The Giraffe Analogy

Every once in a while I get really down about relationships, sparked by nothing in particular – perhaps a relic of a past relationship with an untactful and indelicate bitch. Whilst these days these moods only last for a couple of hours (opposed to the couple of days that used to linger for less than a year ago), they are still very annoying and a pain to get out of.

The problem is the ‘downer’ effect, or ‘all that goes up must eventually come down’. After a high point in a relationship, when things return to normal I feel as if the relationship has taken a turn for the worst and fall over myself trying to ‘rectify’ things. Of course, nothing has really gone wrong at all, and I am consciously aware that I must avoid being overly clingy or sounding pathetic.

I attempted to explain this over the phone to my girlfriend earlier whilst trying to avoid sounding too brash. The conversation went something like this:

“No, it’s not you… it’s just… like… well, imagine a line graph…”

“A line of giraffes?”

“No, a line… oh, OK then, a line of giraffes. In this herd of giraffes I’ve acquired, there are normal giraffes that are naturally tall; small giraffes that are still quite big; and tall giraffes that are really, really tall. I’ve got them all standing in a line and you can see how their height changes. The small giraffes represent silly arguments and misunderstandings, and the normal giraffes show what we are normally like. The tall giraffes represent really high points.”

“Would this be easier to explain as a line graph?”

“No, let me finish. Just imagine you can’t see any giraffes further than the one you’re already looking at. Imagine for a while you see nothing but really tall giraffes, and they’re all big and impressive. Now imagine that you suddenly get a normal sized giraffe. It’s a giraffe, so it’s still absolutely huge, but it doesn’t seem quite as impressive as the giraffes you’ve already seen so in your mind it’s a bit of a letdown. Do you get me?”

“Yeah, sort of, but it doesn’t make that much sense – I mean, if I had a herd of giraffes I wouldn’t care what size they were because they’re still giraffes and cool and amazing and I’d be so happy and excited to have the herd of giraffes that even the small ones would impress me.”

I honestly can’t remember the last time I smiled as much as when I heard that.

Henceforth, the process of attacks of illogical paranoia being warded off by a witty girlfriend shall be known as ‘The Giraffe Effect’.

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  1. That conversation sounds like those silly powerpoint forwarded emails you get about how you should take what you have and be happy and bla bla bla

    I don’t mean to say that the conversation is silly though, very insightful.

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