Sunday, November 20, 2005
8 letters + 3 words = 1 meaning
"It's so interesting... you can tell a man 'I hate you' and have the best sex of your life. If you tell him 'I love you'... you'll probably never see him again." — Samantha Jones, Sex and the CityThree little words that function as an emotional landmine. They can either strengthen or detonate a relationship. It rolls off the tongue of so many lips, but how many of us actually know what it means to be well past "kinda sorta like" and two steps beyond fleeting infatuation? Is it something that can be easily defined with a symptom list?
I can categorize the after effects of my prior postmortems into two tidy categories: B.T.L.W. and A.T.L.W. Before and after the L-word.
There was the time I never thought I'd hear it said to me. I was 17 and had just stuck my pinky toe into the wading pool of online dating at the urging of my campus roommate. His name was Shaun*, fit my older man quota at the swoonable legal limit of 21, lived just outside Miami in Coconut Grove and was fine as all get out. We had gone back and forth e-mailing and talking on the phone for about 2 months. One day after blowing off Art History to space out at the melody of his baritone, he called and we were in the middle of another 3 hour gabfest. Then he dropped the bomb on me. The L-word. I couldn't even say anything except, "is that track 11 or 14 off the 112 CD?"
Love is one of the few human activities we enter into willingly — hell, eagerly — knowing that the best outcome we can hope for is to fall.Then there was the time I never thought I'd utter the phrase at the most inopportune time. During a jubilant first down play celebration among a throng of screaming, face-painted men at the 2002-03 AFC Jets-Colts Wild Card home playoff, I had to blurt out the ticking time bomb in mid-embrace which temporarily drew attention away from Santana Moss' sprint to the end zone to the stunned expression of the object of my affection who now knew the extent of my feelings fueled from the pheromones going into overdrive at the nearness of him and one too many styrofoam cups of Coors Light. Talk about one uneasy ride back across the Holland Tunnel in silence. Locking myself into a piss-drenched bathroom stall would've been a more appealing alternative than the pirouettes on eggshells to downplay the seriousness of my sudden attack of word vomit.
I used to envision the definitions of what love is by the silver screen's version of what it's supposed to be. Logic would indicate that art imitates life, so I couldn't help but fantasize through rose-colored glasses about exclamation points straight from a Hollywood movie. Melodramatic displays of affection. Powerful declarations of being the one and only. The grand gesture. But nowadays I think a man willing to give up their seat to me on the subway is the height of romance.
Flipping through old journals from high school, you would've sworn that Cupid got an hourly commission rate for the amount of times I thought I was head over heels for some new crush. It took me a while to understand that physical attraction alone is a shaky foundation at best if I was looking to find something deeper. I still haven't lucked out to find the oh-so-elusive "special someone" with whom the L-word is a mutual feeling yet. However I do know now from past mistakes what love isn't. It's not selfish. It's not merely a feeling. It's not a means to tip the scales in your favor conveniently. It isn't expecting all of your needs to be met. It cannot complete you. It isn't an appointment booked weeks in advance on life's desk calendar. It's an unmarked gift delivered when least expected. Next time around I can only keep my fingers crossed it'll be a signature confirmation with my name on it.
- Michael commented at 12/10/2005 04:07:00 AM~
Trini! It's been so long since we've chatted. Nice post. It just so happens six days ago my first love broke my heart into pieces, then proceeded to do a vintage MC Hammer dance routine all over it. And get this, it was done over IM. People suck. I hope all is well with you.
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