06 October 2009

The Middle Man

Relationships have three basic parts: the beginning, the middle, and The End.

Most people love the beginning. The beginning is exciting. It’s new. It’s sweet and you stay up all night talking and making the sex and kissing (there’s actual kissing at the beginning, you know).

Graygrrrl hates the beginning. In her blog, L’amour in B flat, she says:

The other part of the problem is that I hate beginnings. Everyone seems to love them, movies are made in their honor, but for me- they can suck it. I much prefer the middle. It’s comforting. You already know where you stand. You have learned some of the bad habits, and good ones as well. Your friends are used to the idea and treat him/her in a respectable manner. Perhaps they even like him! Middles are where it’s at.

Gofahne feels like she can’t be herself in the beginning sometimes. It's like she becomes this person, trapped in her head, and even though she’s thinking all the right things, she can’t seem to say them. She’s actually a fan of the “casual hookup” that Nicole wrote up last week (GENIUS), though on a different level. (The casual hookup is a thing I loathe, at this point.) Gofahne would rather meet someone when she's out with her friends and not even realize that he likes her, so she's completely being herself. I get that, but I don't want to hook up with or date my friends, really (I've been there, The End of that leads to no boyfriend and no friends. Pass).

Recently, though, I’ve come to notice The Middle Man. The man who may not wow and get your panties all wet right out of the gate, but you know that he would be amazing in the middle. The gooey center of the relationship, if you will. He’s the guy who will take care of you when you’re sick. The guy who will let you know that he’s thinking about you. The guy who calls when he says he will call. The guy who will pick up some little trinket for you while he’s out because it was just “so you” (understand that this is not about money, and could even be a rock he found in the street). The guy who will make an effort with your family (even though they’re crazy). The guy who has seen you at your worst, and still thinks you’re amazing (and maybe he thinks you’re beautiful even when you wake up in the morning).

These guys are few and far between.

Most men are like the M&Ms in your ice cream. They seem like a great idea at first, all colorful and chocolate-alicious, but before you know it, all the color has run off in your ice cream, and they’re just cold and hard and taste like shit. The Middle Man is like molten chocolate cake. It may not be the most exciting dessert on the outside but once you break through the cake, the warm, gooey chocolate in the center is amazing.

(I assume it works this way for guys, too, but I have little experience with girls as M&Ms or molten cake.)

But the question is, how do you get past the beginning if it’s not all rainbows and sunshine and lounging around doing crossword puzzles on Sunday mornings (that's just me, then?), having sex all day and only getting out of bed for ice cream? Is it possible to start a relationship purely based on potential?


Travis said...

I am the Middle Man. Always have been. Yeah, it's possible to have a relationship, because I've been in one for 8 years now. Good luck, lady. I hope you find your Middle Man.

justjp said...

The potential you speak of is like kinetic energy, once it gets rolling, it picks up speed. The beginning is always exciting, and of course the middle if the glory one would seek. Depends on the situation though. If you both know its going to be casual and not build up, then you should just throw yourself in it for the time being.

If there is serious potential treat it like a marathon. The longer you go, the better it should get in theory.

My major hang up, is when I do not know where the girl is coming from. There is nothing more nerve racking than getting mixed signals or not knowing the direction in which to go.

The end of course, well, we all know how that goes. Played right though, it can be amazing! Go out with a bang, you know.

PQ said...

It is. It SO is...

My current relationship began that way...I've told him this too...He wasn't my usual type...If I saw him on the street, maybe I wouldn't notice but there was something there in his emails that made my heart flutter. We went the "All out" route on our first date...Roll the dirty laundry out and figure out if it's worth a shot.

Not everyon can handle that and I realize that approach doesn't work for anyone but we've made it through some hurdles because of our extensive communication.

That's how you get to the middle. By communicating until things are comfortable.

It'll be a month on Thursday from our first date and I can definitely see us getting closer to the middle.

mysterg said...

I actually think that the beginning is not the problem but rather the middle. If you can maintain the beginning throughout your relationship by starting as you mean to go on then there should be no end ever in sight.

Middle men are like that as in what you see is what you get, but as we all know, nice guys finish last.

Ed Adams said...

I like my women with a creamy middle.

Go luck kiddo.

Gofahne said...

For the record, I hate the casual hook-up too and Nicole's article was INCREDIBLE at depicting the problems of that situation. But, as Shine mentioned...first dates are hell for me. If I were the guy, there would be no second date, horrible.

But this middle man is all new to me. He does EVERYTHING right. Gives me space, but stays interested. Remembers the important things and let's me know he does. Nice, funny, sweet, caring, respectful and damn well does what he says he will. So why, with this guy do I hesitate? It's comfortable, it's perfect, there is NOTHING wrong, and yet I'm looking for that "something wrong" just so I'll get excited and feel like there is the much anticipated mystery of the beginning. And fyi, I HATE doing this!

Shine, as always, you rock at putting my thoughts into much better words than I could ever find. Thank you for residing in my brain :)

Alice said...

love this. love nicole's piece. and now that i've read them both... it's very possible i have a middle man on MY hands, which is sort of exciting to think about. but i think i also need to be mindful of PQ's point and really start communicating the hell out of it, so that we get to the middle with enough substance to sustain a middle.

Jay Ferris said...

I think that this "potential" you refer to at the beginning is really just the absence of some storybook "love at first sight" or a RomCom-flavored "meet-cute". Respect doesn't happen overnight, which I believe is in most cases necessary for a successful relationship. However, just like anything else in life, nobody's version of respect/success/love looks exactly the same. So as long as you don't feel like stabbing that person in the neck with a butter knife from across the breakfast nook every morning, potential for good relationship still technically exists.

