I’ve been writing a lot about love lately. One post seems to jump off the back of the last. What started as 5000 semi-literate words on my computer has been cut and pasted into four rambling posts that probably sound like a maudlin episode of Growing Pains where questionable wisdom is imparted with a smug, yet knowing smirk. I’m fairly certain that my last three blog offerings have elicited jaw-clenching yawns so severe that circulation is being cut off to the lower half of people’s faces as they read.
Nonetheless, I’m going to talk about this crap again and I do apologise in advance. I’m leaving to backpack South America in seven days, so I’m sure the blog will pick back up into overly descriptive sex stories and loquacious anecdotes about the idiotic things that I find myself doing on a daily basis.
But until then, here’s a bunny rabbit.
About a month ago, I connected with an old school friend on Facebook.
He accepted my friend-request and private-messaged me. I hadn’t seen him since high school, so I asked what had been happening in his life. He responded immediately:
“I’ve been hurt more than I can bear. Nearly every girl I’ve been with has cheated on me and I’ve had no luck with dating.”
It certainly set the tone for the conversation.
I gave a reply that I hoped was empathetic yet flippant. His reply was a five word bomb- “Can I tell you something?”- that ticked malevolently before exploding all over my computer screen in a rapid fire flurry of characters crudely moulded into badly spelt, overly emotive sentiments.
He had a crush on me in school but never told me. No, not just a crush, he was in love with me, something that, until this moment, I was blissfully unaware of. My fingers hovered awkwardly over the keyboard as I tried to find the kindest way of saying, “You are freaking me the fuck out and it’s probably best for everyone that you just shut up right now.” His messages continued, escalating to a level that kicked my bullshit radar into gear. He was saying insane things about his feelings, incredibly sweet things, but things that you don’t expect to hear on a windy Monday evening, where you are sitting at your computer in pyjamas with a blueberry facemask smeared on your dermis. He must be fucking with me, I thought. It had to be a joke. Ashton Kutcher was going to appear with a camera crew at any moment and call me a narcissistic bitch with a robust sense of self-esteem, and who wants to appear on Punkd! wearing only a mens business shirt and a Lush facemask? Even Miley Cyrus wears underwear on TV.
As I was pondering this, my phone chirped. It was him. He had pulled my number from Facebook, obviously believing that my online silence warranted communication on another medium. Another Facebook message arrived: “Did you get my text?” His five word bomb had erupted into a social media attack that quickly turned rogue. I was two messages away from hiding under my desk with my head between my knees like a well-fed Palestinian.
I texted my best friend from high school- who knew him- and briefly relayed the situation, saying ‘what the fuck do I do’ without explicitly saying it, knowing that she would take the excessive use of exclamation points as a sort of oestrogen-charged call to arms.
She agreed that it was odd and suggested that I block him. Removing someone from my friends list like a wart two hours after I have added them to it felt cruel, so I terminated the Facebook exchange with him and ignored his subsequent comments on my posts. Two weeks later he messaged again. I asked how he was. He lamented about the epic level of loneliness he felt. Unsure of what else to say, I suggested he get out there and try to meet women. Bad idea. Apparently no woman can measure up to his one true love that he met in high school. Again, the conversation was terminated and I’ve remained offline in Facebook chat, hiding like a fugitive ever since.
Now, I don’t want to make him sound like some gleaming toothed psychopath, an emotive fiend that slaveringly stalks my profile like a rabid Rottweiler because he’s not. He’s actually a very nice guy with a very big heart. He left his job to become a fulltime carer for his sick uncle. Not many people would do that, and when I asked about his reasons for putting his life on hold for a family member he was incredibly humble in his response. I have no problems roasting dickheadedness on this blog- nor do I have a problem with neologisms, it would appear- but I do have a problem with making arguably misguided men with good intentions sound like fuckwits. He’s not. I want to make that clear. He’s a lovely guy and if there is any justice in this world he will meet the lovely girl who he is so ardently yearning for and they will have ridiculously good looking babies that go on to solve world hunger and cure cancer.
