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.