Emily, In your last post, you wrote: “I can hear you mocking me already, but it is time I attempt the trapline approach” to dating [where you “always have three or four potential [men] in the trapline” to give you attention while you bide your time waiting for the “big fish”].
I say this with all the solemnity it deserves: you were 100 per cent correct. I think the “trapline” approach to dating is high level ridiculous. This isn’t because I think that having a pool — or to follow the fishing metaphor, a river– of humans to fill various roles in your life is a bad idea. It’s super handy to have someone to attend events with or to fix a broken toilet or to give you an orgasm every once in a while. Nor do I think it’s bad to enjoy spending time with people who aren’t “the big fish.”
The ridiculousness of the trapline approach is located in it’s underlying motivation: an urge to strategize, organize, and on some level control, the unstrategizable, unorganizable, uncontrollable dynamics of human relationships. You can absolutely have relationships with multiple men that involve different activities (including, or not, sex and romance). But, the trapline approach takes those relationships and attempts to shove them into a tidy, orderly, life system.
Don’t get me wrong: I understand the impulse to strategize . I can mind-map and pro and con list and venn diagram my way through problems like it’s no one’s business. But, these strategies have their limits, and the limit of the trapline approach is detachment: it is designed to disconnect you from your emotions and the emotions of the fish in the trapline.
You, my dear, are not a detacher. You can trapline all you want. It might even work for a bit and be a fun experiment. But I will straight up eat my shoe if you can sustain that practice for very long. Also: the trapline approach still assumed there is a prized fish. It still leads to a single, major, relationship.
So, rather than answer your concluding question of whether or not a “bottom feeder” can transform himself into a prized tuna, I throw these provocations back at you:
What if you aren’t a fisherman but a fish? What are your waters like? What kind of fish do you want to swim alongside? For how long? And, answer this honestly (because we’re going to take the metaphor as far as it can possibly go):
Do you think you’re someone’s prize tuna?