Learning Together

Learning Together

One of the most powerful coupling devices for the modern pair is learning together. Today, self-actualization through introspection has largely overtaken the role that was before occupied by social consolidation through shared experiences. In times past you would become “you” mostly as a byproduct of the street you were born on: a Shark or Jet, a Greaser or Soc, even a Fraggle or Doozer. Now most of “you” is the result of a series of independently chosen options (e.g., selecting bradfan1985 as your screen name not thanks to your birth year but to note that you are his number one fan in Mandeville [well done, by the way – you’re complex]). This state is important to the modern lover because inside of a relationship the individual can finally again submit to the collective. Learning together is one such opportunity.

Finding strange and exciting things to share bonds a couple together. It allows them new topics of conversation and permits better intuition when challenged to find the perfect birthday gift. Perhaps most importantly, it strengthens the team for the greatest crucible facing any duo: consistently winning the game Taboo. A trip to the zoo together will allow the clue “A marsupial from the family Macropodidae endemic to the smallest geographic continent” to prompt the immediate answer “Kangaroo” without running afoul of the prohibited words “Pouch, Hop, Animal, Australia” and “Captain”.

Visit art galleries together and travel the globe as meilleures amies. Develop a shared intellectual curiosity in the world surrounding each other. Watch your girlfriend’s eyes squint as she explores the detail of Georges Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte (during your day off in Chicago, not on her iPhone); and watch your boyfriend’s feet tap to Toto’s “Africa” now that it means something (after your safari through the Masai Mara, not on his iPhone). Be overwhelmed by beauty in the human experience, and focus on the meaning of sharing that beauty together for the first time.

Beyond the intrinsic rewards of aesthetics, learning together will forever tie this art and these experiences to you. After a little time in the relationship, there will remain precious few wholly new discoveries outside of it. This accomplishes two things. First, the world outside of your ambit will seem a little less special; your partner will be less likely to be drawn away from your perceived greatness. Second, should you decide to eventually end the relationship, your partner will be haunted at every turn by memories of the art and science you studied together. Their virtues will be forever conflated with “you”, and your successor will struggle vainly to fill the vacuum left behind. Even as you move forward, rededicating yourself to the pursuit of true love with another candidate, your legend will grow.

EXCEPTION: If you are markedly less intelligent than your partner avoid self-flaggelation and find someone more evenly paired. For instance, if only your significant other can see “The Sisterhood of Traveling Pants” as it is: a paean to Sapphic love.

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