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Monday, February 25, 2013

How To Introduce Your +1

When it comes to adding a +1, are we subtracting an identity?

We deal with growing older or growing our family with the inevitable additions: 30 the sequel, Me plus 3, 2015 part 2. 
However you’d like to phrase it, just don’t ADD it.

I couldn't help but notice that the phrase '+1' is used a lot. From work colleagues asking to bring their +1 to an event to myself adding a +1 to my age.

Although I can understand the dread of entering into another age box, I've never looked at a relationship as being, or having, a +1, simply myself plus you.

As a seasoned singleton I'm familiar with being solo. When I have dated someone in the past (a rare phenomenon), I haven't used the mathematical terminology to introduce them; I used their name. 

“Hey can I bring BLANK to your birthday this weekend?” 

Saying their name seemed to give them an identity all their own, leaving their association (and predictable break-up) with me out of the equation. They aren't viewed as +1/boyfriend/lover, they are BLANK. 

People view themselves as complex and indefinable, so let's refer to them as x.
x = you
1 = them
x+1 = a complete and utter mindfuck of emotions aka a relationship 

The goal of this equation is to determine what the value of x is. We add +1 to x, with a known result (a relationship), and like magic, x is defined. 
We use our +1's to define ourselves, and by doing so, we reduce our +1 to merely it's association with x, and therefore, +1 has no identity once x and 1 are separated. Whether separated means broken-up or simply wondering around on their own. 

I've been introduced as a +1 before. They used those exact words and it felt as though I had no identity. As if I relied upon them to even exist, and that they relied upon me to define their lives (at least their romantic life).

What happens if we drop the +1 and allow them to be an identity on their own, not an identity by comparison to ourselves?

What if I drop the +1 to my age. I’d be 24. 
What if my colleague asked to bring Stacy to the event? I’d ask who she is, what she does, find out her identity that goes beyond x +1. 

When we stop viewing ourselves as x, and the people associated with us a simple number, maybe we can all become as unique as the person that chose us to be with them on that occasion.

Maybe we are all just as interesting as our numbers add up to…

Today is my 24th birthday. I am 24.
Kelsey is bringing John to my birthday.
Matt is bringing Jennifer to our work event.

If I may quote The Beatles; I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.

ttfn, Elizabeth 

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