Tuesday, March 6, 2012

An Analysis of Limbo

The very word “Friendzone” strikes fear in the very hearts of men (and sometimes women) everywhere. The harmless-sounding word has been a source of pain since the written word was invented millennia ago. The toughest man can crumble at its very prospect (hiperbola).

Admittedly, the Friendzone isn’t scary for everyone. Nor is it scary all the time. The vast majority of people are happy to stay in each other’s respective Friendzones. The system, in equilibrium, is constant, predictable, and in that it is comforting. The Friendzone is like a mother’s womb, or a warm blanket in the morning, or like supporting Manchester United – you will always be sure of a win.

BUT (because there’s always a but)…things get tricky when one tries to step out of this zone. As 9gag wisdom states:

Those who have attempted to leave the Friendzone will discover that the comfort it gives is very deceptive. The warmth of the Zone can thus be likened to the warmth of a pit of quicksand – comforting but asphyxiating.

Still it is not totally impossible to leave this Zone. Countless souls over the generations have taken the leap from the Friendzone to the More-Than-Friends Zone. But beware: few make the jump. Many others fall to their deaths, or worse, the No-Longer-Friends Zone.

Besides landing (or falling) into the More-Than-Friends Zone or No-Longer-Friends Zone, there is a third possible outcome of this ‘leap of faith’ (to use a line from Inception). It is, in my personal belief, the worst outcome of the three – being caught in ‘Limbo’ (to continue the Inception analogy).

A person condemned to the terrifying fate of Limbo finds himself in a strange land between ‘friends’ and ‘more than friends’, while at the same time hanging ominously over  the ‘no longer friends’ drop. This is best illustrated by our friend Mario below:

This Limbo region has been the subject of much study by nuclear physicists and relationship gurus alike. The only consensus about Limbo is that it is somewhere where the laws of physics do not apply. Other than that, numerous conflicting theories arise regarding its nature and composition. Some believe that the Limbo region is a tangible element yet undiscovered by science, others say it is an imaginary concept with real-life applications (like Mathematics), while others still insist that it is made up of equal proportions of dark matter and pixie dust(the theory, though absurd, is yet to be discredited).

The paragraph above can be ignored. Saja nak merapu.

Those in Limbo are often given advice by concerned friends and family along these lines:
  • Just get over her lah…!
  • Dude, if she’s the one, go for it man!!
  • If you love a bird let it go, if it belongs to you it will surely return.
  • You have to fight for love…stop sitting around doing nothing you idiot!
  • Kalau ada jodoh, you guys will end up together…
  • Kalau jodoh pun, mesti ada usaha…

As you may very well notice, the torrent of advice is often contradictory. Thus, on the subject of Limbo, I have grouped advice-givers into two schools of thought:
  1. Interventionists – This group of people recommend a gung-ho approach to love, preferring action over waiting. People of this group generally recommend a “listen to your heart” approach which borders on the impulsive. They suggest direct displays of love and get mad at the prospect of “sitting around and waiting for the One”. The Interventionist approach is usually criticized as being an impatient idiot’s approach to love.
  2. Market-Oriented Advocates – This group of people recommend a more patient approach to love, preferring waiting over action. They are staunch believers that the many tentacles of Fate will deliver you to the One regardless of whether you try or not. Trying, in fact, may make things worse. So why try? This approach preaches “listening to your head” and is generally more rational, but is also a biggest test on patience. They have a “what will be, will be” mentality and frown upon displays of affection which they believe has a negative impact on the course of the relationship. The Market-Oriented approach is usually criticized as being a cowardly idiot’s approach to love.

Typical when it comes to the issue of Limbo, the dispute between the above groups is far from resolved. Due to the unnecessary stress it causes, I believe that someone stuck in limbo listening to such advice is – well – unadvisable.

I write much of this post from personal experience, because currently I am in Limbo. How I got here was via a strange combination of Interventionist and Market-Oriented policies. Reporting from the Limbo, I can tell you that it is a place full of questions and insecurity. It is a blind drift in a thick fog. It is not fun.

But, perhaps surprisingly, the Limbo is not my biggest worry. I end this post with a message to my Mum* (a lady whose basic tenet is ‘no relationships while studying!’):

Your son has grown up, and his mind will drift to thoughts of marriage. I guess its inevitable. But I know how important a good IB result is to me…and the family. Don’t worry Ma, I won’t do anything without your consent. I know my priorities.

*Mama is a staunch Marked-Oriented Advocate. She believes in ‘jodoh’ but tells her children that romantic relationships are permissible ‘once you have a career’. It is not just talk; Mama takes concrete steps in preventing such relationships. In that way, her believes are Market-Oriented, but her actions are Interventionist.

This contradiction isn’t that weird though…I understand that it comes from the heart of a mother. One of the rare types of love which doesn’t involve Limbo.