A friend of mine recently told me he has stopped trying to impress me. From the ridiculous way he was grinning when he said it I'm pretty sure he meant it as a good thing, indicative of our having passed some sort of relationship milestone, but when phrased indelicately you have to admit the situation comes off as slightly unsavoury. I've prepared a handy table to illustrate:
Table 1 - Appropriate Phrasing of Warts & All-Type Stage in a Relationship (Platonic and Romantic Combined Results)
Note how the subtle nuances in relationship stage nomenclature elicit markedly different responses from test subjects. I'm going to call that last one a kilometerstone due to its being more or less the same thing except way more awkward when you say it.
I catch his drift, though, however dubiously it may have been phrased: we're at a good place. We're settled in for the long haul. We're never, ever going to make out because we've left that magical headspace where potential interactions stretch out in infinite shiny directions and we've gone somewhere more resembling an overstuffed corduroy couch. Maybe a little worn in, maybe a little lumpy around the edges, but exquisitely comfy. 'Hello, old friend,' we'll say, and 'aaaaahhhhh, it's always so good to chill here with you.'
And then, 'Aw, man, did you just fart? WTF?'
Farts aside - a milestone in their own right! - I recognize that this truly does represent a crucial stage in any long-term relationship worth its salt. To all my dear friends out there whom I have long since stopped trying to impress (you should be readily able to identify yourselves based on my deteriorating behaviour over the years), this humble kilometerstone is the one I hold nearest my heart when I think of you. Mwah!
And while busting the warts & all barrier is also a crucial step in any romantic relationship that aspires to any sort of longevity, secretly, my all-time favourite romantic milestone is not this. Instead, it's the first time you zip your sleeping bags together with someone. It just seems so... Canadian, and thereby neatly encompasses several of the best things in the world: Canada, camping, and outdoor sex. Which frequently leads to another distinctly Canadian/camping/sex milestone of importance: doin' it with yer socks on. So practical sometimes!
'Nope. Rocky Mountain barking spider. Hey, make me a s'more, eh?'