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)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Friends, Romance, Countrymen… Lend Me Your Ears

“I used to be obsessed with happy endings and fairy tales, and I still love those movies that give me hope or make me escape into my fantasies. But more and more, I’m liking the stamp of reality that feels really pertinent and accessible to my own life.” – Drew Barrymore

* * * * *

I too used to believe in fairy tales, especially with love stories. But the problem with those stories is that they end in a passionate kiss, a tight embrace, with blazing sunset, swelling score and a long, slow fade-out.

None of them bothered with what happens after the credits roll.

Sure, in those romantic movies the lovers go through hell, evil stepmothers and a gazillion hurdles just to end up together in the end. The usual assumption is, after going through all that, they can face any and everything that will come their way. Yeah. Riiight.

The thing is, real life doesn’t have fade-outs and a swell soundtrack to accompany you. Romance and monogamy require a commitment that’s forever being challenged and necessitates continuous renewal. Unless one or the both of you are pangit; then you have Andrew E. to thank for that.

More than one person has demonized me as an unromantic love-Scrooge, a cynical loveless singleton. I’m not really bothered. More than anything, that view shows more the ignorance of those people—ignorant of who I really am and ignorant of how the world works. Okay, maybe ignorant is not the word; perhaps the more accurate phrase is “willful disregard of what is not rosy and beautiful and full of chirpy-cheep-cheeping tweety birds.”

It’s really a case of differences in points of view. Romantics seem to hold on to the idea of forever. I don’t believe in forever; as any scientist can tell you, there is no forever. Even the whole universe will end with a massive collapse and a bang. And even the Church acknowledges Love’s limit: ‘til Death do us part. Hello, Death.

For me, what’s more romantic is the idea that two people stay committed in spite of the fact that there is no forever, that they stay committed given the realities they face on a day-to-day basis. Commitment is hard work and romance needs to get real for it to really last long. Take note, I said long. I didn’t say forever.

Call it the romance of the real.


~Carrie~ said...

I giggled when you said long. Hihihi

Felipe said...

You are right. It really is a case of differences in points of view. But maybe your concept of romance is based on the what happens to gay relationships. I myself rarely meet gay couples who have been together for at least 10 years. It is a commitment issue. If our parents can do it, we can do it as well. M2M scenario nga lang. LOL.

rudeboy said...

Thank you for this, Joel. I've often said that forever is an awfully long time.

It's easy, of course, to be branded a cynic when one describes life without the rose-colored glasses. Then again, it's hard to see when one has stars in one's eyes.

"Romance of the real." I love that.

@ Felipe : Since you mentioned differences in points of view, I'd hazard that long-term commitment issues aren't particularly limited to gay relationships. Yes, our parents may have stayed together, but then they had children, social expectations, and the moral imperatives of faith to bind them - unhappily or otherwise.

This is also the reason why I eschew the idea of gay marriage. I find more value in staying together because both parties freely choose to, and not because of a legal contract, a church ceremony, and the expectations of society.

imsonotconio said...

long? hmmmmmmm that prick a nerve to me

Guyrony said...

Our ideals says it all.

closet case said...

abso-fucking-lutely correct. nothing lasts forever. i didnt turn cynic suddenly. but i believe that it could last a lifetime. yours or your partner's. and that's already aiming for a lot.

lorienimladris said...

Falling and being in love feels so exhilarating. Experts say it's like using illegal drugs such as cocaine. Feel-good hormones such as serotonin and oxytocin are also released. It's no surprise we constantly yearn for love.

That being said,I think men, by their very biological nature, cannot stay monogamous. That what I think Joel is trying to express. You can believe in romantic love, but that's too fleeting. Eventually either you or your partner will get "the itch" and start seeking out someone to scratch that in secret. Or be involved in an open relationship.

Long-term relationships between two guys do happen but they're too few and far between and are usually exception to the rule.

Being in love feels good, in the beginning. But after that, it goes downhill fast or if not, degenerates into boredom.

I'm not jaded. Just fully aware of reality.

canmaker said...

i hate to compare, but i'm on the other side of your spectrum, you being an ssb (single since birth) while i have "always" been in relationship most of my adult life....yung hindi nababakante. :-) shortest is about a year...longest was 10 years...presently, i am now in a 5 year relationship...

anyway, i don't look at relationships as forever too, especially now that i'm a lot older and a lot wiser....i just take it as they come, work on it (a lot!) but learn to let go when needed, then hold no grudges of the past....i am friends with all my ex's and i guess that says a lot on how amicably we've settled things, but also how "smoothly" the transition to the next relationship happens

i am not saying i am lucky. i don;t really know, siguro magaling lang ako dumiskarte :-)

joelmcvie said...

@LORIENIMLADRIS: "I think men, by their very biological nature, cannot stay monogamous. That what I think Joel is trying to express.... Long-term relationships between two guys do happen but they're too few and far between and are usually exception to the rule."

Thank you Lorienimladris, but that's not exactly what I was trying to express. I was just stating that: [1] forever is impossible; [2] monogamy requires real work, not fairy dust.

Let me also add that monogamy is difficult in straight AND gay relationships. Married men do also stumble.

Darc Diarist said...

sir, there are always exceptions to the rule. kahit pangit unfaithful na rin ngayon. ang-kapal ng mukha nila!!! haha

joelmcvie said...

@CANMAKER: Thanks for comparing... but wait a minute. What was there to compare? You said, and I quote:

[1] "i don't look at relationships as forever too"
[2] "work on it (a lot!)"

Those were exactly the main points of my blog episode. Thank you for showing my viewers that my haka-haka isn't all kathang-isip lamang. =)

joelmcvie said...

@DARC DIARIST: Juskoh. Pangit na, kapal-muks pa. Double-whammy! Hahaha.

Anonymous said...

when the house is in disarray, the laundry is piling up, the toilet is almost unbearable to look at, there are so many bills to pay, you're already both late for work and you're both cranky already even before the morning coffee brewed, and yet you can still pause and say that deciding to stick with him is a good decision you are happy to live with, that's love.

Anonymous said...

oh, and my best friend and his partner are already together for more than ten years. they inspire me that long-lasting gay relationships exists and is doable.