If I were writing about someone else, a friend or my roommate, for example, I would use pseudonyms. To protect all parties involved. I would lead you to believe that I had created this (not so) outrageous scenario, in which a young woman finds, at a crossroads in her life, political symbolism in her relationships with men because it makes a good story. An allegory.
But, the truth is, I’m not that creative.
And there’s something to be said for popular opinion (or at least opinions in general).
And I just don’t know what to make of it all.
Besides, if either of these guys read this column (which may or may not happen given the fact that although they both read, neither attend PSU), they’ll see through the “coincidence” and call me on it.
So why pretend?
This is a story about something old and something new. Comfort and possibility. Trust in a system that at times appears to be failing in as many ways as it is succeeding, and new ways of thinking and living.
Tradition and progress.
The first comes in the form of a young lad named Stephen. Friends since high school, we share common experiences, friends and ideals. Our common ground provides for few awkward moments and even fewer things left unsaid.
Stephen is young, but he knows what he wants. He wants to make art and listen to music and be in a relationship with a woman he can trust.
Trust is the key issue here. Trust gives us hope when we see things we do not like, and gives us reason to keep quiet.
Years of living and observing the world around him have taught Stephen that trust is the key ingredient to any successful relationship. You can hold every door and pick up every check, but even chivalry demands trust.
In the dating world (although not in the political world), Stephen is a liberal conservative.
To his left sits Lance, a conservative liberal. Although older than Stephen, Lance is still charting his course. He doesn’t know what he wants, but he knows what he doesn’t want. He wants to live by his own rules, instead of those created for him. He doesn’t want to do what is expected of him out of mere responsibility. He wants to research his options, know what he’s getting himself into.
Where Stephen is trusting, Lance is pragmatic. And because he’s a new friend and different in so many ways, more of an enigma.
But the real puzzle is how both of these men, with their similarities and differences, hold my appeal; how I am drawn to the comfort of tradition and the possibility of progress, with almost equal zeal.
Thankfully, this romantic dilemma will work itself out the way matters of the heart tend to do: in good time.
But the rest of the world can’t wait for that. The rest of the world demands a decision. And conviction.
Luckily for Stephen and Lance, it is neither one nor the other. Rather, it is a selective combination that won’t bridge the gap between the two but will give way to a much more radical way of living, thinking and trusting.