Ah, relationships. At the tail end of tonight's gym session, while we were vying for one last good pump before it was time to lock up, conversation turned to climbers and relationships. What works, what doesn't, and why the heck it works out that way.
Our scientific observations boiled down to the following:
Girl non-climber + guy climber = most successful
Girl climber + guy climber = moderately successful
Girl climber + guy non-climber = least successful
...with “successful” being operationally defined as you see fit.
Now, since these...equations, if you will, are merely tentative, as all scientific theories ought to be (if I learned nothing else in that goshdarned research methods class last semester, I learned that much), we can merely speculate as to why.
Why does being a climber take such a toll on romantic endeavors? I know relationships aren't easy, climbing or not. I'll admit that I've chosen climbing over relationships in the past when I realized things wouldn't work out. I'm slow to share that passion, because when all is said and done and the relationship is over, climbing is still there. The rocks--plastic or not--are still there. I'm happy when I'm climbing, and I'm happy when I'm with other people that love it.
Sam offered some insight tonight in saying that confidence is attractive. And, as most climbers will agree, climbing builds confidence. Be it your first day or your first lead, there's always room to grow and cultivate that confidence. Is there a threshold at which it's less intriguing and more intimidating to be a confident, climbing-obsessed individual? Do I have it all wrong? Why does it seem to work better when the guy is the climber, or at least moreso than the girl?
It's not just coincidence that I feel at home in this sport, and it's not just happenstance that I have a lot in common with other girls that do. I think there are personality traits that we share, us climbers--guys and girls. I say this very generally, but I do stand by it. I have met some of my dearest friends since becoming a climber. I've never before participated in a sport in which I experience as much of a mental challenge as a physical one, or that provides the kinesthetic processing opportunities that climbing does to me. Climbing by no means solves all my problems, but it occasionally alters how I deal with them and think about them. I've learned about myself and seen my peers do the same. It's exciting.
I don't know that I want the answers to these questions, but the discussions are certainly interesting. What are your criticisms? Theories? Experiences? Thoughts?