But that girl ain’t me, and I’m hoping that my silence will be perceived as such. I’m also hoping that he doesn’t know about, or read, this blog.
So this completely true story is actually a clumsy springboard to talk about misusing the L word, which I want to rant about briefly because it’s my pet hate.
Unrequited love does not exist. You can’t love something that does not love you back. That’s not love. It’s lust mixed with rejection and sprinkled with the tiniest bit of obsession. Love is a bond between two people, not a knee-jerk reaction to a bruised ego. You can want something so badly that you will be able to talk yourself into believing that it must be love, but you are lying to yourself. You can really like someone; you can think to yourself, Wow, I have found a human being that seems to encompass everything that I have been looking for in a member of the opposite sex; and in extreme cases I suppose you could even say, Given the chance I could fall in love with them, but that’s not love. Not the real stuff, anyway. The concept of love is something that I tend to put on a pedestal, a pedestal so high my next boyfriend may well have to be ten feet tall, but Real Love fills you up with something warm and effervescent that makes you grin a lot. It’s fluffy and warm, it’s the widdle-bitty-baby-bunny-wabbit that you want to hug to death because it’s cuteness is simply too much for this planet.
Saying “I’ve loved you from afar for years…” is like comparing sadness to depression.
I was in Amsterdam last year and I went on an unintentional date with a fellow who told me, under the twinkling street lamps of Leidsestraat, that he was falling in love with me. I told him to piss off. Verbatim. I take this shit seriously. Love is not a word that I use lightly. When I do say the big L to a guy, they can be assured that I’m there, that it’s not emotional manipulation or entrapment because when I say it, I tend to fucking mean it.
And saying it can be hard. The word “Love” throws down a gauntlet in relationships. My ex-husband tried to tell me that he loved me after two weeks of us being almost constantly joined at the pelvis. It wasn’t love- we would grow to that stage later- but at that moment what he felt was just him being swept up in a reciprocated lust cloud by a girl who wasn’t a cunt or a nut-job. So when I saw his lips forming the words, I neatly cut him off by sticking my fingers in my ears and humming the theme to Fraggle Rock. Maybe my reaction sounds mean, but I wasn’t there yet, and I sensed that pinching his cheek and saying, ‘Of course you do, I’m adorable’ wouldn’t have gone down well. Serving love out to someone who doesn’t neatly lob it back across the court to you is the quickest way to create a schism in a relationship. Before you know it, it’s “30-love”.
My god, that was so clever I had to just pause and regather myself.
Here’s another bunny rabbit.
Anyway, doubt creeps in, remorse, insecurity…why would you want to spoil the awesome first stage of a romance with that shit? Why not just keep your mouth shut and enjoy what you have as you have it? If you are starting to feel a tingle of love, why not hold on to it? Let it build. Love usually means a long haul, so you have all the time in the world with each other. Instead of a relationship exploding like an atom bomb then settling to gradual resentment after a few months, why not sit on some things, parcel them out, and make the experience last? Exchanging I love you’s isn’t just an expression of your feelings, it’s an acknowledgement that you are going to take things to another level together, and you have to be ready for the gamut of shit that it can lead to. I love you also means, “There are times that I want to stab you repeatedly in the chest with a rusty butter knife but I stop myself because I’d miss not having you around”.
There’s almost an art to gauging the appropriate time to do it. It’s like finding the right time to enter a rapidly revolving skipping rope. I find that it’s generally when you really want them to buy you an expensive piece of jewellery for no reason and they are being a little bit reluctant.
I’m kidding, obviously.
You say I love you when you can’t manipulate a man with blow-jobs anymore.
…or when you don’t want to wax your bikini line…
If you want to let yourself go and binge on McDonald’s it’s a handy way to get away with wearing stretchy pants to every outing.
I like to say it when you accidentally break something of his that you suspect has sentimental value.
If you are an ambitious young woman with a wealthy but foolish older man, nothing turns silver into sapphires quicker than “love”.
And, of course, it’s a fantastic way to cease the arguments that will ensue when he finds out you’ve been fucking his best friend.
But enough love crap for now. Here’s another bunny rabbit.