I'm pretty much obsessed with the Olympics. I love everything about it—the stories of perseverance, the hope of becoming a national champion and some kid's hero, the grace of some events and the intensity of others, the camaraderie, the rivalries. I even love the fashion. The other night, though, as I was listening to a segment about the history of the games and how events had evolved and new games had replaced old ones, I thought it might be time for another round of modernization. My mind started spinning with potential additions: snow biking, rollerdancing (@melissablake added shopping—pure genius!). And it dawned on me that if we treated relationships like an Olympic sport, we’d all be a lot better at it.
Think about it. We wouldn’t settle for anything less than a GOLD medal in our relationship. If we lost, we would use the loss as inspiration to go out and play harder, not as an excuse to take a break. We'd be encouraged by our fans (i.e our friends and family). We'd all have dating coaches. And we would work tirelessly to get the gold… never giving up, never accepting "good enough."
Just consider the hypothetical winning model:
Flirting would be the warmup. You'd do it every day. You'd flirt with your local barista, your office mail clerk, the bartender, etc. You'd make flirting a healthy habit so that when its game on, you'd land every wink, every smile, every laugh, every soft touch on the arm, every charming story and so on effortlessly like a triple axle that has been practiced a million times.
Dating would be the day-to-day training. Dating is where you fine-tune your skills. Where you learn about all of your physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual wants and needs as an individual and as a member of a couple. Dating is where you get to screw it all up. It’s where you get to go BIG! It’s where you get to try anything you can dream of from dating an older guy to a younger guy to having a kinky threesome and everything in between… just like Olympic athletes try every jump, twirl and play to figure out what moves, speeds, routines and such work best for them. Dating is the trial run.
An exclusive relationship would be the qualifying event. Athletes go into lockdown before qualifiers and really concentrate on being their best. The qualifier takes extreme dedication, just like a relationship. This is where all that training is put to the test. Would you have what it takes? Would the chosen one qualify for the real game (i.e. marriage)? On your list of must-have characteristics, how would he score, even when the pressure is on? You could rank him from 1-10 with you as the Olympic judge—would he qualify to move on?
Winning the GOLD would be your YES to marriage. Scoring the gold medal, like an ideal life co-pilot, is beyond special. A bright, shiny gold medal is something to be proud of, something to admire, something worth working to get and something to be cherished forever. It is also attainable by anyone willing to try.
Thanks to Lori Gottlieb's book, Marry Him, there has been a lot of chatter about if you should settle for Mr. Good Enough. (If you have read MENu Dating, you know where I stand on being picky—Need a refresher? Read pages 168-169). Well if you are the type of girl who is happy with a bronze medal, by all means, settle. But when you wake up next to that bronze medal every morning, chances are that you'll wonder what might have happened, what love might have come your way, if you warmed up a little more, trained a little harder… and believed enough in yourself to go for the GOLD.
Live and love largely... and please don't settle for bronze,