Hand Luggage Only, Sir, Or Emotional Baggage As Well?

couple in bedSummer has arrived – it’s official.  The weather is finally decent enough that I can pull my dusty sandals from the back of the wardrobe (aka the other side of Narnia) and dance around London replicating Maria from Sound of Music. Well, not literally; I’d get arrested for not having a street performance licence. But sun = sandals = thoughts of freedom and summer adventures.  And the return of summer staples has inspired me to write about that most essential of accessories – sunglasses.


Just looking at them evokes memories of trips, experiences, emotions. Originally designed for avoiding the bright mediterranean sun, they are fantastic on the Tube. This may be a mockable notion, but a large pair will enable you to hide your hungover eyes from judgemental commuters. Or minimise the glare of a hideously loud and unfashionably clashing outfit. Or cover your face when you realise you are stood opposite your ex from when you were 16.


As most men aged 21+ will have had some sort of romantic experience, and recalling the impact he had on me at such a tender age, I find myself pondering relationships and luggage allowances. How many kilos of emotional baggage can/should we take into a new liaison?


According to women’s weeklies, who undertake surveys on such topics, exes rarely manage to remain friends.  Scientific credibility of such research aside, I find myself agreeing with their conclusions following years of observations, analyses and discussions.  Straight male mates are a goldmine for understanding the generic British male psyche.


Men invariably refer to their exes as bitches because we break their hearts. Rarely intentionally, but we do. Primarily it is the woman driving a new involvement to becoming a relationship. Guys don’t get emotionally involved as quickly as women.  A lot of their attraction to us is physical and they don’t necessarily get tied up by sex.  Women release a hormone when they have sex and so they feel closer when physically intimate (supposedly – having had good sex without an emotional connection I’m not sure how much I buy into this, or how much it’s a case of attitude and context, but I do concur that the best sex I’ve had has been when there is an emotional connection). Hence why making him wait for sex is the key to making him fall for you – by the time you do bump uglies, he’ll be a bit into you for the person you are, and so when he comes it is you he sees, not just an interchangeable female.The point is, it takes men a while to fall – but once they do, they’re yours.


But that doesn’t always mean a relationship is equal. Love isn’t always enough to sustain romance.


Women invest so much in them, but if it’s not an equitable investment, then we feel frustrated and like he doesn’t care. Inevitably we leave, as we are now taught better is out there and we can have it all (achieving and maintaining it being 2 separate matters).  Whether infidelity is involved or not, we walk away. We deal with it and force ourselves to move on.


Men, by contrast, don’t. They mope, drink, blame the “evil bitch” for ruining their life and drag their baggage around for months. How often do they discuss it with their mates? They then use it as a shield to prevent them getting involved again, or let someone else in but never let her forget how hard he finds it to trust her. One woman’s trash is another woman’s psychotherapy client. When the truth is, they are mad at themselves for letting “the one” get away. Not to mention their own culpability in destroying the relationship and not taking action to remedy the situation when it started going south. If you’re in a relationship, truly connected, you can tell when the other person is unhappy (even without female intuition).


Sweeping generalisations aside, what is the likelihood that I’ll find a decent guy without years of relationship damage? Whilst I can draw a line under my romantic past (6 months of absolute celibacy and introspection helped me to do this) I’m wondering if guys can too.