LiLu said...

I dunno... for me, the whole ride's been a blast that just gets better.

*shoots self in face*

I know, I know.

Antje Spethmann said...

Count me in the category of "likes to meet people while she's out with friends, so that she doesn't even realized the boy likes her and can completely be herself."
I even have stress worrying about how I behaved after business lunch meetings some times.

f.B said...

i'm kind of a sucker for the beginning. there has to be a reason why i'm even curious about the potential. she should want a reason, too (obviously it works both ways). but the times i've moved ahead without at first believing there was the chance for something great have left me really, really disappointed.

NatalieCottrell said...

My most successful (I couldn't use a word more loosely) adult relationship was with a middle man. He pursued and pursued until I just gave up and fell in love with him, but I think there has to be a modicum of interest in said man, or you have to at least be willing to succumb to good ol' autopilot for a bit. And then all of the sudden you're comfortable and happy...and here is where we commence the awesome sex making and Sundays-in-bed.

Graygrrrl said...

Amen! I think this "middle man" could also fit comfortably in the "we started out as friends" category.

Juice said...

I could easily write an entire blog in response to this post. Like you kindly point out, the middle man has little going for him in the beginning, even if he is a great guy, it’s that intense, wet panty moment that makes you wanna know a guy, not whether if he remembers to call you. He’s the cliché nice guy, the one that finishes last every time.

If you compare him to mister steamy, counter and arch nemesis of mister nice guy. You would have to agree mister steamy picks up first. I mean, when a guy can make your genitals blush with a smile, you’re more likely to destroy him, first instance. Yes/no?. Hence you will get to know him. Meanwhile mister nice guy stands at the other side of the yard (Beautiful day and your at a friends place for a barby lets say - it's the Australian in me) sucking the neck of a beer bottle rather than yours.

To get to know mister nice is to befriend him. To befriend him (And respect as Jay points out)is to then break the second rule you suggest: Friends x Leg bowing sex (power of ten) = The end + no friend.

The shit part hasn’t even been mentioned yet, and that is the longer you build the relationship – ie, all the way to the middle – the further it is you’re going to fall. I mean when you’re that compatible that he knows what type of rock you like, that’s some heavy shit. That’s like, The End to the power of ten!

But why would you need to have an end if this guy is so right, theoretically shouldn’t this be just perfect. A guy who fits the middle, the guy you know all about, the guy who serves you as a lover and a friend!

Because one of you, it might even be him, isn’t ready for that type of intense relationship. If that happens then it’s the worst. One bad fall, twice as shy hey?

As a guy it’s easier to be a beginner. I mean you get great sex, you don’t have to care and you don’t get hurt. It’s a winner. Is it no wonder we strive to be this person? I think if you really look, you’ll find plenty of mister nice guys around… but are you ready for it?

On the contrary, you might find mister steamy hybrid nice guy. If you do, snap that shit up ;)

I tried to keep this short.. meh. I’m jaded also, I'm probably wrong, but falling off the end sucks.

cool as folk said...

I'm drooling a little. That silly little thing needs to jump out of the picture and into my mouth.

More importantly, there must be some consistency. It would be great if you can segue from the beginning man (with the great sex and the kissing) into the middle man (with more sex and more kissing).

Jeff said...

i've always been a middle man because i don't know how to be the beginning man. i'm way too strange and odd at first for any girl to get all hot and bothered at the sight of me. and i just got married to a wonderful woman who somehow got past that first impression :-)

Maryx said...

I'm partial to the middle really... but the beginning is so exciting! Then end... well no one likes that even though it may be very necessary for both parties. Urgh!

Thanx for sharing... nice post sweetie!

That Kind of Girl said...

Awww, this entry is WONDERFUL! Newly single after a very happy four-year relationship, my manta has definitely been: "Forget your movie-moment openings -- I just want another bland, happy middle." Glad to hear other people feel the same way.

Also, your description of The Middle Man and the types of things he does reminded me so much of my ex that it was almost unsettling. I'll have to email a link to him, as a reminder of how great he is.

(Although lest I sound like a creepy, stalky, omg-seriously-stop-emailing-yo'-ex psychopath, let me point out that I'm not trying to woo back the guy after breaking up with him -- we're just super, super amicable.)

MrLettuce said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Phronk said...

Why the hell can't we have it all? A person with the qualities of both a beginning man (or woman) and a middle man (or woman)? Panty wetting (or pants tightening) and being blandly comforting don't have to be mutually exclusive. One person can be all that.

I long for the middlegirl too, but that beginninggirl spark has gotta be there too or I might as well be dating one of my dude friends.

And furthermore, GIVE ME THAT CAKE.

Jenny said...

My last relationship was not sequential. There was no beginning, middle and end - he was the middle man who could make my genitals blush with a smile, who picked up some earrings because they suited me perfectly when he knows how scared I am of gifts and surprises, who took me out to dinner on a whim, whose tie I adjusted as I kissed him goodbye for work at 7 in the morning, standing in the street, naked under my dressing gown, but who also drove me mad with grief and confusion and who I drove mad in my turn. So what I guess I'm saying is, yes, I'm holding out for the middle man. And this time we're leaving out the maggot in the middle - the crazy shit that leads to The End. I don't want the insecurity and bubbling crazy of hte beginning, personally I get my knickers in a twist for that cosy middle stuff. I'm clearly forty on the inside but that's just how it is.