I know there are people – strange, very happy-go-lucky people with shiny crescents on their eyes like comic book characters – who are blissfully happy serial daters. My friend Mark is one of them.

He carries fresh laundry to his girlfriend’s swim practice, text messaging pet names like ‘pookie’ and ‘cupcake’ into his text messages and buys tampons at the grocery store so nonchalantly one would assume he himself is having a hormonal weekend.

His status is perpetually set to ‘In a Relationship,’ but the ever-evolving question is with whom, as it seems he is always dating a new Rachel (oh no, not that other Rachel), or Lauren (oh no not that other Lauren). He seems content, as any eternal honeymooner would be, to be constantly reinventing his ‘taken’ status.

As a contrasting peak-and-pitfall single lady, and as one of Mark’s closest confidantes, I’ve never explicitly asked him whether he is aware of this pattern. He seems delightfully smitten with each Rachel and Lauren, and his conviction that ‘no, really, this time it’s love’ is so charmingly convincing that I find myself soft-hearted, too.

Despite the clear benefits of Mark’s rearrangements, I’m more the long-term type, the stick-around-for-the-long-haul-or-not-at-all type who prefers seven months, etc. to the temporary-tattoo Facebook inscription. I have always believed the purpose of the three-month relationship is to supply you both with hilarious ‘Remember when..?’ conversations once you finally make it out of the awkward seventh grade faux dating phase.

Try as I did to resist the seductive siren call of half-assed girlfriend-dom, I wasn’t prepared to defend myself against Carl – the tattooed, margarita-slurping Food Network aficionado that I stole out from under the nose of my initially interested friend Annette.
Feeling disenchanted and concerned for the well-being of my brand new, now lager-doused ballet flats, I strode up to the bar in search of napkins and landed myself an incredibly sweet guy.

He didn’t even do anything suave, but hand me a stack of brown paper and helped me sponge off my wet toes. The next thing you know, things are getting hot and heavy on Annette’s chaise lounge while ‘The Cake Boss’ played, unnoticed, in the background.
We didn’t even have sex. That’s how you know I was committed.

He did hilarious impressions of 16-year-old drunk girls, sent me intermittent ‘Hey, what’s up?’ texts with no purpose other than to check in, and I rubbed the inside of his arm as we sat under the comforter watching that overlooked episode.

It felt like an amazing relationship, and I felt like Mark. I knew it could only last the week.
I, alas, had a Mexican flight to catch, so we Eskimo kissed goodbye and I danced off to Cozumel, wishing I had international text message capabilities so I could text him about the swan towel creations or the tastebud-approved breakfast pastries. I wanted to text him and say, ‘Hey, what’s up?’

Of course, I didn’t. I know the sound of a turning page when I hear it, but I couldn’t help but think how strange it was to find myself in a week-long romance, swaying from side to side with sappy, sandy adoration.

In all honesty, it isn’t much of a love story. I had beer on my shoes and reality baking on the TV. It lasted a week. Another week together certainly could have pushed us out of the honeymoon phase into the echoing chambers of divorce court.

As skeptically as I originally viewed Mark’s ravenous girlfriend consumption, I realized fairly quickly that his expiration dating, perhaps his initially unflattering penchant for acquiring new Rachels, was remarkably similar to my improv girlfriend role.

Carl and I knew the romance was, at best, half-baked. As sincerely as we wished it could have continued, we enjoyed the setup while it lasted and entwined our fingers as we lazily watched pastry competition reruns.

Titus is a member of
the class of 2011



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