I have two pillars that support my basic understanding of the world. The first is my Christian faith, which provides me guidance in navigating the more serious of life situations. For everything else, I have my second pillar, a schema developed from years worth of information gleaned from after school specials. Sometimes, the two pillars will reinforce each other. For instance, I’ve learned from the Bible that you should not lie because it is a sin and it angers God. Likewise, I’ve learned from Ready or Not that you should not lie because if you tell your best friend you are sick and can’t go to the concert with her when in fact you are going to the concert with that guy you like, your best friend will catch you two holding hands at the concert and your friendship will be damaged forever (or, until the next episode). This is why I don’t lie. I’ve grown to be a pretty decent person because of my pillars.
The Bible doesn’t say much about dating. My understanding of the topic has been developed from things I’ve seen on television. I don’t remember exactly where it was I learned this theory. Maybe it was Gilmore Girls. The theory is that dating is like making pancakes. When you make pancakes, the first one is always a failure. It gets burned too quickly, or it isn’t quite the right size, or it’s just so ugly that you don’t want to put it in your mouth. Dating is just like that. You need your prototype pancake. You need to figure out what went wrong and make the necessary adjustments before you can get it just right. You may even need more than one prototype. You may keep throwing your batter on that scorching griddle and wonder why all your pancakes are burnt. Wise ass bystanders may say you should just turn down the heat, but they’re not in love, so what would they know.
I have been a firm believer in The Pancake Theory up until today, as I lamented with my friend at lunch over yet another potential love interest that won’t pan out the way I hoped. As I mulled over my life, loss, and love, it dawned on me: I am getting old. I don’t have time to dick around with pancake batter anymore. I will be dessicated by the time I go through my nine tester pancakes (nine being an estimate based on my general level of stupidity). At that point, I’d be so worried about my cholesterol and potential diabetes that I wouldn’t even want to eat pancakes.
I can’t believe in The Pancake Theory anymore because it scares me. What I have chosen to replace it with is The Pancake Approximation Theory. This isn’t based on any Bible verse or televised coming of age drama. I have created it just now, from the recesses of my mind, out of sheer necessity. According to this theory, dating is like making pancakes after you’ve already made a bunch of other stuff in your pan. In my pan, I have made crepes, hotcakes, and probably even a pancake (except we didn’t call it that and it wasn’t Facebook official). The transferable skills I’ve gained from these experiences will enable me to make a perfect pancake, first try. The arduous process of making pancake prototypes will be obsolete. It’s a theory that has yet to be tested, and it may very well be a crock of raw pancake batter. Even still, I will choose to take comfort in it, I who sits alone, blowing the dust off my empty pancake pan.