There have been a several great loves in my life and most of them have been women. I’ve spent the last ten years of my life ensuring that I had a plethora of fantastical people in my company, romantically and otherwise. I can confidently say that I spend most of my time with some of the most interesting and delightful humans this planet has to offer. They are diverse, intelligent, creative and genuinely care for each other. That doesn’t mean we can’t occasionally become twisted and monstrous versions of ourselves but we try to remain worthwhile people whenever we can. That said, the following is not about friendship but romance.
I don’t know if you’ve ever eaten frozen orange juice concentrate, but it’s like drinking forty glasses of orange juice at once. Love is like frozen friendship concentrate, substantially more delicious and intense than what you are accustomed to. There is really no reason to be in love, it’s just sort of nice when it happens. Nobody has to be in a romantic relationship. There is no law saying that you have to be married by the time you’re thirty, but people in their late twenties everywhere are scrambling to find a partner like we are all in a forth grade gym class trying to avoid getting paired up with the smelly kid. But, during this frantic rush, people are accidentally partnering with the stupid kid, the ugly kid, the boring kid, the abusive kid or becoming the smelly kid themselves. It’s absolute madness. I know a woman who left a man she was really happy with only to spend the next four years desperately trying to find someone that measured up. I’m not going to name names but this woman (Beth Wriggly) ended up with an freelance butcher that beats her with a bag of oranges or, if money is tight, a plastic baggie of ground beef. He also abuses their three marginal children. I made all that up, except for the part about her leaving a better man, him beating her and their three inconsequential children.
By now, you’re probably wondering how you can ascertain whether or not you are in love. Not everyone can tell, but it’s a good sign if your friends are mad at you because you’re not hanging out with them enough. However, this could just indicate that you are in lust or have recently lost your job. The ultimate test is to see if you have also achieved a partially misguided sense of well-being and the world seems suddenly more tolerable. I actually recall a time when a certain woman had made it feel as if the world was a more colorful and vibrant place. The benefit of being in love is that you have someone to share the burden of life with. That said, it’s not always easy to tell if someone loves you back. What I like to do is to ask if I can spit into their mouth. If they give you the okay, without asking for monetary compensation, you can safely assume that they love you. At this point, whether or not you follow through with the spitting is entirely up to you.
If they don’t love you, there are a few options. My favorite is to remain disinterested in everyone all the time until someone that stands out makes it apparent that they like you. When it comes to dating I cannot recommend apathy enough but there is also something to be said for giving up on a person entirely. Romantic gestures are another option but they are fairly difficult to define. What one person might see as romantic might lead another person to immediately call the police. I notice that the closer a relationship is to ending, the crazier these gestures seem to get. I once thought that repeatedly bayonetting my ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend in the face would have been pretty close to the most romantic thing in existence. The scary thing is that sentence came from a person who doesn’t really get all that jealous. Love makes us do crazy things but losing it cranks it up a few extra notches. I am unsure if it is the companionship, the alliance or the sex that makes us go so insane. However, sex seems less likely because I remember experiencing rudimentary love long before having any notion of what intercourse actually entailed.
Of course, after sex becomes a factor, everything changes. Whenever you are around that special someone, you start getting that feeling of butterflies in your stomach, the ones with fangs that bite at your insides. You want to put your hand on the small of their back and, before you know it, the small of their front too.
Let’s say, hypothetically, that you are one of those forlorn people that only feels validated through someone else but you don’t have a significant other because you have more problems than Arkansas and Alabama put together. I assure you that there is absolutely no reason that you have to be in a relationship to be a wonderful and complete person. Even if that were the case, you don’t need to worry because someone else wants whatever it is you have, no matter how nasty it is. Someone out there will always think you are attractive, interesting and exactly what they are looking for. If you’re fortunate to have already found a person like that, enjoy them. You may not have them in your life forever. We don’t always know how to keep important people in our lives and sometimes we don’t really need them anymore. That’s alright, provided you appreciate them for who they are and what they mean to you.
Don’t sell yourself short. Love is bullshit. Always. It holds everyone back, unless you’re Kanye West, and you own a real TR-808.
Love is taking a risk… it’s being vulnerable to the chance of perhaps sharing a life with someone. Humans need companionship… they break if they have none. It’s just part of the human condition, but we have to let go to be able to enjoy it… It’ll only hold you back if you let it.
