Friday, March 30, 2012

The Relationship Jinx

I'm a firm believer in the jinx. And not the game of jinx, i.e., I yell "Jinx!" after you said the same word I said at the same time, and therefore you cannot speak again until you buy me a soda. Or the Sports Illustrated jinx. Or the dreaded game of Sports Illustrated jinx, in which I yell "Jinx!" after you read out loud a headline on a Sports Illustrated cover at the same time I did, and you suffer a terrible injury from which you cannot recover until you buy me a soda.

No, I believe in the relationship jinx. In a nutshell, I don't like to discuss my romantic life. With anyone. Ever.

When I'm dating a woman, and the relationship is going really well, I'm happy. And I want to remain happy. And I can't shake the nagging feeling that if I openly express to my friends that I'm in a relationship and am happy, I will jinx it all. The relationship will end, and I will be unhappy.

I know this sounds paranoid, but I'm drawing from past experience. For example, a few years ago I had a girlfriend I was really smitten with. I thought she was "the one." I told anyone who would listen she was "the one." It turned out she really was "the one." She was "the one" to break things off, she was "the one" to move on with her life, she was "the one" who married and started a family. She's a jerk, she should've just stayed with me.

If there ever comes a time when I decide to propose to a woman, I absolutely will not tell anyone about my plans beforehand. I'm going to keep the proposal to myself, and no one's going to know about it except for the 20 thousand fans in attendance who will be watching it live on the big screen.

I've actually reversed jinxed a friend. It was a complete accident. Here's my explanation: When someone asks me, "Guess what?" I assume one of two things: the person is either engaged or expecting. At my age, there's really no other answer that demands such a dramatic buildup. Aside from the time a few months ago when I discovered The Wonder Years airs on cable TV at 3 a.m. I gave an enthusiastic "Guess what?" to anyone who would listen for the next five days.

So the friend, who'd been in a serious relationship for a while, said to me, "Guess what?" And I exclaimed, "Congratulations!" Confused, he asked, "Why are you congratulating me?" I replied, "You're engaged, right? You popped the question." He said, "No!"

Not even a week later, his relationship ended. The relationship jinx struck again. He refused to speak with me for days. Until I bought him a soda.