Here’s something: when I was 18, I got engaged. It was a poor reactive choice to end a string of poor choices I felt caught up in. When that relationship fell apart a year later, I made a pros and cons list (what can I say? I'm a list maker). While there was a long list of cons, they did little to outweigh my top pros, which were "don’t want to admit I made a mistake" and "already put deposit on reception hall" (I was 19…don’t judge.) However, after an argument, my then-fiance said something I will never forget; he said "You try to pretend you're cool, but you're just a nerd….You know what? Star Wars is stupid." That was a slap in the face. Not for the Star Wars part of it, but for the implication of what he thought of me on the whole. At that time, I was embarrassed to admit, even to myself, that I had spent close intimate time revealing who I was to someone to whom cruelty came so naturally, so on my list I simply wrote "doesn't like Star Wars" and got the hell out of there.
I’ve recently realized that from that point on, I've never been in a relationship or even really been great friends, with anyone that doesn't have some deep connection with Star Wars.
A few short years later, I moved into my first apartment with my boyfriend at the time. While unpacking I found his Star Wars toys from the 70’s and 80’s. We hadn’t really talked about Star Wars up to that point; grunge was our lifestyle, he was in a band, and our focus was always on music and finding the next good time. We had an “I knew this was true love!” moment over the toys and put up shelves to display them, with the "platinum edition" VHS original trilogy box set nearby. Living expenses and the inevitable breakup of the band had us home more than out and many weekends were spent in love, bonding over repeated Star Wars marathons.
Incidentally, that relationship ended 6 years later as The Phantom Menace was in final production. We had both lamented that we wouldnt be together to see it and would most certainly feel an emotional tug while viewing it in our "lives without each other" (oh yes, that was one sappy relationship. We were like twins separated at birth…which isn't a great recipe for making it long term, but there was genuine love there and I'm happy to have experienced it).
When I was leaving that relationship, I was older and wiser and had a clearer definition of what I wanted out of life. I didn’t make a list, but when I met new people and considered them as potential prospects, I started things off light and inquiried about their feelings towards "Star Wars". That sounds so superficial, but the truth is that a love of Star wars is often indicative of other personality traits that mesh well with mine.
The ex-hubs and I often joke about how we knew we wanted to marry each other on our first date because during a deep, non-Star-Wars-related conversation he interrupted me by saying “I want to kiss you so badly” and I instantly responded with “I know.” (I know saying this is common and cliche these days, but at the time I wasn’t thinking Star Wars at all…I was nervous and falling head over heels in love…it just came out) A few weeks later we went to see The Phantom Menace together and the rest is, as they say, history.
I’ve never thought about all this before, but in my age group, a love of Star Wars often signifys a youth synonymous with being something of an outcast. It wasn’t popular to be a Star Wars fan through the 80’s and 90’s. There’s something of a kindred feeling amongst fans, a shared struggle that came with identifying with something that was by all accounts “popular” but not “cool”… the Heyday of The Geek hadn’t arrived yet.
More often than not the types of people I like share similar character traits. And those character traits are synonymous with the main themes of Star Wars. A deep respect for honor, quietly commanding respect without relying on confrontation, and a believer in Chaotic Good. They are generally immensely talented and/or extremely intelligent. They aren't "nerds" so to speak, but they have this underside that is quite geeky and yet have come to grips with it and taken an approach that shows they are absolutely comfortable with it and not ashamed. They often have had periods in their lives where they didn't feel comfortable with who they were, they didn’t fit in amongst the usual crowds, yet they came to accept themselves and rock what they got.
It’s funny, I’ve never thought about Star Wars as a “make or break” thing in my relationships, even after adding it to a list over 20 years ago. And some might say that it’s foolish to put weight on a thing such as a string of movies, especially now since all of my relationships have ended. I’m not sure about that though. I don’t denigrate any of my relationships just because they didn’t “last forever”. I feel lucky to have had the majority of my past spent in deep and meaningful connection with another person, even though it wasn’t just “the one”, because each one was right at the time.
I do notice, however, I that in my past relationships the ones that I look back on fondly have a shared love of Star Wars and the one I look back on and cringe, asking myself “what was I thinking?!?” does not.
Coincidence? I think not.
-slacking and waxing 😉