It was around this time last summer…
“So how’s Tequila?”
“Um, she’s good, but we’re… not.”
My sister continued to fix up around the kitchen and mind her black ass business. But she, like our mother, was easy to read and right now she was judging the hell out of me. I tried to make a case for myself, but the verdict was rendered. I had gone from being in back to back long term relationships to now, well she couldn’t even keep up with them. Here today, gone tomorrow. I got similar grief from friends, because that’s what happens when you’re single for a minute, it can’t be all of their fault, it has to be the common denominator. Maybe you’re not picking up on the red flags, or maybe you are looking too hard for them.
In relationships, we often don’t know when to hold them or when to fold them but refuse to acknowledge maybe we just aren’t good at this game. No one thinks they’re as bad at dating as they are, just as they don’t think they are bad drivers or average cooks at best. Men aren’t trying to hear their steak is trash. Never mind it keeps coming out wrong and you were the only one manning the grill.
At first, it was rare steak. Cold and mushy sorely disappointing. No one likes rare steak, it’s gross and anyone who does eat it is like 2 steps from cannibalism (fight me). You didn’t purposely make rare steak, you went on one date… But they wore red; this feels too romantic. Then they put their phone face down which clearly means they have something to hide,and had the temerity to ask what you did, so now they are after your paper… You got to run. You just put the steak on the grill but the fire is too hot, you snatch it off… And it’s raw as hell. It don’t even look close to done. What was you tripping about? You should’ve let it cook a little longer, but you panicked and ruined what could’ve been a fine steak.
You learned your lesson, don’t bail too soon, and you get a new steak. Like most people who don’t know how to cook, this time you cook on the highest setting because hotter means faster, duh. After a few dates, the beginning of this relationship is very intense, very affectionate, a lot unearned feelings are professed. It’s been a 8 weeks but “you’re in love”. You’re just sure about this. On the outside, your steak looks cooked to perfection. In reality, it’s only been 4 minutes. You take your steak and slice into it and the inside is still very much rare. This is just as bad at super sketchy gold digger rare steak girl. Once again, a good steak ruined.
You take a minute to reflect… What is going on? You know you know how to cook steak, you’ve had great steak before. Medium well just the way like you like it. At least it was…but you thought it could use a wee bit more browning so you threw it back on the grill. Then it got well done, technically ruined but edible. Others around you say, hey maybe that steak is done but what do they know, you just keep it on. You didn’t mean for it to be well done but to save your ego you claim it was done purposely. So then the steak is burnt and unsalvageable. It’s the relationship you held on to for too long even when you knew it was probably done. You thought maybe you just needed a break, or you gave an ultimatum or you even took a major step forward and just hoped they would too. You think things could go back to the way they was when it was good but much like that steak it doesn’t work in reverse. The longer you hold on the worst it gets until someone finally does something unforgivable when in reality it should’ve been over long before you got there. With that in the back of your mind, you’re a lot more cautious than you would be otherwise. So worried about burning you barely let it cook at all… Like that’s any better.
I think about my situation presently and how an early hiccup probably would’ve sent me running for the door but in fear of once again eating rare steak, I decided to let it cook a little longer. Time will tell if I actually got it right this time, all I can do is cook the way I know how and hope for the best.