The thought made her smile when it hit her. It seemed like an idea that would come from a dejected, star-crossed lover, or a horribly disappointed employer, maybe. Yet it couldn’t be more true.
The labels didn’t have to be comprehensive, or detailed. They could be simple labels, like a “will ask you out, eat 70% of the food, and want to go Dutch” label on a guy at work; or an “acts like a whore but is really only seeking the attention of her parents” sign on slutty girls you meet at parties.
It’s things that you’d be able to figure out eventually, if you had half a brain. It would take some time, but you’d come to the conclusions anyway. The labels would just save everybody the trouble of investing time and effort in someone who would, after sticking around for a few months, reveal a devastating character flaw like “doesn’t believe dinosaurs ever existed” or “thinks Pokemon is for retards.”
Of course, she’d probably been thinking of all the time and effort (and money) she’d wasted on jerks and worthless friends, and how all that could have been avoided, had these people simply worn what they were on their sleeves.
But the benefits! Boyfriends would no longer be left confused, with their jaws dropped, as their girls flew about the house in a rage. A simple “PMSing, steer clear for the next two days” sign would tell them to be on their toes. Rapists and pedophiles would be exposed, and finding people with the same kinks would be a breeze.
And even then, one could still pursue working relationships with people who had less-than-encouraging labels on them. She was pretty sure she would’ve remained friends with that “[an] insufferable drunk who can’t keep his hands to himself” because he was amusing, and that girl who was “perpetually baked; chance of conversations making sense: 60%.” After all, there would still be more to the person, and if the history of the world had taught anyone anything, it was that people don’t usually give a fuck about warning labels, if their better judgment says otherwise.
But then came the inevitable question: What would your label be?
"Loves cats; may end up alone, living with 99 cats"; "major daddy issues, clingy as death"; "terribly insecure; will be jealous of any girl who comes within 5ft of you."
Of course the chances of her ending up alone would be magnified tenfold if all of her character flaws were exposed. They were hidden for a reason, and she’d decided to keep them that way too. There was a reason she didn’t run around telling people she was insanely jealous, or maybe just-a-little-teensy-weensy-bit racist, or incapable of tolerating stupidity.
There was a reason she’d been so sure that she’d be alone if anyone were ever able to see those ugly parts of her, and there was a reason even she couldn’t love herself when she took these things into consideration.
But then there was always the last guy. He’d seen through her and she’d bared her soul to him, but still, he’d stayed—she’d never really understood why or how, but he’d stayed, and he’d promised to stay even longer.
There was something to him that she couldn’t quite put her finger on, some inherent kind of something-special that even she couldn’t describe. She’d label everyone else—her mother, her sister, her boss, her cat—but she could never label him. She couldn’t find any singular phrase to describe him, or how he made her feel.
He’d probably have his own labels too. “Angry at the world; can rage like a lunatic”; “baggage so heavy he needs you to help him carry it”; or “will never gain weight no matter how hard you try.” It was stuff she’d figured out already, of course, and she’d had fun getting to know him, trying to discover the secrets he held in that lanky frame of his.
It wasn’t what she needed at the time, really, if you’d asked her months before they’d met. She would’ve told you that she wasn’t looking for anything serious because there’s really nobody out there worth being serious with, but hell, they gave it a shot. Sure, she hasn’t found any of his deal-breakers yet, but she’s pretty sure that, had she been confronted with them when they’d first met, she probably wouldn’t have wasted their time.
But then again, the past few months had been, well, for lack of a better word,magnificent. She’d never be able to explain why, but there was something that made it all worthwhile, all the awkwardness and assumptions and nights spent with hearts pounding so loud they filled the room with a dull thump-thump. She was pretty sure that whatever the deal-breaker was, it would matter less now, because now there’s months of cuddling and dinners and breakfasts and grocery-shopping to trump all the “feels inadequate sometimes; quite sensitive, actually”; and “will sometimes ask a question but refuse to listen to the answer” labels.
So maybe it wasn’t a waste of time. Maybe it really was the thrill of the chase, the discovery, the journey into another person’s soul that kept others from continuing to find and lose people in an endless cycle. Maybe it didn’t matter what would be revealed, but how.
Then again, maybe warning labels should be left to cans of tuna, scissors and heavy machinery, maybe even bottles of ketchup and children’s toys (because sometimes, logic fails even the most talented, dedicated parents). Maybe we grow to love all those freaky things that we discover about people along the way. Maybe it’s possible for someone to not like Pokemon, and still be a good person (maybe in the universe where dinosaurs never existed).
After all, if the history of the world had taught anyone anything, it was that people don’t usually give a fuck about warning labels, if their better judgment says otherwise.
And sometimes, better judgment really is better.
Originally posted on Tumblr on Aug 20 2012