We owe to the Middle Ages the two worst inventions of humanity:
And yes, I know gunpowder came from far earlier in China, but it took crazy Europeans to make guns with it, so back off. This also doesn't mean that my opinion of love is really as bad as all that. I have instead come to regard it as an entity that contains the potential for great joy, and great sorrow, in roughly equal proportions. Thus, for me, romantic love is an emotion that inspires desire, respect, and fear, in that order. But such is not the point of this post.
Last night I received a phone call from a good friend of mine (An ex-girlfriend, actually. For those who have some passing familiarity with the saga of my ex-girlfriends, this is the one who "hated me." Yes, there is a story there and no, I don't particularly care to share it with all of you just at the moment. Suffice it to say that we get along great now) who is in the throes of romantic agony. She just revealed a crush to someone (not unlike our own dorotha harried) after two plus years of more-or-less constant fixation. You have to admire her patience in that, if not her judgement. So what was the verdict, you ask?
He says he needs some time to compose an answer.
Yeah. That's a verbatim account. "Compose an answer." The males in the audience are presently nodding their heads and saying, "Oh, fuck, that's too bad for her." Well, all the men in the audience except for Brayden are saying that. Brayden most likely replaced "fuck" with "fudge," "freak," "darn," or some other pseudo-epithet that I am unlikely to ever use in this blog. Don't worry, Brayden, we all love you anyway. As for the women in the audience.... I don't know what the hell you're doing. Feel free to write in and tell me, I can always use insight into the opposite sex. If any of you consider writing in and telling me what you're wearing... don't bother. I really couldn't care less.
In my gentle Drekish way ("Gentle?" Jesus, that even makes me snort derisively) I attempted to prepare her for what will likely turn out to be the truth but this was to no avail. As is often the case with those in the grips of infatuation, particularly one that has steeped for so long, she is tragically resistant to contrary indicators.
What's worse is that she was simultaneously arguing that he is too low in self-esteem and emotionally immature to respond to her heart-felt admission in an honest way, yet, despite this, would make a good partner. Yeah, boys and girls, she still wants to pursue a relationship with him. Wow. That's... um... not good. Generally speaking, if you need to justify someone else's behavior by arguing that they're immature and lack confidence, you may want to rethink a relationship with them. Not that I'm really throwing stones here. I dated a bi-polar woman with a dubious level of success for quite a while, and thus hardly have a position of moral superiority. I do, however, have the advantage of experience. Bitter, agonizingly won experience, but experience nonetheless.
I'm not entirely sure what to hope for here. My friend wants one thing, but I suspect that what she wants would ultimately prove to be pretty bad for her. Partly, this is because her parents have given her a model of male/female relations that can only be described as "utterly horrifying." Thus, any dating experience that reinforces those lessons I tend to regard as bad. On the other hand, she has learned a great deal about herself and about relationships in the past few years, and I think she might benefit from a chance to test out her new self-knowledge. Then, of course, there's the fact that I'm certainly not qualified to make decisions about her life. Hell, I'm barely qualified to make decisions about my own.
I guess all I can do is hope for the best and fear for the worst, which most likely means that the outcome will be somewhere in between.
Amazingly, though, this is all coming to a head at the same time that others are confronting romantic issues. As previously mentioned, dorotha has been grappling with her own romantic problems of late. My hypothetical-roommate ("hypothetical" in the sense that he pays rent here, but lives with his girlfriend) has been talking about getting a dog with his main-squeeze. A dog? A DOG?! Crap, buddy, why not just propose to her already? Don't keep us all in suspense here. Then there's my aforementioned bi-polar ex-girlfriend who has, she tells me, recently begun a relationship with a man who is "very nice." This is a tremendous step up from her previous two partners: an ex-convict who was imprisoned for partner-abuse, and someone who was pretending to be HIV+ for the sympathy. Yes, let's all feel better about our own dating choices for just a moment.
There are the two members of this year's new cohort of grad students, who somehow managed to form a relationship in under two weeks. That's a new departmental record by quite a margin. If anyone out there can beat it, please by all means, let me know. Finally, there's my sister's impending wedding to a former British sailor. I have never seen her happier, even if there probably are a number of rather bawdy jokes about the American and the British sailor.
They say that in the spring a young man's fancy turns to love, but it seems that in my little corner of the world, fall is really a much better bet.
What about me, you ask? Your concern is touching, but let's face it: You'd miss it if I weren't so crotchety. Were I actually to enter into a mature, affectionate relationship, my writing would probably lose that charmingly-venomous quality that so sets it apart from others'.
Romance and love are good things, we all enjoy them, but they really can be pretty destructive. It's easy to deal with people we don't know, it's easy to deal with people we don't like, but it's a lot harder to deal with someone we don't like if we used to know them well, and used to like them a whole lot. It is, perhaps, equally hard to invest so much of yourself in the possibility of something, only to see it fade away. Love is a high-risk, high-reward endeavour, and when so many people grapple with it at the same time, with such divergent outcomes, I can only stand in awe at their bravery. As one who writes a blog from beneath a pseudonym, I can assure you that when it comes to romance, I am quite the chicken. Cluck-cluck.
So, godspeed one and all. Good luck, take care, invest in haagen-daz or roses as needed, and remember that your old
Thanks to Andre Maurois for the title of today's post.