Love: The Most Dangerous Game

Valentine’s Day has once again reared its ugly head, bearing down on us with leather wings to give chase, tentacles to strangle and claws to eviscerate. When you’re a single person whose greatest fear is dying alone, the holiday is less a romantic occasion and more in line with some abstract Eldritch horror from the pages of H.P. Lovecraft. Sometimes to court nothing is to court madness itself.

Which isn’t to say that having a significant other doesn’t present its own challenges, and I’m here to speak on that in particular. Don’t worry about me; I’ll do the adult thing and just bottle up my feelings inside, turn off the lights in my apartment, and listen to “Hold The Line” by Toto on an infinite loop like a grown-up.

As for you? You’ve got someone in your life, someone special, a boo. A bae. A buh.

You want to do something really remarkable this year. A date that will blow every other Valentine’s Day completely out of the water. You’ve done the dinner and a movie thing. You’ve done the cute little coupon book thing that involved you both awkwardly attempting to expand your sexual horizons, which ended in a hospital visit and Yo Gabba Gabba becoming an emotional trigger. So how do you step up your romance game?

They say that if you love something you should set it free. But that’s only part of it. I say if you love something you should set it free and then hunt it for sport. It’s guaranteed to be unlike any romantic evening the two of you have ever had, and there’s all kinds of great benefits.

Remember how you made that really obnoxious resolution together as a couple to be accountability buddies for a new workout routine in 2015? CrossFit ain’t got shit on being pursued through the goddamn jungle as you tap into your basic survival instincts to escape a grisly murder at the hands of your loved one. You’ll run and work all your muscles by swimming, climbing trees, and fashioning crude weapons from only what you find in nature as you both do your level best to kill or be killed.

“Where do you want to eat tonight?”

“Oh, I don’t care, what do you want?”

Welcome to the jungle, we’ve got sticks and bugs! That’s what you’re gonna be chowing down on. If you’re lucky and have a steady hand, maybe you can fashion a spear to stab you up some fish, but you’re gonna be hard-pressed for choice in the wilderness. Plus, you’re not gonna have the luxury of time needed for those inane back-and-forths to decide what life-giving sustenance you need to cram in your mouth hole for the nourishment needed to survive this romantic wilderness survival gauntlet. Get busy eating moss and berries or get busy falling into that Burmese tiger trap that your lover so painstakingly crafted just for you on this very special day.

You’ve done the dinner and a movie thing. You’ve done the cute little coupon book thing that involved you both awkwardly attempting to expand your sexual horizons, which ended in a hospital visit and Yo Gabba Gabba becoming an emotional trigger. So how do you step up your romance game?

When you love someone, you become very emotionally invested in each other, which often means you’ll fight. Maybe it’s over something small like leaving a single ice cube instead of refilling the tray when you have your nightly sweet tea like we all know you like to do. Maybe it’s over that time she said your band was stupid, and you’ve been holding on to that for awhile because that was a pretty mean and shitty thing for her to say. But all of those issues get pushed to the side because now love is literally a battlefield. There’s no reason to try to trip each other up in an argument when you can snatch their ass up in a tree snare. No cause to hurt each other with words when you can use your summer camp knowledge to fashion a nice little Ugandan knife trap. Conflict in a relationship can lead to a heavy heart, but it’s nothing compared to the crushing weight of finding yourself caught under a Paiute deadfall. Oldest trick in the book and you fell for it.

The obvious con is that one of you doesn’t make it out alive, but hey—everything happens for a reason, right?

If you both find yourselves equally matched and survive this contest? You’ve come through it not only physically intact, but with a deeper emotional bond and understanding, and your relationship will be that much stronger as a result. And when your children say, “How comes Daddy only has one eye?” or “Mommy, what’s up with that prosthetic leg that looks like it maybe replaced an appendage that was lost due to infection from slipping into a punji pit?” you can both knowingly smile, look at your children and tell them it was all for love.

Man is the most dangerous game. But love is a close second.

Columbus comedian Dustin Meadows is available for relationship advice at thedustinmeadows.com.

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