Remember that classic line in the “Godfather Part III” when Al Pacino’s character Michael Corleone painful and angrily professes, “Just when I think I’m out, they pull me back in!” He’s referring to the fact that as hard as he tries to become legit and move away from the mob life forever, a series of unfortunate events sucks him back into the life of a mafioso kingpin.
The deeper message, of course, is that it shows that try as you might, you can’t really change who you are. Dress a pig up in a tuxedo and it’s still a pig. Michael tried to act like he was a professional legit businessman, but the ruthless mob boss — his true self — always rises to the surface. It’s kind of the same in dating.
You see, there are some people out there — such as yours truly — who have done the casual dating thing for so long that they feel uber-comfortable doing it. They become pretty damn good at it, too. Just like the mob hitmen who can whack countless people without flinching, serial daters can casually date without the emotional binds that may affect other people. Eventually, like Michael Corleone, it becomes who they are.
But then, every once in a while an anomaly occurs. The serial daters sometimes meet someone they like just a little bit more than the others. Mind you, they don’t lose their bearings, dating common sense, or fall head-over-heels in love or anything. They just think that maybe it’s a person they can date a little more regularly in the interests of seeing where it goes. Like Michael, you start wondering if you might have it in you to go legit. And for a while it looks like you might be able to pull it off. But then…
The Godfather-esque unfortunate event happens. For whatever reason it doesn’t work out and they’re back to the casual dating. And on the surface it’s not a big deal; people go their separate ways all the time. But, like Michael, the bigger picture is that try as hard as you might, they can’t change who they are. Til the day Michael died he wondered if he was beyond changing. It makes one wonder that is once a serial dater always a serial dater? In some ways it makes them cynical about anything beyond casual dating. They may think, “Man I let my guard down and it blew up in my face. I shoulda known better!”
But in the end and in classic Obama fashion I’m a big believer in change. Can a serial dater change his (or her) stripes? Probably. But, like Michael Corleone, we may have to leave a trail of bodies behind us on the road to becoming legit.
You can learn more about Jon at www.jonibrahim.com and make sure to check out his podcasts “The Fireman & The Shrink” and all the other cool sex stuff on NBC’s Better Sex page at www.nbc5.com/bettersex. You can email Jon at firstname.lastname@example.org