, becoming comfortable with what we truly want means also embracing our own special features: the good, the bad, the squeaky.

Learning to stop apologizing for our quirks takes time. Ask yourself, what is the one thing about you that your partner just needs to be okay with and ideally also appreciate?

You a little high strung, maybe? Is alone time vital to your sanity? These things should be acknowledged.

Trying to mold, change, and edit into someone else so that a relationship works is the biggest waste of time in the history of everything.

But back to our bike—some people help us with navigation by showing us what destinations we are comfortable with and which one’s we’re not.

Others are like mini Lamborghinis that race us to heaven and back only to drop, pop and burn.

And we’ve all had the ones that work per se, but like training wheels, have an expiration date. There’s nothing damning about practicing our pedal cadence, as long as each experience illuminates what kind of rider we are and what kind of co-rider we truly need.

Which takes us to our next point: co-piloting.

If one of you likes putting the pedal to the metal, you better hope the other is good at the brakes. Or else, your precious little bike is likely to go flying into the neighbor’s yard and you might have a bunch of metaphorically broken bones.

Now pay attention cause this next part is where it gets bumpy: meeting someone who is brake crazy is even worse than speed crazy! Yes, ’cause let’s face it, if you’re a speed junkie you’re going to despise someone who gets motion sickness or is a hypochondriac.

They key is having just enough of what you need in order to leave room for some healthy compromise.

Sure, opposites attract and all that good stuff, but if the basics are lacking, so goes the possibility of a future.

How often do we feel guilty about our natural impulses and try to mask them by forcing ourselves into relationships just to be in one?

If you’re spiritual or highly emotional, you probably need to be with someone who is able and willing to speak that language. If not, you’ll probably end up feeling like you’re always overreacting and your partner will surely grow resentful about never being able to please you.

That doesn’t sound like a smooth ride now does it?

Takeaway: work with who you are and not with who you wish you were.

As far as mastering the ride, sometimes it takes practicing with the same person over and over and over again.

If you both keep hopping on for another go-round it might be a sign that you’re not done stumbling together just yet. The point isn’t racing to the finish line, the point is all the unbelievable moments you create on the ride.






Author: Katerina Pappas

Apprentice Editor: Jessica Chardoulias, Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Denkram/Flickr

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