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)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Lessons In Love

What I have learned from being single for 44 years.

Romance is over-rated. 

Love comes in several forms, like love of country, love of friends or even love of self. But the most popular form, and the one that fuels the entertainment industry, is romantic love. I bet romantic love is responsible for more than half of the output of the entertainment industries.

Romance is very charming and quite addicting; I suspect the same tingling sensations of the nerves and that rush to the brain that one experiences when one is on a drug-induced high are the same ones experienced when one is madly in love. (Romantic) love is insane.

However, romance’s giddy high can never really be sustained for long. Even the body adjusts to a drug’s potency, and soon one’s regular dosage is not enough for a hard-core drug user. But why the persistent popularity of romance? Because it is the most high-inducing state. Because it lends itself well to plots and cliffhangers and happy-ever-afters. Because romance is all about the hopeful beginning. Rarely does romance tackle the nitty-gritty middle; all the more they would want to avoid the emo-inducing end (unless it is but a step towards a new romance).

After the easy, cheesy beginning does the real work of love begin.

Love needs to be redefined.

Often the younger ones would define love as a feeling: “I am in love.” Sometimes they would go philosophical and claim that love is a state of being. Being what? Being in love, which is just another way of describing one’s emotional state.

But here’s something I realized: More than just an emotion, love is a choice. Because feelings, no matter how strong they are at the start, do wane and evolve. What happens after one loses that lovin’ feeling? If love was just an emotional state, many marriages wouldn’t have survived for so long.

I believe that love is a combination of feeling and of choice. The two compliment one another, like the way nature and nurture seem to be inexplicably linked as the causes of homosexuality. Without the initial feeling (“I’m in love!”), there will be no initial interest. But during the times when emotions wane, or the relationship encounters stormy waters, then the choice of loving a person will hopefully keep the relationship going until the storm passes.

Love is outward-directed.

So many times I hear the following: “I’m gonna make you love me.” “I want him, and I will do anything to get and keep him.” “He’s the one for me.” “Why didn’t he choose me? Why did he go for that fugly guy instead of me? I’m so much better for him!”

In all of those sentences the speaker is considering only what he likes. But love isn’t selfish. Love takes the Other into consideration. If there is no reciprocation, why stay and try to force something? There are plenty fish in the sea; move on. (I blame Hollywood for all those romantic comedies wherein persistence wins in the end. If he is just not that into you, don’t waste your time. Life is not a rom-com.)

The irony of love.

For the longest time I had a hard time attracting guys who were also attracted to me. So I wondered what was wrong with me. I tortured myself with questions and self-doubt. Am I not good enough? I’m not that bad-looking, and I am fairly smart; so why am I still single?

I was also told that love should be selfless; love is more about the Other than the self. In fact, I even had this (romantic) notion of “killing my Self,” or putting my needs last, as a way of preparing myself for Love to come into my life. What a silly mistake that was.

The irony of love is that one needs to learn how to love oneself first before one can be capable of loving someone for the long term. Nothing is more unattractive than a guy who is so desperate to be loved; no matter how well one hides it, that desperation always manages to seep out like flop sweat. The moment potential partners sense it, it’s game over.

Years before I met D, I always saw myself as unlucky in love. Either the guy I like doesn’t like me back, or he’s not available. But after I became partnered, suddenly there seemed to be more guys interested in me. I don’t think I was just being oblivious before; I was desperately in search of a partner, remember? So what changed? I lost this “need” to be with someone at all costs. I had become more relaxed, more at peace with myself. And I guess that made me more attractive. (Either that, or there are more daddy- and chub-chasers these days. LOL!)

Love yourself and others will love you too.


gelangenie said...

hey sexy ;)

joelmcvie said...

@DIDINSKEE: I see you now have internet access in the land of the rising sun. ;-)

Fickle Cattle said...

Mcvie, the closet romantic. :-D Aminin.

Dinner soon?

Fickle Cattle