I had to pass this on.

Stolen from here, originally here.

In my college biology class I was bored and underwhelmed and had three hours twice a week to sit in a wooden chair and daydream. That was when I developed a theory about relationships. It became a pretty robust theory and I called it “The Brick Wall.”

So, anyway, at age 19 it seemed to me that men came at a new relationship with a woman as if she were this cute, adorable, perfect little brick wall. But then the guy would discover some flaw and whoops, take out one brick. Or maybe he finds out she is grumpy in the morning. There goes a brick. She’s jealous about his ex-girlfriend calling night and day? There goes another brick. Maybe two. And before long, this perfect woman he’s met is just another partially exposed pile of bricks and not the delightful picture of completion he expected. She’s a big messy pile of bricks and he goes looking for a new, perfect brick wall and the cycle starts all over again.

In the Theory, women come at it a different way — not better or worse, just different.

Women start with one brick: A man. They get a brick each time they find out something new about him (likes animals: add one brick, good kisser: brick, calls the day after the first date: six bricks…) and so on. Before long she is putting together a picture of this man, assembling her brick wall of him out of the things she’s uncovering. And here is the key to my teenage mind’s theory: when there are big open spaces in the brick wall, the woman will use her willpower and love to fill in the gaps. Sometimes this holds that brick wall together for a long while. But if the gaps are filled in with her personal mortar of love (instead of real bricks from him) the whole thing just collapses. And just like the guy, she finds herself staring at a big pile of bricks.

(Also, it is possible I was deep in my existential literature classes at the time, duly noted.)

I didn’t draw a final conclusion from my old Brick Wall Theory. It was just a way of explaining how I thought men and women approached romantic love differently. Gave me something to think about while staring out the window in Biology class.

Now that I am much older and many bricks along, I think my theory was a pretty accurate one in some ways. Sometimes I feel like my life is just one big classroom full of what I fondly call AFGOs. (That stands for Another F***ing Growth Opportunity.) (I am also very classy.) Learning about perception was the class I took in 2007. I woke up, showed up for life, and got a big lesson in bricks. For one thing, nothing exposes you to “input” faster than putting a piece of your life out to the public. And then meeting said public. I wouldn’t change it for the world, because it is how I developed my Bricks Don’t Float theory.

Bricks Do Not Float
* Also, note to self: develop catchier name for theory

Bricks don’t float. When you are flowing down the river of your life and you reach out for bricks, you will slow the flow and get to see a whole lot less of your river in your lifetime. If people are always throwing bricks in your river, and you see those bricks and start gathering them and holding on to them and keeping all those random, mismatched bricks other people throw at you, you will again slow down and maybe even stop and you’ll be stuck in the same stagnant pool of water for a really long time.

But bricks happen. People will try to tell you who you are everyday and twice on Sunday. If you just ignore the bricks, let them sink to the bottom, you can keep going with the flow of your life. Keep moving on up, along, forward. Sometimes the bricks hurt and you may pause for a moment, but then you let go of it, drop that brick and just keep going.
Anyway, bricks are your pre-conceived notions of a thing. Bricks are what you bring to the wall. They aren’t what the wall brings. Maybe the wall wants to be made of stones. Or clay. Or maybe the damn wall wants to be a boat.


Anonymous said...


Thats brilliant.

However, I would rather THROW bricks.

matt said...

I agree -- throwing bricks is definitely more fun than trying to dredge them up from some river.

Also, I seem to have gotten terrible at keeping up with this blog. Gah.