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Couple Safari: Studying the Species of the Relationship Kingdom

Updated on May 6, 2013

We have to endure a lot out of life, the majority of it from other people. Some of the greatest annoyances we have to endure are from a special kind of people: couples. When I say couples, I mean all couples, regardless of sexual orientation. They all have a certain air about them and act a certain way, each different from the last. We've all been around couples either by choice or otherwise and after all that time around all these different couples, you can’t help but notice they fall into certain categories. In fact, it’s almost like a safari or even a nature documentary when you really look into these people. Based on the experiences of others and myself, I've decided to compile a list of all types of couples, and most of them are jabbed at quite frequently. Let us explore the species of the relationship kingdom.

The Couple That Shouldn't Be or the Why Couple – If these two were Waldo, the “where” would immediately become “there.” You hear it in their conversations, even when they try to cover it up. Sometimes there’s a passive-aggressive comment by one, sometimes there’s an aggressive comment by the other. Either way, the phrase “trouble in paradise” fails to completely sum it up. If relationships could be rated in nuclear disasters, they would be Three Mile Island, one step below Chernobyl, which is reserved for relationships that involve arrest records and restraining orders. The strain within the relationship is painfully obvious as one has to walk on eggshells when around the other, not allowed to do some things on their own, like hang out with their own friends. I also give them the alternate title because you wonder why they’re together or even how they got together in the first place. In fact, after you see them at one place where they are strangely comfortable enough to unveil their dysfunction, here’s exactly what you’ll ask yourself or a third party: “Why are these people together?”

The Arrogant Couple – You don’t see this couple, but you hear them loud and clear. When hanging around this couple, they are never afraid to talk about other couples and none of it is usually pleasant. They are not afraid to be braggarts of their own relationship through overuse of physical contact and the judgment of other couples. While they may have some validity with a couple or two, usually the Why Couple, their shared ego is one that should deny them the privilege to do so. What’s worse is they are always around, vaunting about how great of a significant other they have. It’s not like a once in a while thing after one does some grand romantic gesture to earn it; it’s extremely frequent, especially on their Facebook and Twitter pages. Even in a long distance relationship where they can hardly see each other for an extended period of time, they will brag about how great of a relationship they have and, the most aggravating part of all, how the distance means nothing to them. Truth is we can see past that because distance may make the heart grow fonder but it also makes the mind grow crazy with wandering thoughts. No matter if it’s near of far, they will see themselves as the best couple of all; just a lonely single person sees only happy couples, the Arrogant Couple will only see miserable couples. Perhaps the arrogance is a cover for their insecurities, a way to shield the public from the problems they may have. Still, you can’t take pity on them; their bragging is enough to make that guilt fly away for the winter and the summer. If you can handle the narcissism of these two, you either have the patience of multiple saints or you’re in that sort of relationship.

The Perfect Couple – Perfection is nonexistent, but these two make it pretty close. They do everything every other couple does; they fight, they love, they share, and essentially do everything else together minus sharing a toothbrush and the toilet (Thank god). They are the real life version of Marshal and Lily from How I Met Your Mother, sometimes going to those extremes in closeness. They’re not shy with public displays of affection, but they aren’t slobbering over each other incessantly. They fight, but rarely in public and even then they try to maintain their composure. But what makes them almost perfect is the willingness to set aside the little things for their love. If there is a fight or a fight looming over them, they will do their best to make compromises in order to make their love work, without either one being put out or taking advantage of the other. The worst part is they have no idea how good they really are. Sure, when someone else says it they’ll affirm it, but after that it’s like nothing happened. Some will even try to bring them down, whether it is a former paramour or one of the other couples; even with that, their love remains stalwart. Feel a little jealous of them? You’re not alone; they are the envy of singles and other couples alike. Humbled and gracious, they are the model couple for everyone strives to be them and yet mostly, they don’t even come close.