Ironically, I have found that the lower the intensity of jealousy, or lack of presence at all, the more elevated is the attachment of love. I have wondered how to identify that tipping point when love changes to tolerance, pragmatism, fear of change or safety in no change, or depressing comfortability. The truly lamentable matter is when it turns into hate like a diamond regressing back to coal. Perhaps this tipping point is illustrated by your butterfly as it metamorphosis from the genuine expression of warmth through physical communion into that lecherous, blood sucking vampire. I have the papillon(Fr.) tattooed to center of my chest to remind me that the marisposa(Sp.) seeks its nectar never from a single flower. “I’ve looked at love from both sides now…..it’s love’s illusions I recall…..I really don’t know love at all.”
Carl, you never disappoint me with your comments and your thoughts on my butterfly may make you a mindreader in addition to a possible over-analyst.
insert “…of jealousy” first sentence edit for me please
I don’t usually take advice from insects… but maybe just this once
It’s difficult not to.
You’re right. I have been wondering how to ascertain whether or not I’m in love, or more accurately, whether we both are in love at the same time and with each other – which is the clincher and, apparently, the difficult part.
I had never considered your tactic. Since minding reading and asking blunt questions about their feelings has only worked marginally, I may consider using the mouth-spitting question in the future.
Thanks for this post. I was highly amused.
Let me know how it goes.
From the heights of elation to the depths of despair… It’s trite because it’s unavoidably human. It is, in fact, just a trick of evolution that we feel emotions; but there’s something about the experience of being in love that makes us want to believe in something deeper than biology and chemistry. There’s a logic to it; but ironically, its logic seems counter-productive. We can love as many people as we meet. Love makes the world a more habitable and pleasant place to live. Love motivates us to be kind, to cooperate, to be decent. Being in love makes fools out of us; and like some dirty trick, there’s only a precious few people out there that can have that effect on us, and they’re the exact ones that we would rather keep our heads when around them. Being in love is pretty much insanity, literally. It’s a fun game, I suppose, in spite of the heartache and embarrassment. A friend of mine says that you choose how you let other people impact you; I’d love to learn that trick.
This was more profound than my entire post. Thanks for showing me up, Mike.
You’re lucky I liked what you had to say.
I thought I was just repeating, in more boring terms, what you had written. You set a high bar, posky. I count myself lucky. And Dr. Cynicism is right.
I adore this post. And I believe that the definition of “love” differs almost as widely as the number of people writing books on the topic and the number of poets who can shimmy through the eye of a needle. And for real folks, definitions include “He/she is so hot that I climax when I see him/her cutting his/her toenails” and “I love him because in his heart of hearts, he really isn’t a wife beater or a deranged criminal” and “He picks up the check.” At my advanced age, my notion of “love” has changed considerably since the first moment the thought popped into my little curly head. Thank goodness.
Isn’t it odd how that seems to happen? I’ve noticed it a bit in myself.
lol. those butterflies do like to corrupt us
Bwahaha! You had me laughing all the way through with your witty observations on love and lust.
The mind is the most potent sex organ of all.
The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a Heav’n of Hell, or a Hell of Heav’n. ~ John Milton
The genitals would be nothing without the mind.
This was really interesting to read.
Ground beef is cheaper than oranges?
For a butcher.
Funny funny funny.
love is a slippery fish…
First: Your sketches are cracking me up because 1) they’re funny, and 2) they’re truthful.
And secondly: Very well said. You’ve captured it all up there. Love isn’t easy, but damn it all if it ain’t worth it, right?
I will let you know on my deathbed.
I feel like that might be the only time I’m qualified to answer that question.
Gosh Posky, nice to know that you making a living (while being jobless) by drawing cartoons about me and our life together..
And you didn’t seem to remember all your 5th grade science “lessons” back then, as much as you do now.. !
And, “several great loves in my life and MOST of them have been women”..
Thanks now, I am genuinely offended..
I’ve yet to write about our life together you’ll have to offer me up some material first.
I only wish I could make a living drawing cartoons and telling stories.
That second sketch had me laughing out loud! Baby house and go-zone…brilliant!
I wish I knew in my twenties what I know now, that Love is a lot of work! I think it’s more to do with changing, evolving, growing…call it what you will in a mutually acceptable and pleasurable way…and so often that’s easier said than done.
Great post Mr. Posky!
Yeah, the Go-Zone is among my favorite zones.
I’m happy love isn’t simple. It gives you a lot to think about and is the main agitator for art. However, it would be nice to avoid heartbreak one or two times.
