The other half

You know how it is when you wake up in the morning with a supremely annoying lyric dancing around in your brain?

Robbie Williams or One Direction or something you know you're going to bust out uncoolly in front of cool people.

You know how much more annoying it is when you wake up with Jerry McGuire inside your head going ''You complete me''?

Massively more annoying. Completely more annoying, that's how much.

This thing about people completing each other was not first posited by Hollywood but by Plato's Aristophanes in his Symposium.

Apparently we all used to be powerful, round two-faced four-legged people.


Until Zeus got angry and suspicious, that is, and did what Zeus does best: whacked out a completely massive firebolt.

He proceeded to lop our round ancestors neatly in half, condemning us to spend the rest of our days looking for the one who would make us whole again.

Zeus probably didn't know this would lead to the filming of a zillion mush movies, or he may have stayed his anger.

I remember having very serious university debates about finding the One completer.

We came to the conclusion that there might not be just one One to meet, but if you were lucky you might collide with one of the Ones.


We were probably blathering on some kind of cheap cider-fuelled idealism because now I am mature and sensible (apart from when I catch myself singing ''You don't know you're beautifu-u-ull and that's what makes you beautiful'' with a little hip wiggle) I know that completion is mostly a myth.

It's a pretty big ask to live up to. Something that is complete is full, entire, whole, lacking nothing, having all parts and elements.

Like an egg.

Which is a complete protein (containing all nine essential amino acids).

Which, note well, is different to being a complete egg.

And peanut butter, on the other hand, is an incomplete protein.

Which is why it looks at toast in the morning and says ''Help me help you ... you complete me!''.

Lots of things are marketed to us on their ability to tick all the boxes.

A kind of cover-all-bases reassurance.

We're not just going to clean your car.

We're going to give it a complete clean.

And as for make-up, you want one that does the whole, complete job.

Everything, everywhere.

Why would you bother to have different shades of things in different places?

Why you would bother to wear make-up at all is beyond me anyway, but then I admit to being a complete novice in that particular area of care.

What I would like to find as a soulmate is the complete shoe, transcending all fashion and practicality boundaries.

Chance'd be a fine thing.

But there are complete things I am completely in favour of. Group singing, for one.

If you're in a choir, congratulations, you're partaking in something that lights up every iddy-biddy bit of your brain, waaaay more beneficial than crooning Robbie songs alone under your breath.

Incidentally, there are more choirs in the UK than fish and chip shops now, so perhaps there is some hope in the world.

Another completely good complete activity is swimming. Strength, stamina and suppleness all rolled into one workout.

Except you might need the mental fortitudinal relief of a nice group song afterwards if you pick the wrong-time-of-day lane frenzy at the Wanaka pool and come out completely wrung out instead.

Complete can also mean finished, total, over, done.

Complete is the end of things, which is another reason to be very suspicious of Jerry McShow-Me-The-Money claiming it as a positive.

Complete is like Happily Ever After, fade to hazy happiness and that's a wrap.

Completion is well rounded, two-faced satisfaction.

It is precisely the lack of completeness that keeps us striving, keeps students theorising and keeps me buying pair after pair after pair of errant shoes.

Add a Comment

Local journalism matters - now more than ever

As the Covid-19 pandemic brings the world into uncharted waters, Otago Daily Times reporters and photographers continue to bring you the stories that matter. For more than 158 years our journalists have provided readers with local news you can trust. This is more important now than ever.

As advertising drops off during the pandemic, support from our readers is crucial. You can help us continue to bring you news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter