Sometime around 3:30 this morning, I got up for a drink of water. Then I crawled back into my cozy bed, turned my TV on, set the timer for 30 minutes, and tried to get back to sleep.
My body was all over that idea.
My brain had some reservations.
While it wasn’t working well, it was definitely active.
About 10 minutes in, I heard some mellow music on my TV, as well as some discussion about relationships. (It was probably a commercial for herpes meds.) And in my strange ‘dreaming while somewhat awake’ state, I started thinking about life and love and relationships. You know, all of that crap.
It was at this point that I came up with the theory that there are three distinct Peters when it comes to relationships. (And sometimes to “relationships.”)
Phase 1 Peter – This is the pretty laid-back dude that most people meet. He’s moderately funny. He’s sometimes entertaining. He’s a relatively good guy.
It seems that when a woman meets Phase 1 Peter, their reaction usually falls into one of three categories:
1) “He’s kinda funny. I’m going to talk to him.”
2) “He’s a sarcastic prick.”
3) “Yeah, I don’t get this dude AT ALL. What’s for lunch?”
Phase 1 Peter’s reaction to meeting most women for the first time:
“I don’t know you, so I don’t really give a fuck.”
He just says whatever pops into his head.
He’s typically goofy and easy-going.
If he likes you, Phase 1 Peter can hang around for quite a while. But, only until the arrival of…
Phase 2 Peter – This guy, man…
There’s one in every group.
When Phase 1 Peter starts to really like someone (rare) and/or thinks that she might like him, something bad happens.
This is where our story turns, people. So, if you are scared, or if you don’t have the stomach for it, back away now. Nobody will think any less of you. This is not going to be funny. This is a journey into the deepest, darkest recesses of my soul. And you don’t even get one of those miners helmets with the light on it.
I’m not even sure where to start with this dude.
I think the key word would be “overanalyzey.” (All phases of Peter bastardize the English language whenever the mood strikes.)
Phase 2 Peter lives entirely in his own head. He is crunching numbers and filling in mental spreadsheets up there.
He is thinking things like:
“Why did she say it like THAT?”
“In her last e-mail did she use fewer exclamation marks than usual?”
“Does she seem less interested? I think she does. Does she? Maybe not. Oh man, I don’t want to be THAT guy. I don’t want her saying to her friends, “Guess who talked to me again. Homeboy just can’t take a hint!””
Every bit of communication is analyzed for hidden codes.
Before Phase 2 Peter says ANYTHING, he weighs out the potential impact of the words. A one man focus group — with a lot of different voices — is held in his head.
All of this, of course, causes Phase 2 Peter to be much less funny/interesting/entertaining than Phase 1 Peter.
This can cause a shift in the behaviour/attitude of the woman. (Even if it doesn’t, Phase 2 Peter is very likely to imagine it any way. He’s good like that. Fucker.)
Sensing this (real or imagined) shift, Phase 2 Peter becomes overly… earnest, I suppose. Nothing sexier than that.
So, even if chica wasn’t pulling away before, she sure as hell should be at this point.
Sometimes — thankfully only sometimes — Phase 2 Peter will become a little indignant.
“Doesn’t she know that it is just Phase 2 Peter? Dude is NUTS. What’s her problem? Fuck that chick. She thinks Dane Cook is funny. Bah!”
Phase 2 Peter may burn bridges or just stop communicating all together.
But, despite all the odds against it, sometimes a woman gets to meet…
Phase 3 Peter – I LOVE this dude. I want to watch the Super Bowl with him.
Usually when a woman meets him, she ends up sticking around for a long time. (Possibly because she is exhausted from running the gauntlet that is Phase 2 Peter.)
Phase 3 Peter is supportive. He’ll spend months trying to find someone the perfect birthday gift. He’ll remember your favourite flower, even if you told him ages earlier.
He’s got all the good stuff of Phase 1 Peter, but he will also let you see behind the curtain.
And, best of all, every incarnation of Phase 3 Peter is better than the one before. He learns. He adapts. Unlike Phase 2 Peter, who despite knowing he is doing it, can’t seem to change his behaviour. He’s like a pigeon. Or a government employee.
Thankfully, once I worked out this theory in my head, I was able to go back to sleep.
You know, the next time someone asks why I’m still single, I should point them to this post.
Especially to that bastard Phase 2 Peter.