Last fall, I had drinks with Kevin, a sensuous though somewhat slippery restaurateur I briefly dated years back in New York. We talked about our latest love interests and while I went on ecstatically about my man’s creativity, his devilish wit, the sexy way his lip curled when he smiled, Kevin was a bit ho hum about his new lady friend.
“She’s pretty,” he said. “We have similar backgrounds, our working lives are compatible.” With a casual shrug of his shoulders, he concluded, “she fits.”
Kevin said nothing about love, intimacy or how his loins stirred when his gal walked into the room. He only said she fits.
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Before Ms. Fits, Kevin dated an iron-willed wild child who he fought and made up with in deliciously seductive turns. Kevin’s mild-mannered persona often balked at the sparks of behavior thrown off by this lovely ball of fire. And unlike Ms. Fits’ quieter life as a caterer, Wild Child’s skyrocketing success as a playwright gave Kevin’s competitive streak a run for its money. The boy was hooked. I never quite understood what had happened to make him quit the longest, most invigorating relationship he seemed ever to have had. All he told me was how it “stopped working,” and how, at present, this new gal “fit.”
So, of course, I obsessed for the next few hours about “fitting.” Would I “fit” into my new love’s world? What piece of my life – job, upbringing, socio-economic status – would I have trouble “fitting” into the grand puzzle of his?
It’s as if our romantic lives are now run using corporate strategy, like they’re deals being brokered in some company’s Mergers and Acquisitions department. According to Wikipedia (yeah, I had to look it up), Mergers and Acquisitions is all about the “buying, selling and combining of different companies that can aid, finance, or help a growing company in a given industry grow rapidly without having to create another business entity.”
Perhaps it’s absurd of me to be using business or math analogies since I still count on my fingers and can barely tell time, but the point is clear: you’re either an acquirer or a merger. Either you’re looking for someone who can install themselves into your world without much adjustment on your part, or someone who can push out the edges of your world and make it big enough to fit two gigantic lives into one.
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Kevin’s an acquirer. He and his gal have checklists of needs that apparently can be met by both parties. In Ms. Fits, he has acquired a life partner. Which I guess makes me a merger. I’ve got my own life story but am jazzed by the possibility of being woven into another person’s story so a whole new tale can unfold. Acquirers don’t want the hassle of creating a new entity. But mergers want to discover the new galaxy that will take shape after the big bang blast of two souls colliding. They have the urge to, uh, merge.
Surely, if you want to build something with another person, the puzzle pieces of your lives need to fit in some way. But in the long run, do you stay together because the new entity is made up of the right parts, or because you’re so mad about each other, you make it work?