Gawk & Snicker

Below is a heavily reworked piece originally titled The Wonderful and Frightening World of The Fall

First published March 13, 2008.

A stable relationship comes bundled with many hidden costs. One easily overlooked charge is the inevitable boredom couples radiate around them – their well defined sexual status slacking the tension that is otherwise palpable when people of the opposite sex mingle. The only exceptions to this banal state of affairs are the new or unhappy pairs. Foundations yet to be poured or beginning to crack are grist for the sewing circle and card table alike, but the well established tandem is passed over for having nothing to contribute to the mill of chatter and assumption.

The high wire act is invariably made less interesting for having a safety net. The skill and talent and concentration of the acrobat is no less impressive for having insurance, but the drama of the event is all but removed. Something similar can be said when a couple arrives at a party. In the majority of cases they will arrive together, and will spend their first moments unconsciously making known they are taken and by whom. From this unmistakable jumping off point, they are free to unyoke and disperse, and even gently flirt with the opposite sex, all the while knowing that across the room is the warden, ready to reinforce and reestablish the relationship with a pet or a peck should it be thought necessary.

The single person at the same gathering is forced to work without a net, and in full view of their peers. Their encounters with those whose body parts fail to match but are nonetheless perfectly compatible are rife with dangerous potentiality. They must at the same time flirt with desirable mates, be prepared to gracefully extricate themselves from undesired consideration, and handle the embarrassment of having to do so while their friends exchange knowing glances. Forgive my repeating myself for saying again that such an act is a tightrope.

The single person instills genuine intrigue for being a variable. The attached are whole numbers, countable and mundane.

Robin Lindsay



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