I make more money but she/he is better at only buying well-crafted items that are both practical and beautiful.
A selection of thoughts you probably had while staring at a stranger sitting across from you:
- She/he is cuter.
- I’m cuter but she/he dresses better.
- I dress better but she/he has the kind of body that can get away with wearing worse clothes.
- She/he has a more interesting job.
- I have a more interesting job but she/he makes more money.
- I make more money but she/he is better at only buying well-crafted items that are both practical and beautiful.
- I’ve traveled to more countries but she/he has gone to ones that are harder to get to with more challenging language barriers.
- I was more popular in high school.
- I was less popular in high school but aged better.
- I was less popular in high school and aged worse and every conviction I ever had about the world not being fair is right this moment being demonstrated in front of me.
- I went to a worse school.
- I went to a better school but she/he is more down to earth.
- I have a plusher couch that guests like sleeping on but she/he has a more modern one that guests take photos of.
- I have more friends who will listen to my problems but she/he has more friends without kids who will go with them to parties.
- I call my parents more often but hers/his make her/him feel less lonely.
- I’ve broken more hearts.
- Her/his heart’s been broken less.
- I’ve dated more people but she/he has had more friendships turn into relationships.
- I’m so glad I’m not dating her/him.
- I wish I was dating her/him.
- My girlfriend/boyfriend is cuter.
- My girlfriend/boyfriend is funnier.
- My girlfriend/boyfriend is less funny, more ambitious, about the same amount of cute, and has a lower-maintenance family who take it less personally when space is needed during holiday visits.
- Would she/he ever date me?
- Was she/he watching me fix my sock just then?
- If her/his boyfriend/girlfriend were to say, next week, “Think of one person, besides me, who you would want to be with forever,” will it be my face that flits, even for just a second, through her/his head?
Starlee Kine is a contributor to the public radio program This American Life. She does stories about the world's slowest car chase, misunderstood ghosts and presidential library reenactments. She also wrote a torch song with the help of Phil Collins and designed a heartbreak cutting board designed specifally to cut tear-inducing onions on for THE THING Quarterly, to which she is a contributor at large.