The concept of a secret is just utterly romantic. Even the word, all by itself alone, conjures drama and possibility and feeling. Secret. It’s a great imagery. Some sparkling void that is so beautifully terrible it is kept tucked away, like how I used to keep my costume jewels locked in the belly of a plastic rabbit, when I was a small girl with blonde curls and a burgeoning anger management problem.
The thing about actual secrets though (as opposed to the idea of them) – well there are lots of things about secrets. Number one being that I can’t keep them. Sorry, I just can’t. Not my own, not my ex-boyfriends’, not my boss’s, not my mother’s nor my best friend’s nor my taxi drivers’*. Which doesn’t stop people from telling me all their darknesses and then adding, after it’s already too late, ‘but you must promise not to tell. It’s a secret.’
I always tell. Telling is my thing, which is why you came to me. Think about it. Telling is what you must have wanted or else you would have spilled your guts to someone with a greater propensity for compassion and more self-control.
The second, related, thing about secrets is that they really are very destructive. A secret, despite its rakish beauty, is an awful lot like a lie with better street cred.
This creates an obvious romantic paradox; the paradox being that those people with the worst secrets tend to exude an air of mystery and danger, which is very attractive and will make you want to be inside them, while, at the same time, the existence of a secret anywhere in the vicinity of a relationship means things are bound to come tumbling disastrously down, one way or another.
Secrets have a habit of shattering one’s sense of security like nature shatters fine ornamental plates in an earthquake. Which is something most of us could do without. Life is hard enough, as I’m sure you’ll agree.
Secrets also make it very hard to take anyone at face value. Almost all the people who aren’t me have at least one great big life-defining secret that they are not about to tell you. Yes, as we’ve already discussed, this makes them more interesting than would otherwise be the case – but it also ultimately means you are going to have to invest time and potential heartache in discovering whether it’s a real secret (like, they once had sex with their brother, when they were really drunk) or a trivial self-pitying insecurity that no-one else cares about.
Usually it’ll be the latter, which is often worse, romance wise.
There is nothing more disappointing than discovering that an exotically mysterious acquaintance is just suffering from low self-esteem caused by sporadic bacne. Unless you happen to have watched EastEnders in that period when Phil Mitchell became addicted to crack.
What I’m saying then, is that – unless you’re willing to date me, as it appears literally no-one is – secrets are a reason to be single.
And thank God, because I thought I’d more or less run out of reasons to be single and might have to engage in a bit of reflexivity. I am not quite ready to face the fact that the only reason to be single is (number 91, perhaps?) that nobody wants you. That would not be a hilarious blog and would involve astronomical amounts of self-pity. So, I imagine, it’s a thank God from you, too.
*The one exception to this rule being if you tell me you’re pregnant before the 12 week mark. That’s a sacred secret, for obvious reasons. I’ll keep that secret because even I’m not (often) cruel enough to tempt fate in such a careless manner.
**For the uninitiated, today’s image is of a Keyper; the plastic rabbit I used to lock my valuables in as a child. I do not own the copyright to this image. I took the picture from this tumblr. If you do own the copyright, and don’t like that I’ve used it, ask me very nicely and I will take the image down. Please don’t bother making an effort to sue me. I have no money to speak of and I’m already snowed under with neglected life-admin that urgently needs attending to (yes, Barclaycard, I mean you).