Let’s Talk About Love

The kind you clean up with a mop and bucket, like the lost catacombs of Egypt only God knows where we stuck it.

Gross. I do not want to talk about that kind of love. Though, that song is my Karaoke song.

Love is the loftiest emotion humans can attain to, other than the comatose state post-Chinese food indulgence. It is the one thing most sought, used, abused, lost, conquered, and toyed with. Love is kind of a slut, is what I’m saying. It gets around.

Front cover of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Clu...
Love has slept with every person on this album cover. And every member of every band, ever.

Part of my anxiety has always been whether or not people like me, and whether or not there was potential for them to love me. As a child, I would gaze wistfully into my father’s eyes and say, “I love you, daddy.”

And he wouldn’t respond.

I would look at him again. “Daddy, I love you,” I’d say, this time with a twinge of hysteria in my voice.

D. Washington, Berlinale 2000
There are only so many times you can tell this face you love it before it headbutts you right in the nose.

My father’s expression would never change, but he would respond. He would look at me with passivity and say, “Whitney, if you want to know if I love you, just ask.”

I did want to know. I was desperate to know. I was constantly afraid of his disapproval and losing his love, and judging by the fact that I had to ask him if he loved me, I was probably losing it. Or at least being annoying as all get-out. And judging by the fact that now he refuses to talk to me, and when he does it’s vitriolic, I guess I have my answer.

As I got older and experienced the hilarity, insanity, and (oxymoronically) the most singular experience of being in love, I kind of got fed up with it. I became that single person who bemoans the idea of romantic love, instead frolicking in platonic and familial love. I love my friends. I love my family. I love my dog more than I love anything else in this world (besides chocolate chips). But I did not feel the absence of having a romantic love in my life. I had inadvertently sworn off the VD that is love.

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
And the herp that is the rom-com.

Perhaps it was because I did not like knowing that romantic love ends. Perhaps it was because I was used to even the familial bonds of love disintegrating into ashes of resentment and distrust. Perhaps it was because I realized that I date weird people. Whatever it was, I was freed from the desperation of looking for someone to spend my life with. I was freed from that desperation of going to bars and looking for soul mates (people do that, right?). I was freed from the desperation of feeling like I needed someone. I became perfectly self-sufficient and happy with my aloneness. It gave me time to write, and, more importantly, more time to walk around pantsless without fear of being judged. My singledom allowed me to get to know myself better than I ever have, and what I’ve learned is that naked booty dance parties are always more fun by yourself than with another person.

Recently, however, I’ve felt like the idea of falling in love is pretty grand. I’m not trying to force myself into it; I’m not even actively seeking it out beyond expanding my circle of friends. I just realized that love, like the Beatles and Viktor Frankl and Taylor Swift and Your Mom all talk about, is something truly amazing when it happens. And I’m okay with that, and I feel like for the first time in years, I’m no longer avoiding it. Love is no longer the person at the party that I notice and then immediately leave the party. Love is no longer the person that I text one-word responses with no punctuation. I’m not ignoring it anymore. I just don’t force it to hang out with me. Because that’s stupid.

That’s the thing about love: in any form, it’s pretty freaking awesome. But no one should seek out the romantic kind. Seeking love is like trying to find the one clean needle in a haystack full of hypodermic needles from the local hospital dumpster/medical waste farm (that’s a thing, right? It’s totally a thing): it doesn’t matter how close you look, you’re going to get jabbed by something unsanitary (that is so gross) and potentially dangerous.

Hypodermic needle with needle cap
There’s a dick joke in here somewhere, I know it.

No, I don’t search love out. Sure, I have an OkCupid profile and sure, Tinder cracks me up during my breaks at work when my coworkers and I play around with it–but I am not looking for my future soul mate, or even my future crush. I’m on the constant lookout to find new friends who can teach me things and join me on adventures. If I end up dating them, so be it. But I’d rather be your friend first than date you right away and realize you’re infected with the crazy or something.

Pictured: Infected with the crazy… Also, her hair isn’t that color anymore and she’s gained 40 pounds.

To conclude, as I probably should have done paragraphs ago, love is a many splendid thing. It lifts us up, all we need is love.

Oh wait, that’s Moulin Rouge.

Whatever. You get my point, right?

16 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About Love

  1. Ugh, I hate that How to Lose a Guy movie! My wife watches it EVERY time it’s on tv, which is a lot! Lol. Tough dad you had there. My dad wasn’t very keen on emotions and feelings and all that crap, but my mom was. It’s not something I’m comfortable with, sadly, but I tell my daughter, sons and wife I love you as much as I can. It’s nice to hear it, even if we know somebody loves us.

  2. Some of this, I agree entirely, but you can’t avoid love forever. I didn’t expect to meet my boyfriend last year when I visited my old college on a whim. Still, I met him anyway and he’s been nothing but loving and sweet to me ever since. But I’ll agree with How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days- that’s probably one of the worst chick flicks ever. The ones that are really good that you should see are: He’s Just Not That Into You, When Harry Met Sally, and my favorite, Down With Love. Stay true to your heart, sweetie.

    1. Oh, I’m not avoiding it. I was terrified of it for a long time and didn’t want anything to do with it. Now I’m not terrified, nor do I care if it happens or not, as it is wont to do what it pleases.

      Thank you for sharing your little bit!

      He’s Just Not That Into You is one of my favorite movies. It’s so clever.

  3. I dated a guy, and I use the term date loosely here, for a couple of weeks that was so hell bent on finding ‘love’ that he was willing to force it no matter the cost. The day I called it off, one of his arguments to staying together was that he was making plans for us to move in together. We had absolutely nothing in common and by that point, I had learned enough about him that he actually repulsed me. Just one of those guys that was so scared to be alone that he’d shack up with a woman that cringed when he got too close. I never understood that.

  4. love crept up on me and I pushed it back, because I was so afraid, and sure, that it was one-sided. So I was in denial for a long time, unsure because it was the first time I ever felt something that could be love. But when the man I love said those three words back to me, it was one of the happiest moments of my life. I was afraid of love, and still am sometimes… it can change a person.
    I’m glad that you are no longer ignoring it. Also, I agree with rachelbethahrens, Down with Love is a great movie!

    1. Fear is the one thing preventing most people from experiencing love, and I recently let go of all of my fear in favor of being open to the possibility of getting punched right in the heart. AND THAT’S TOTALLY COOL! I love it. I’m so content with how everything is, and not being afraid of something that may happen is pretty neat, too.

  5. “Love is the loftiest emotion humans can attain to, other than the comatose state post-Chinese food indulgence. It is the one thing most sought, used, abused, lost, conquered, and toyed with. Love is kind of a slut, is what I’m saying. It gets around.” such a cutie patootie.WITTY :>

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