When I first saw the title, I thought it said, “Understanding Your Inner Leprechaun.”
I love the spitting in your mouth part, and this part “repeatedly bayonetting my ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend in the face.”
It seemed totally romantic at the time.
“There is really no reason to be in love, it’s just sort of nice when it happens.”
Even though there’s no real reason to love this line, I just do. With all my heart.
I’m not going to get all gushy but let it be known that I’m glad you love it more than I probably should.
I love the analogy of the orange juice concentrate. And the butterflies.
They are pretty good but they aren’t very accurate are they?
I wish they sold the chemicals that love and sex produce in your brain as a concentrate.
But then we’d all be slobs and there wouldn’t be any babies. Who would take care of us when we’re old and can’t remember who we love?
You’ve been very faithful to your place here on the Press. I’m currently writing a book of short stories and working at my professional trade… making Popsicle sticks. I’ll try to stick my head in more often. Maybe once a day, or once every two days, or every week or maybe bi weekly…. if my head was attached freely at the joint I would leave it here.
I’m jealous. Making popsicle sticks sounds pretty fun.
So does writing a book of short stories. I really hope I get a chance to read it someday soon.
I am always enamored by your posts, but this one just might be my favorite.
My problem has never been falling in love, more like sticking around once the butterflies have subsided. Whenever I get to the point where I can finally eat three square meals again, I over analyze the relationship to the point where I scare myself away. I’m creepy that way.
ps. After reading this, I decided that if you ever asked me if you could spit in my mouth, I would totally let you.
I may also be creepy in that way, but some people make butterflies stay longer than others.
P.S. I’d love to have the opportunity.
In high school… the smelly kid wrote me a letter on the last day of school, giving me his phone number. That was probably the most depressing moment of my teenage years. The smelliest kid in school… the kid who NO ONE would sit next to, the kid who would never be chosen for group work, the kid who obviously wore the same unwashed socks everyday, thought that I was desperate enough to give him a call.
I need to know.
We’re totally married now…
PSYYYYYYYCHE!!! (Yeah, I’m bringing it back.)
No… I never ever called him. Cleanliness is pretty important to me.
I loved this, damn it.
I think I saw you on Facebook. I was about to add you but then I thought – nay, way too creepy of me. I am a wise woman.
Even though that’s cyber stalking, you already committed to the crazy by telling me about. You might as well try and add me and see what happens.
That first cartoon needs to be put on a t-shirt immediately and sold for lots of money my friend. Great stuff!
Just that one shirt?
I am bad with stuff like that. I need someone who can manage my madness for profit. Help?
Toss the frozen orange juice concentrate and haul in a bedful of fresh sweet oranges–clementines will do in a pinch. Instead of ‘spitting’ I go with who do you WANT to share eating oranges with. MMMM.
Yes, this does narrow the ‘field’ considerably.
I love clementine though. I once sang that song “Oh My Darlin'” to one.
We’d be such a perfect match!
Enjoying your claim that you sang “Oh My Darlin Clementine” to someone–especially considering that fact that she drowns in the song. Whatever did the listener make of that?
I did once have an entire bag of absolutely heavenly tasting clementines. None have ever matched them since. Must have been one great tree in a great place catching great sun to mix with great soil yummies.
A good thing to remember. Thanks.
You had me at “can I spit in your mouth?” I’m hooked!
PS Love your drawings….hysterical!
Snagging another reader makes me almost as happy as a nice warm motorcycle ride through a field that grows puppies and kitties.
Oh no, not you too. I’ve been working on letting go of the “butterflies in the belly” notion that’s fed to us by Hollywood movies and romance novels. Butterflies are elusive and illusory. Hoping for them has warped my expectations to an unreachable degree. It’s time to touch ground.
Sometimes you can’t help it. Good sex is exciting and, sometimes, so is love.
I like to make the beginning of a relationship good and ensure that good feeling lasts as long as possible. There is no such thing as having high expectations if you are willing to put in the extra work and feel you deserve the best.
First time on your blog – love it! Just subscribed on the good ole Google Reader. Thanks for making me laugh today – needed it.
I think you really know you’re in true, real love when you’ve slept with the same person so many times that you have to start doing the weird shit in bed just to keep your interest piqued.
Kidding! Love is like a hundred million beautiful snowflakes falling on a hundred million adorable puppies, of course.
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Apathy makes the heart grow fonder? Hmmm