Ted and Kendra Eliason spent a gray morning with me at a coffee shop, waiting out the potential hail storm. Kendra and I snickered over an article titled “Why You Should Never Date a Rock Climber”.
Number five had us rolling in laughter: “If you’re the jealous type, forget about dating a climber chick. You love it when she sports that tight, skimpy Spandex while working up a hot sweat. But dude, she does the same thing when you’re not around, in front of all the other guys. A few of them, BTW, are hotter, stronger, smarter and richer than you are.”
But, actually. Never date a rock climber.
When I was living in Brooklyn full-time, I used to have trouble fitting dating into my life. I used to casually date but ultimately felt guilty because I was leaving the city every day off I had, sometimes in long strings of days. I didn’t have the time to dedicate to another person. I always swore that I was ready for a relationship, but I was too selfish.
“Love”—I don’t think I’ve ever truly had a grasp on what it really means. When I discovered that my past three boyfriends are married or soon to be, it hurt in the way you would expect it to. They moved on. I moved on too, but not in the same way. I started chasing mountains. I moved around so much that there was no way any boy could hurt me. He could get attached and I could move on–it was a tactic I used to keep myself from getting clobbered. I didn’t want any attachments.
I have always believed in exercising caution when climbing because it’s the fall that hurts the most. Some people love the early stages of a relationship, but I started exercising the same caution when it came to dating and love. The simple truth of the matter was, I was terrified of having the rug pulled from under me again. So, I enjoyed the high but refused to let go entirely, because that would mean lowering defenses I’ve built. Protection is there to keep you safe, unharmed.
As much as I was afraid of openness, I craved it at the same time. Just like a bold climb, part of the scariness is beautiful. But the scary part of a rock climb is falling and injuring yourself. The scariness of grown up relationships is the transparency of it all. You are advertising to the world, it seems: This is me! This is who I am, here is a shortcoming between us, please don’t judge me. Please accept me.
Ted and Kendra tell me that climbing is the thing that connects them. I think that’s beautiful. In my naivety, I have wanted it in the past: the perfect climbing relationship. But that was when I lived in a selfish world, and I’m trying to realize that it’s so much more than that. It takes so much more than “baby, I love you”, a cam and a bottle of wine to create romance, to create relationships with real substance. It definitely sounds appealing though. Let me know if this partner exists.