I once dated a man who traveled more than George Clooney's character in Up In The Air. He basically lived in seat 2b on American Airlines. A card-carrying member of the five million mile club, he knew every flight attendant by name and had the privilege of getting on any flight at any time, even if it meant bumping someone else off. A few years with him, and I became an expert traveler myself, able to breeze through TSA screening in record time, compressing everything I needed for up to a week into one Tumi carry-on (they make the largest permissible carry-on) and one personal item—a large Chanel tote that set me back five times the price of the Tumi case. The Chanel tote was big enough to accommodate a 17-inch MacBook Pro, a change of clothes, a pair of shoes, a broad array of reading material, and my TSA approved 3oz toiletries.
When our relationship ended, I was no longer rushing for gates and had time to reflect on what went wrong with our relationship. I never enforced the carry-on rule. In fact, I had a rather lax baggage policy when it came to men, the kind you might expect when flying private: unlimited baggage with no excess fees. As long as he carried it himself, and didn't expect me to lug it around, I was fine with whatever he was holding onto. A rather frugal man, had he been charged per item to tote his emotional baggage around, he would have promptly abandoned it.
While he was adept at breezing through airports and traveling light, his personal life was weighted down with a colorful array of excess baggage. A handful of ex-wives, his lingering resentment towards the previous women in his life whose only interests were spending his money on designer clothes and expensive jewels, and a handful of children, some of whom were in and out of Trouble—note the capital T.
Myself, I have no baggage; no children, no ex-husbands, no family obligations. I am free as a bird. Unencumbered. My life fits neatly into one carry-on and one personal item. Sure, I have two cats, but they are outdoor cats, highly independent despite their lack of thumbs, so I feel they can easily be lumped together as my one personal item. While men may view me as low-maintenance in the personal baggage department, I honestly would rather have a little more to tote around with me—perhaps a teenage child and a civilized ex-husband—than to have not experienced that aspect of life.
Being that I am a carry-on kind of gal both physically and emotionally, I appreciate a man without emotional baggage, one who meets the carry-on requirements and doesn’t have to check the excess. I am aware that at my age (undisclosed), I am unlikely to find a partner sans baggage, so I am willing to compromise as long as he is willing to carry it himself and doesn’t dump it on my shoulders.