The Couple That Should Be (But Isn't) – Remember Ross and Rachel of Friends, or JD and Eliot of Scrubs? You remember watching them on TV every night and screaming at the screen, “Come on already, just get together and stay together!” I wish this was only in the movies where two people are mutually attracted to each other get together in spite of their personal and internal damages. Sadly, art imitates life and you know people like these, who share a mutual attraction and yet do very little to get together. All of their friends see they would work well together and even occasionally nudge them a wee bit closer every time, despite the fact they will run like their bums are on fire. Think of this couple as a potential merger in the market. You know they can do major good together and are a sound investment, but they won’t go forth with the merger for whatever reason. Annoying as they may be, you want them to get together because you’ll love to see them together. Sadly, reality is the only true judge of whether they’ll be a couple or not. If it happens, it does and if not, it doesn't In actuality, it may take years and some bad decisions before or even if these two actually get the fairy tale treatment. Personally as a romantic, I always hope for it.

The PDA Couple or the Gross Couple – In Dante’s Divine Comedy, when he entered the second circle of the Inferno, he saw within the whirlwind that was the circle of lust Marc Anthony and Cleopatra. If you thought these two were gooey with lust and romance, this couple makes them look like prudes. For those who don’t know, PDA is an initialism for the phrase “Public Display of Affection.” A public display of affection is any obvious romantic or sexual gesture out in an area that can be accessed by the general public. You see them in a booth at bars and especially on the dance floor; they are a thin layer of clothing away from staging their own live porno flick. Unlike in the movies, not all of the PDA couples are good looking. Granted, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and affection by itself is considered beautiful. However if there are two Yetis at one more shot away from being brought up a morals charge, that old cliché is gone. Even if they were most beautiful people in the world, if they are going at it each other with extreme lustful passion, you’d still be green, but out not of envy. I give them an alternate title as well because every time you see this, you feel like you’re going to lose five pounds in the least pleasant way possible. Try to avoid this slobbering couple at all cost if you want to avoid a bad case of nausea, though it’s like trying to avoid a cold during the winter.

The “Open” Couple – This is a rare breed of couple, like finding an Albino Rhino in the wild. According to lore, this also happens to be every man’s fantasy; not the kind of fantasy you’d find in Penthouse Forum, more like finding a real live unicorn. Truth is this is not every man’s fantasy, just the ones with either unrealistic idealistic desires or insecure yet massive egos. The basis of the open couple, better known as the open relationship, is that both parties are able to pursue sexual relations outside of their own relationship. A fun way to describe this is a recipe for disaster. Biologically as humans, we are not meant to be in monogamous relationships, the basis of the open relationship by utilizing science on a bad idea. Emotionally, however, we want the security of that one person; it’s been engrained into our minds for hundreds of years since the decay of the arranged marriage and the rise of marriage based on romantic love and freedom of choice (well, relatively speaking). But if the one we perceive to be the one for us is gallivanting with a third-party, the green-eyed monster will rise, even if you are also engaging in a similar situation. A chance encounter with this rare couple is like finding oil in your backyard, only without the wealth and all of the damage. Avoid being in and around this future train wreck.

The “Old” Couple – This couple doesn't have to be old to act old. They have been together for a long while, and they know things about each other that no one else wants to know. They argue like The Couple That Shouldn't Be, but with a major difference; they just bicker, not try and kill each other. When most people hear bicker, they are given the image of an old married couple arguing about the ripeness of a plum or the position of a chair. Even if the two people are in their twenties, if they are together long enough, the filters come off and they will say whatever comes to their minds in a split second as if they were already married. This couple is both hilarious and annoying due to the ridiculousness of the situation. The first time they argue about the minutia of life, let’s say ordering an appetizer, you’ll laugh your butt off over the silliness of it all. “You can’t have cheese,” one will snap, the other will go, “I don’t care, I like cheese,” and the former will end with a witty “You don’t have to sleep next to you.” The first time is hilarious; it’s like watching an episode of Seinfeld. Time and time again, however, you’ll feel like their full-grown kid and have the urge to find your own space immediately. But there is an enviable quality to it. They bicker about such nonsense because they have reached the zenith of comfort. They have obtained such a level of comfort and familiarity with each other that one will pass gas while the other is still in the room. This is epitome of the combination of sweet and annoying.

