what is love?

Another piece recently found that has never been posted.

What is love?
Filed under: miscellany ó lmr @ 12:22 am

I cannot accurately describe or give a definition that would be beneficial to anyone. it’s like the scene in Reality Bites when Winona is asked to define irony and she can’t. Love, like the word irony, is something we bandy about as much as we do like asking for salt and pepper to grace our meals. So lets take a step back and look at the cultural context first and then I’ll get into my own biography and then what I think love is and isn’t.

Part of the problem, as Sam suggested, is that we are programmed to think of love as material concept, not an emotional one (an interpretation of his post that I took). Look at women’s magazines, like Cosmo and Vogue. it’s about the physical passion and the ripping of the clothes and 10 tips to give better head. There is nothing (last I looked) that suggest that it’s more than a physical desire about being ravished. Mens magazines are just as bad. While I will always advocate porn, and I believe that it can be interesting as a tool, I know that many people disagree with me on that. Love, it seems, for most people is all about the physical and never about the mental. Look at any bar on a Friday or Saturday night with the women ho-banged out and the men jockeying for the prize. But it’s like that image that has been floating around the internet for ages: a beautiful woman is showcased with the caption, “somewhere, someone is tired of fucking her.” A lot of women believe that they won’t be accepted unless they are trophy and they will obtain and go to any length to achieve that perfection. When I was doing research for my boob paper last semester, the amount spent on breast augmentation was in the hundreds of millions. Why? Because women have been programmed that if they have bigger boobs, they will be loved. If they are a perfect 10, they will be loved. If they do all these things, they will be loved.

But once they start to age, and their perfection lessons, these women are left holding the bag. They are ditched for younger versions of themselves. it’s a complete double standard. But that is a rant for another day.

The thing is, there really is not medium ground. You either have magazines/songs/movies/book that tell you to either ho-bang yourself out or you have the extreme opposite where we are told we do not need a man in our lives. We are told to strive for our careers, our needs and when we hit our 40s, 50s, we find that the dating pool has shrunk, men in that age group want the younger versions and we have no one to share our lives with.

Where is the balance? Where is the compromise? Where is the million and one things that consist of a relationship, a true relationship?

And is it any wonder that as a society, we are so fucking confused? We are told we have to follow specific plans and if we deviate from those plans, we are fucked. I’m 33. I’m already hearing it now from my maiden aunts that at my age I’ll never have children OR get married because I’m past my prime!? Say WHAT!

We flounder in the dark about love because the messages being sent are confusing. We cannot aptly define it or describe it that will give anyone satisfaction. My definition will not satiate someone else. But that is the key, I think. It is my definition.

So, I’ll begin at the beginning and we’ll see where this ends up.

My parents split when I was five months old. I grew up, literally, in a house full of women with my maternal grandfather occasionally making an appearance. And if you believe soft science like psychology, my idea of romantic relationships was gleaned from books ó not just from the culture that I grew up in. My mother was (and still is) a very independent woman. She married my father, not necessarily out of love, but because he was the first person to ask her. His alcoholism and abuse drove her away. Her idea of relationships was passed down on to me, unconsciously.

I was the dorky little kid growing up that had very little friends. I was too tall, too smart and to adult (because I grew up in a house of adults, little interaction with children). I was alone most of the time and alone with my books. When I got older, I grew taller, filled out and suddenly, I was ìdesired.î I was 5’10 and 135lbs and wore a size 34C bra. Puberty, it sucks. I was leered at and treated like meat. I was called a whore after nearly being gang raped by the high school swim team on a trip to Kentucky. Guys would set up dates with me but after realising I would not put out, had not done any of the lies that was spread about me, I was ceremoniously dumped.

By the time I had lost my virginity at the age of 17, it was not candles and romance. It was a planned event because I was tired of fighting for something, this Romantic (capital R) idea of love that i had installed in my brain thanks in part to my diet of Danielle Steel and Jackie Collins books. I believed that some day, some man was going to love me for me not because I had perky tits and ass and could give head better than an expensive whore. Leading the life I lead then, seeing what I saw then, and knowing what I did then, I never ever expected that anyone would want the brain and soul of Lisa they would just want the body so in a sense, I gave up.

What is happening, in my eyes, is this: We find someone we are attracted to physically. We run down the gamut of physical desires and leave the emotional/mental/spiritual aspect for another time. Once the passion cools, we feel we are in love because someone desires us and we let our rose-colored view of the relationship cloud our judgment. We reconcile the bad traits and think we can change them. We stick them up on pedestals and forget they are human. When they fall short of our expectations, we announce the relationship is over and we move on to the next person. I do it, my friends do it, we all do it. When the going gets tough, someone gets going. We have an innate fear of depending on someone, even emotionally, because that means we are to make ourselves vulnerable and by doing so we have to give up a piece of ourselves and as a general commentary, our society is too much of an instant gratification society. We don’t wait. We don’t try to learn. We are not patient. We don’t try to get to know the other person, we just want what we want now and damn the ramifications later.

