I like to think that there are definite pros to going out with me (breasts, weekly blog mentions, good with dogs) but I'd be a fool to think there weren't obvious drawbacks to the Mr. Caroline experience (leaves wet towels on the floor, incapable of speaking at the appropriate volume, seems to never go home).
However, I think the most obvious drawback of going out with me is I'm kind of a dickhead. I'm not trying to be funny. My mother called me yesterday just to tell me I'm a dickhead.
And not just for the terrible things I do and say, like (in this case) not returning her calls, or (in other cases) breaking up with two different people in the same Waterstones, but also for my general lack of taste or respect for anything. I only like about three albums, and will only watch about four kinds of films, and all of those films are The Royal Tenanbaums. And this used to worry me.
Let me explain.
There are more articles on what being in a relationship 'means' then there are articles about how uncomfortable Johnny Depp is with his hearthrob status, and to reiterate any of that information here would be a waste of your time. (Although did you know that Johnny Depp was on the original 21 Jump Street, but hated it so much he got himself fired, just because he was so uncomfortable with his hearthrob status? Yes. Of course you know. Everybody knows.)
However, to get to the heart of this post, it's necessary that I talk a little about what I think relationships are about. But because that is boring, I will keep it brief. Relationships are about spending the majority of your free time hanging out with one person.
And that's only if you win! Almost every relationship everyone has will lose. You can put as many reasons on why this is as you like, but the one that makes the most sense to me is this: "Darling, hanging out with you has become a bit shit."
When Chris and I met, we spent so long having the "No, YOU'RE CUTER." conversation that it took me a while to recognise the glaring error in our relationship. Essentially, we had nothing in common. Chris likes Transformers, explosions and Michael McIntyre. Caroline likes being a giant snob about everything.
Obviously, everything important is there. We like each other, the same people, drinking beer and eating lunch. However, I became concerned that my constant "What is it with you and explosions already?" would prove a drag, and decided that it was time to get on board with at least one thing. I decided that one thing should be Spider-man.
Because every new relationship trying to stand on its shakey calf legs needs a 'thing', Spider-Man became our 'thing'. Admittedly, Spider-Man has been his thing since he was ten, so he had a bit of a head start. So came an onslought of Spider-Man, in his every precious form. What started with the Sam Raimi movies on quiet evenings in became the cartoons on hungover Saturday mornings, which eventually became the comics when there was just nothing else around to read. And somewhere along the way, I just got it.
I love Peter Parker. Actually, I suspect I might be in love with Peter Parker. Further, I suspect I have always been in love with Peter Parker. If I might venture one theory more: I think I am Peter Parker.
This is probably where die hard fans will be keen to correct me: No, Caroline. You are not Peter Parker. You are a blogger from Cork who works in a recruitment firm. I know, guys.
Peter Parker is himself, and he is Spider-Man. When he is Peter Parker, he spends all his time getting stuffed into lockers or acting the spaz at Oscorp or The Daily Bugle. He's a good person, ish, which we know because he likes to pick up stacks of bills that are stuffed behind depressing-looking kitchen appliances and frown at them. Mostly though, he's kind of a spaz. If he's not being a spaz, he's being Spider-Man, who needs to make jokes just to feel even vaguely secure.
It's these elements of Spider-Man's character that sealed my interest, beyond just trying to be a slightly more interesting girlfriend. I know I'm a Johnny-come-lately to this whole scene, but I think it's a big part of the reason why, after fifty years of insect-based puns, people still love Spider-Man.
Spider-Man uses humour as a crutch. Fighting bad guys is scary, and he needs to put something in-between who he is and what frightens him in order to be able to deal with it. As I'm prone to doing, I'm going to take myself as a case study.
I find things scary. I've been a grown-up for almost exactly a year now, and I still feel like I'm faking it. All my family and everyone I've ever known are a plane ride away, and that is something that never stops being scary.
Every now and then, whenever I find myself standing alone in the middle of Piccadilly Circus or Leicester Square, one blistering thought occurs to me: If I dropped dead right now, I wonder how long would it take for my family to find out. Sometimes I find myself so homesick, feeling so completely alone and so horribly out of place that my foremost instinct is to curl into the foetal position and eat a whole jar of Nutella with my hands. And sometimes, that's what it comes to.
But most of the time, I make a joke. I write a blog. I do my best to get on with it, and remind myself that everything I've done - skipping graduation, moving country, taking a succession of terrible jobs and terrible apartments - was my choice.
I keep making jokes, and I keep writing blogs. I try to build up a ridiculous persona of a sassy Irish gal just trying to make good in the big city. Because at the end of the day, every single one of us needs a persona to put between themselves and what frightens them.
It's either that or you pee your tights.