At one time it was common to hear: “So baby, what’s your sign?” as a pickup line. As we move into a future where more and more of us in Western culture are in or have been in some sort of treatment for mental health, that line will soon be a thing of the past, replaced with “What’s your diagnosis?”
Gone are the days where being a Libra, Taurus, Cancer, or Pisces has much meaning anymore, if they ever truly did. Made more difficult by the fact that whoever is in charge of such things changed the dates of the Zodiac signs so that nobody knows what their sign actually is anymore. We are moving toward a future where we pick our mate not by their star sign, but instead by a compatible diagnosis.
The American Psychological Association has a category for almost any quirk of the personality these days. So since we are all crazy, we need to find the crazy in others which complements our own.
For example I am diagnosed with an Axis I Anxiety Disorder with Obsessive Compulsive Personality traits. So what disorders complement my own? This is much more difficult than learning that as a Libra I should avoid dating an Aries, Cancer, or Leo. While astrology can be fun and the Birthday and Relationship books are frighteningly accurate, they haven’t helped me find my soul mate, only confirmed after the fact that who I was with was a bad match according to the stars.
My diagnosis in some ways also makes dating hard, as I turn into a mutated version of myself, amplified in all the wrong ways. It’s like being the Hulk except it’s not incredible. It is actually rather mundane in explanation, although I have been told it can be frightening to witness. And while I do not grow to incredible size, my voice does, and instead of my skin turning into a bright green only my eyes shift into a brighter green. All of this is because one of my anxiety symptoms is impulse aggression.
So when I get attached to someone I often turn into a nightmare, and while someone might wish to date the Hulk, I do not like the idea of losing control and becoming HulKatie. At this time, I have found it better for everyone that I don’t date. You never know when the green will spread to my skin and I will grow from my 5 foot self into a massive and destructive form bent on smashing everything.
So how do we date in our overly diagnosed, overly medicated, and overly stimulated society?
Well there is online dating. This gives us a chance to get to know someone in the absence of actually having to see them in person and open our mouths in order to have a conversation. I have tried this method of dating, much to my own failure and quit almost as quickly as I began. The reason being that while it is easy to type a message about yourself and what you like, to me it lacked substance. And while I actually met two people in person, it was glaringly obvious to me that our online personalities and our in-person-alities don’t often match-up exactly how we think they do.
Nice, smart, caring, giving, and intelligent online and groaning, grunting, incomprehensible animal in person. This isn’t true for everyone, but it is hard to show all of your personality on the internet. It’s hard enough the traditional way.
So after failing Online Dating 101, I went back to the bars and coffee shops. However, much like the online world people act differently when they are single than they do when they are dating. I think this may actually come from our lack of asking that basic question: “So what is your diagnosis?” I’m not saying to run screaming into the night when someone says anxiety, depression, PTSD, or bi-polar, but this will at least be a better ice breaker than “What’s your sign?”
This question gives us the chance to break down walls which could otherwise take months or years to knock down or climb over. You then get to start with an open and friendly conversation, without being afraid to speak candidly. Tell the cute guy at the bar that in the event of your dating you might turn Hulk if he smiles at you the wrong way when you have a paper do for school, or that you might smash a beer bottle on the floor if he calls you crazy. We already know that not everyone we find attractive is right for us, why not cut the bullshit and be honest from the start. Ask questions like “Do you identify more with Jekyll or Hyde?” or, “If you were a serial killer would you be more like Dexter, or Ted Bundy?”
Then after starting the conversation, we can arm ourselves with information to make informed choices rather than those fueled entirely by bar banter and physical attraction. This way if you Hulk out on someone, they were warned.
Now go forth and change the way we date, and let me know if your personal crazy has ever had an effect on your romantic relationships, either positive or negative.
Don’t Bitch it… Blog it…