Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Friday, July 24, 2009

That Other Four-Letter Word

Yes, let’s talk about Love, baby.

The problem I have with younger people’s notions of love is not the fact that they believe in romance. Romance is fine in and of itself.

But the romance they’re in love with is a fantasy, a lie created by Hollywood, Star Cinema, Mills & Boone, Sweet Valley High, and silly love songs. They get indoctrinated very early on, and it’ll take several crash-and-burns before they realize that the romance they believed in from the start isn’t all happily ever after. Some still insist on believing in the fantasy even as adults, and they find ways to hang on to their belief. But in the end, it remains a fantasy. Because what Hollywood and other romance peddlers do is only to give voice to the sentiment of romance. But they often never offer the brass tacks of how to achieve real romance, meaning romance grounded in the real world.

(In an interview in Entertainment Weekly, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the 28-year old star of the Sundance charmer [500] Days Of Summer, said, “The relationship between the two characters in our movie felt like something that would happen in the world that we live in, as opposed to some propaganda fantasy of Hollywood’s to sell tickets. Audiences our age are savvy. The same kind of hokey, pandering formulas are just not flying as well as they used to.” I disagree with his last statement, though—hokey love stories still rake in big bucks; see The Notebook and Twilight.)

I believe in a romance grounded in reality. It’s a romance that exists in a world of baby diapers, taking out the trash, and dealing with your partner’s friends whom you don’t like.

Which is why when I first saw “The Rules of Love” by Richard Templar, I paused. I’m not a big fan of self-help books and books about love. But I am a sucker for neat book covers. And while flipping through the table of contents, I got curious: How many of the rules do I agree with?

The book is divided into six parts. The first is rules on finding love. The second and longest part is on relationships rules. There are only five rules for parting. Family relationship rules follow, then rules on friendship. The last part is for everyone, because those 4 rules can fit in any situation.

I plowed through the first part for obvious reasons. I skipped the second part—also for obvious reasons—and read the rules on friendship first, followed by family then parting then for everyone. I was honestly surprised that I knew almost all of the rules already. There were one or two which managed to surprise me, but more of the “Oh yeah, thanks for reminding me!” rather than the “Whoa! I never knew that!” kind.

While plodding through the rules on relationship, I realized that I knew most of them already. Which, I suppose, makes me bookishly ready buy practically inexperienced. Oh well.

But the Rules made me feel that, despite being someone already in his 40s but still single since birth, love and romance are actually doable and attainable. Of course, finding that someone is the elusive part, and there’s no guarantee that I’ll get to meet him anytime soon—or ever.

But the very last rule gave me comfort. It said that by helping other people, you help yourself. Being single and unattached isn’t a problem, nor should it be considered a difficult/sad/pathetic/lonely state to be in. But people can get wrapped up in their own single-hood. Whenever that happens, it’s best to put others ahead instead of oneself. That way you get to live a rewarding life, coupled or not.

Hu-what the—?! Oh yeah, I knew that.


Anonimus said...

Haven't read the book but I think we all know what the rules are. I'll make guesses:

1. On finding love -- Don't go to places where a hundred other people are looking for love.

2. Relationship rules. I cook, you slice the veggies. And I should know exactly how salty you'd like your ampalaya con carne to be. You, on the other hand, should know what to say (or not say) when it's too salty.

3. On parting -- don't buy anything you can't divide.

4. Family relationship rules -- you don't have to tell. They'll know. Don't ask for acceptance, because you're not giving them any grandchildren.

5. Friendship rules -- you have to tell, they have to know.

Tristan Tan said...

Can you talk about that OTHER four letter word after hope and love? DIck? He he.

Theo Martin said...

ateng, ang nice naman! Hmm, sige nga be nice to me, pabili! hahaha :)

Ming Meows said...

Selfless do this naman diba? you connect people.

Yung romantic love naman, is very childish so im sure it's not ur type.

The love that i really want to achieve is unconditional and forgiving. Mahirap gawin pero nakakagaan ng loob.

joelmcvie said...

@ANONIMUS: Actually the Rules were written with heteros in mind, though a lot of the rules are for any sexual persuasion. But having seen your rules, I'd like to see a Rules Of Love for Gay Men.

@TRISTAN: Dick lang? How about suck? Fuck? And eventually... dump? LOL

Ming Meows said...

ORGY na lang!