Sometimes I wonder if the decision to have a series of dating relationships is kind of like the decision to get a tattoo. Whatever design I might get tattooed on me now, that mark of what once seemed so profound would probably mean little to me five years from now, but it'd be with me for the rest of my life. Like turning a kaleidoscope, you just can't find that bit of red glass among the shards anymore.
And a series of dating relationships wherein neither party has a structured plan where they want the relationship to go (no, 'as far as she'll let me' or even 'as far as it'll go' does not count) seems ultimately meaningless when I think about the likelihood of the permanence of most such relationships. People go out with people who aren't good for them or end in the proverbial 'heartbreak' of song and story, five or ten years later they're shaking their heads and wondering what they were thinking. I mean, how many people actually are still with their high school boyfriends? (Yes, I know some people still are. The exception that proves the rule.) I could never understand why people would ever have that kind of 'whatever comes' relationship with no real end goal in mind.
Some time ago, I read a book on tattoo culture in which several people talked about their countless tattoos. One of the men explained that he has no regrets about any of his tattoos, for he tattoos his body to chronicle his life, not make a mark that means the same thing ten years down the road. It doesn't matter that he's not still with his then-girlfriend 'Ash' or that the compass he once thought such a powerful symbol now might seem trite. It was all a part of his life, part of who he was, and who he was made him who he is today.
While I'm still not rushing out to get that 'bold enough to make mistakes' tattoo, I understand better why some people ink their bodies forever, to commemorate an oft-fleeting mindset. And if that is anything like why people so frequently have a fancy-free dating mindset, then I understand the reasoning a little better.