Due to my upbringing and my own ideas, I straddle between two worlds. I straddle between the one where I want the knight in shining armor to come save me and the one where I’m this completely independent person where I share my life with them when I want to share it. And my problem is, always has been, is that I cannot reconcile those worlds. I’m working on it, but, I’m human.

To me, a definition of the romantic sense of love is this (in no particular order):
It is someone who respects me as much as I respect them.
It is someone who understands that I am not perfect nor do I expect them to be perfect.
It is someone who knows that I’m not always right, that I make mistakes and that I falter from time to time.
It is someone I can feel a true sense of intimacy with, physically and emotionally.
It is someone whom I will not place on a pedestal to fit an ideal that I have created in my head, and vice versa.
It is someone whom can accept me just the way I am, physically and emotionally and realise, we are all a little bit broken.
It is someone whom understands that sex is important to me, but should not be a crux of the relationship. That sexual intimacy is something we are both comfortable with and that I can switch from vanilla to swirl to chocolate in a heart beat and will not ask me to compromise on this issue. heh.
It is someone whom will never ask me to change, nor will I ask them to change.
It is someone who will be there for me when I need them, emotionally and spiritually, and I will be the same for them.
It is someone whom understands that while I will build a life with them, I’m also independent to have a life without them. I do not need someone to complete me, I just want someone to understand me.
It is someone whom that realises that monogamy plays an important part of my desire to be in a relationship.
It is someone whom understands that hearing complimentary things is not about being insecure, but is about knowing we are valued and appreciated.
It is someone who realizes that trust is important and that it has to be earned.
It is someone who understands the need for a great cuddling session that is non-sexual.
It is someone whom feels comfortable giving themselves to me as I to them.
It is someone who will hold my hand in public or ravish me in the car. Someone who wants to be touched and likes to be touched by me.
It is someone who is willing to discuss problems and make compromises without feeling like they are being slighted. I want an equal in a relationship, not someone who needs me to make all the decisions.
It is someone who mentally engages me.
It is someone who makes me want to be a better person.
It is someone who understands I’m an obstinate, pushy bitch sometimes. That part is important.
It is someone who is not afraid to be real with me and will let me see them, warts and all.

I’ve been part of or have seen recently many encounters where the word love was bandied about. For some, I think it’s a means of conquest or tool to control. For others, it is comfort and agony, and the pain we will put ourselves through to be loved. There really is no easy answer, but what I’ve learned this past year is that in order for a relationship to work, both parties have to have a similar agreement on what love or at least what a relationship IS. Communication is the key and from what I’ve experienced and from what I’ve seen, this is not happening. At all.

We all want to be special. We all want that soul-searing flush of the first kiss. We want that feeling of being treated like we are important in someones life. That we have the capability to WANT to feel that importance. But what matters, and will always matter, is what happens when the passion cools and reality sets in. It is here, where we see if we love or if we lust.

I realise this diatribe, as lengthy as it is, is strange coming from someone who is in no position to be in a romantic relationship. I’m well aware of that. Experience, age and perhaps a little heartbreak along the way has shown me that the one thing I still have is hope. Hope that one day I will be strong enough to give and to receive ìlove.î Hope that even though I’ve set a tall order above it can be met. Hope that while I’m a romantic fool at heart,that there is a rational being who is still thinking and breathing. Of someone who sees that there is a compromise between these two worlds.

But what I will say, is that love doesn’t have to be tragic. It doesn’t have to be Iseult/Tristan or Romeo/Juliet. I shouldn’t have to beg someone to be with me, they should just want to be with me. And vice versa. I think when you know you love someone, you realise that your world is made brighter by that person, that little jokes and insights, and all the quirky things that make that person them is what you love. it’s not the prefect body or the big fat cock, it’s when they are sick or feeling terrible, that you want to shoulder that responsibility with them. Or the fact they feel I’m at my most beautiful when I just get out of bed in the morning, with my hair zinging everywhere, I’m cranky sans coffee and am wearing ratty pjs with my glasses on.

I think love is a compromise, hard work and the ability to love unconditionally, but I think what my ideals are not uncompromisable. I’m not trying to be black/white here, but, while there is some leniency to some of these things, others are not touchable.

And I just got the feeling I’m going to be single for a long, long, time. heh.