Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Weird or obnoxious, those are your only choices.

A while back Kelly posted a question about whether or not love was an emotion or a decision and Lilly posted something about how we all eventually settle, and those two things seeped slowly into my brain and have been bothering me ever since, and then my brain cells accidentally bumped into one another and this was born. I'm not sure what it is yet. I have either produced the blog equivalent of the funny smelling kid who eats paste and boogers and can't spell his own name, or I have produced that obnoxious little girl with the perfect hair and the clean dress who can't do anything fun because she might get dirty. Neither of these is really what you want to have, but those seem to be my choices.

So. Diving in.

Firstly, the idea that love is a decision we make rather than an emotion we have no control over reminds me of church. I think it's true in a general way. Love is something of an action. If I sit around waiting to spontaneously "love my neighbor" I will probably never actually get around to it. However, if I get off my ass and help my neighbor rake her yard...get it? It's a concrete love. A love that can apply to the little kindnesses we do for strangers and family alike. But romantic love? I think this can apply to romantic love, in the sense that we need to practice this kind of love in order to keep marriages or relationships strong. But I have never been able to "decide" to feel romantic love. If we could do that, none of us would be alone if we didn't want to be. If that makes sense. Because you could just decide to be in love with the next person that decided they were in love with you, and there would be a lot less heartbreak. But you can't force that to happen. Maybe because physical attraction is such an important component of being in love. If you could just decide to be attracted to someone...well, how many people have fought homosexual urges for years because they believed it was wrong? (ps - I don't happen to believe it's wrong; I think it's a decent example because I know at least 2 people in my own family who would be attracted to the opposite sex if they had a choice just because their lives would be easier because we still live in the south and people still like Jerry Falwell). I think that we can be more open minded than we are about love (dating out of type, giving someone a chance that you would normally reject) and sometimes you end up having sex with someone you never considered before, and sometimes it turns out that you still aren't attracted to that person.

If we were able to make those kinds of decisions I probably never would have ended up with my husband. He wasn't my "type" and he claims I wasn't his (although, I would love to show you a picture of his last serious girlfriend before me - we could be TWINS and not the Danny DeVito Arnold Schwartzeneggar type twins; also see every girl he ever dated, they all look a lot like me). Granted, my type was generally all over the map physically and mentally. But this was different. This was...a REPUBLICAN, for God's sake (he's actually more of a vote for who he thinks is best kind of guy, not a straight ticket voter, but he quoted Reagan and was so Alex P. Keaton I actually DECIDED he was a republican before we ever actually discussed politics). But I was open minded and went out with him anyway. The trick there is that I was attracted to things I never thought about before. The way he actually talked to me about real things, how smart he was, how he was completely not threatened if I knew more than him about a topic or if I could do something better than he could (by the way, this only happens when the planets align exactly and Halley's comet is passing the earth and a solar eclipse happens at exactly the same moment...which is to say, not very often at all).

Which leads me to the idea of settling. The idea is not so much that you just finally give up, as that you realize no one is perfect and start to look for as perfect as possible. I mean, he's a cocky asshole who is annoying by virtue of being good at EVERY FUCKING THING EVER. He's not predictably thoughtful (never remembers to help me bring in the groceries, never cleans his facial hair out of the sink) but he does things that are so weirdly thoughtful I can't stand it. He doesn't send flowers often because he knows I don't really like them, even though the women in his office give him a hard time. He could pick out clothes or jewelry for me without my input because he pays attention to what I wear and what I like. He tells me I'm beautiful at random moments on a regular basis. He cleans the shower drain because it gives me the wig (even though its mostly my hair).

If I was able to decide who to fall in love with, and perfect people existed, I'd probably be married to an independently wealthy doctor who did lots of charitable works and never farted in the living room or described the weird crap he'd taken that day. I'd have total control of the remote control. He'd help clean and cook and love small children and babies and give me whatever I wanted, and I would be so fucking bored I'd probably lose my mind and do something completely insane (rather than the moderately insane things I do now).

This is all kind of stream of consciousness. I don't know if it makes sense or not. But I'm kind of glad I didn't decide who to fall in love with, and I'm glad I settled.

Hey Mister: Love you and Happy 30th. (Jesus. You're all old now and shit. I'm gonna have to start shopping for a new one. As God is my witness, my next husband is going to be an automechanic).


  1. i loved this post. It was like a very Meg-written love letter to your husband. Meaning not treacly at all, but very nicely worded and heartfelt.

    And strangely enough, i'm going to post something similar very soon, about this topic of L-O-V-E.

  2. Ok, Aristotle. No need to turn all genius on us here. Some people may be overly awed by your prolific-ness. Well, I am anyway. And I'm sure others are too.

    Having romantic feelings for someone is absolutely not a choice. Well, not genuine romantic feelings anyway. I know some people just want to lock it down, so they force themselves into loving whoever comes next and isn't totally terrible.

    But yeah, if falling in love was a decision, I would probably be married and living in the Hampton's by now. Just sayin.

    And I agree with Maria - this gives me the happy butterflies for you and your hubby.

  3. Great post! Happy birthday to your man!

  4. Great entry. But I think that NOT having love can be a choice. I can think of a friend who has very firmly taken herself out of the love game. She is totally awesome and guys like her, but she runs away from them so fast it makes everyone's head spin. Basically I totally agree that you don't necessarily choose love, but you can totally choose not to love.

    Also, you might want to read C.S. Lewis's The Four Loves. I'm reading it right now and it's totally relevant to this entry, talking about the different types of love and how they exist and form and such. (Yes it's religious and ends with a chapter on God-love, but it's really just general love philosophy and highly interesting.)

  5. I agree. How many times has a really 'great' on paper person crossed our path, and no matter how we try to make it work, try to like this person, it just doesn't work.

    This love shit is a mysterious beast.

  6. 1.You totally linked to my blog wrong. Tsk.

    2. I am sorry that my post sent you into such a state of distressed.

    3. I love this post, a lot. It was exactly the kind of answer I was looking for when I posed that question. Because fuck if I know anything about love. But you're one of the few people who I'd actually listen to on the topic because you're so much like me (scary I know) that I know you're not going to give me a pile of sickeningly sweet bullshit, but honest and still sweet, but, like, the right amount of sweet.

    4. I started writing this comment days ago and apparently abandoned my efforts. Posting now.