The “Young” Couple or the New Couple – This doesn't require much explanation, but I will explain it for good measure. This is how the majority of couples start off as, regardless if they recall or not. They have the attributes of the PDA Couple and the Arrogant Couple with one difference; they are totally naïve of it. They will go at it like rabbits on Viagra and think to themselves how awesome of a couple they are compared to their friends. Like the “Old” Couple, age is not a factor, because you will occasionally see this with older people in a new relationship. Even if they were in their eighties and have been married before, they will act like high school kids again. You can’t really blame them because what they are going through is fresh. It’s like getting the latest iPad; you love all the new features on it, but you also know that a new one is coming out six months. Give them a break because it won’t be long until we find out what kind of couple they are, much like finding out with a caterpillar will become either a butterfly or a moth.

The Amalgamation Couple – It’s not a pretty title, but it’s appropriate for this special kind of couple. You've heard of this before, when a couple is together for a long time, they begin to look and act like each other. This isn't just a jab at aging; it’s a jab at the couples that basically become one entity. Normally, this should be frowned upon, but not condemned. I say this because even in a couple, there should be a line of independence between them in order for them to grow as individuals and then grow as a couple. But sometimes it should be celebrated that they've become so close and other times it should be condemned outright. The good ones are the kind who finish each other’s sentences, wear similar clothes (primarily unisex thankfully), and are generally cutesy. Usually both of their good qualities come together in a ray of sunshine brought by the pure bliss of being together. Okay, it’s a little sickeningly sweet and a wee obnoxious, but it pales in comparison to its antithesis. The bad ones are parallel to former conjoined twins with one of them absorbing the smaller weaker one in the womb. The more dominant personality of this couple engulfs any good personality traits the lesser personality has and makes their bad qualities more apparent. This, sadly, is the end result of the worst kind of couples. Ironically, it falls along the lines of the classic genres of drama: comedy for the good ones and tragedy for the bad ones.

The Hiding Couple or the Ninja Couple – This is one of the more peculiar couples by nature. They are loving, make no mistake about that; you just don’t see it. These two keep their relationship private, so much so you have no idea what they really are until you catch them in an act of affection. When no one is around, the emotions gush out like water from a crack in a dam. Sometimes one is on the phone with the other, speaking sweet nothings to him or her. Other times they’re on your couch when they think you’re out and there they are, making out. They do everything a normal couple does, but only in absolute secrecy and privacy; when you walk in on them, it’s almost like a nature documentary, sans the British narrator. They also earn the title of Ninja Couple for the exact same reason. However, one should remember like the animal caught on tape or the ninja’s location found out, the consequences of the one finding them would be dire. Among the consequences could be being chased out of the room or, for the sake of humor and the alternate moniker, they could throw ninja stars at you.

If you think I’m missing something, you may be right. I am missing the couple that belongs on Law and Order and I did that intentionally. I never put any sort of dysfunctional couples on this list because they need more than the judgment of friends; they need the judgment of a person in a black robe convinced by one of two people in suits. This sort of relationship is not funny in any sense, unless it was in the realm of dark or shock humor. Besides, any jokes I would make would be in incredibly bad taste and would be disrespectful to a serious situation. But everyone else here is written down for two reasons: one for identification and two to take them down a peg. We have to deal with their shenanigans and drama on a daily basis, so why not a little humorous and light-hearted pay back? There’s nothing wrong with poking fun at couples, especially when you’re single and all you see are couples. The best way to deal with it all is with humor, especially with humor at someone else’s expense.

By the way, you can play home game by printing this out, carrying it with you wherever you go, and crossing off the couples you've met. Happy hunting!

Couple Safari Home Game

Check Here
The Couple That Shouldn't Be
The Arrogant Couple
The Perfect Couple
The Couple That Should Be
The PDA Couple
The "Old" Couple
The "Young" Couple
The Amalgamtion
The Ninja Couple


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