This week’s post about the second-first date with former-almost-fiance Alex raised a lot of questions with both you brilliant bloggers and myself. The big ones were: Is the drug high “pitter-patter” of hearts a sign you’ve found THE ONE, or a short-term side effect of infatuation, i.e. limerence? Since you always hear adorable old couples talking about “feeling the same today as the day they met,” does that mean limerence can be sustainable? If one does not feel that pitter-patter, does that mean they aren’t really in love? And where the Hell do you meet an Asian woman with a goatee trying to sell you a turtle (answer: on the streets of Brooklyn, near a farmer’s market by the M train)?
I’ve always assumed that TRUE love (or, for Princess Bride fans, “TWOO wuuv”) is exclusionary, meaning that when you’ve found the real thing, nothing else can encroach (for long) on its glowing, sweet-smelling chunk of emotional real estate. If you’re honestly IN LOVE with THE ONE, nothing--not the advances of a sexy renegade suitor, not the cancerous influence of doubt, not the opinions of outsiders, nada--can pull up in a U-haul and gentrify the ‘hood you, your lover and your shared passion have created, right? (Right? Buehler?)
This thesis was taken directly from The Disney School of Love and Relationships. It has been the compass of my, and many peoples, relationships for years. It’s a black and white doctrine to live by, and therefore appealing, because you can self-righteously use it to solve almost any love equation in .5 seconds when employing it as your North Star.
- You are a frog. I am a princess. If you are THE ONE, you will turn into a prince when I kiss you. (I will then bear you many non-amphibious children.) If you do not change into a prince, you are not THE ONE.
- We are in love. We hit a snag. If you are THE ONE, you will stand outside my window blasting Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” (on cassette) through a boom box or perform some equal demonstration of your love to win me back. If you are not motivated to violate residential sound ordinances in the name of our love, you are not THE ONE.
- We are in love. The blinding light of our atomic love burns so brightly it makes the glow of those two amateurs from Nicholas Sparks’ "The Notebook” look like a car’s cigarette lighter by comparison. It's so fulfilling that I will never want to have sexual or emotional intercourse with anyone else but you for all eternity, no matter how sexy, interesting or complimentary he/she might be. If I (or you) can even think of probing someone else in body or mind, you are not THE ONE.
- You are THE ONE. We are so stupid, butt-crazy in love that after 80 years, I can look at the hairy, wrinkled prune your once noble nutsack has become (and you at my originally perky pair of funbags, now hanging like flesh-colored windsocks on a quiet morning) and still be so aroused by the pitter-pat of our everlasting attraction that we will ravage each other like opposing viking armies. If I do not look at you and have the urge to bang you like a plywood door in a hurricane, you are not THE ONE and I must move on.
See? Easy, right? I’ll bet at least 90% of you have based a least ONE major relationship decision on this logic in the past.
Except, DUH, love isn’t black and white. It is definitively grey, with an LSD trip’s worth of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet throwing a goddamned rave in the foreground.
Look, I know--the revelation that love is more like a Timothy Leary hallucination than an Oreo cookie on a plate isn’t groundbreaking. But the science and nature of love fascinates me, and since half of my Hitch List and its purpose is rooted in The Disney School of Love and Relationships, I feel obligated to do the research and adjust my personal thesis accordingly. Otherwise, who knows what stupid bullshit I’ll pull in the future.
Also, as per my original itemized list, I must:
“#14: Do a postmortem on past relationships for evidence of MY insanity [read: ignorance] at work.”
“#47: Read at least two books on the world history of marriage,” in order to better understand that thing which I fear so entirely.
So doing some research on the nature of love, limerence, infatuation and long term relationships can only help my cause (and life), knocking a few items off the list in the process.
Thus, I’m adding a new number onto the active Hitch List, with a little inspiration from 90s-club-and-roller-skating-rink-divo Haddaway:
#52: Answer Haddaway’s iconic question, “What is love?”
I currently have historian Stephanie Coontz’s succinctly-titled book “Marriage, a History: From Obedience to Intimacy, or How Love Conquered Marriage,” a brilliant analysis of the checkered past of marriage and the history of human relationships, in my hands as a jump-off. I’ve also got about 50 pages of research and criticisms surrounding Dorothy Tennov’s theory of limerence to go through as well.
I’ll be periodically posting highlights from my research--also, if anyone has strong feelings or information about any of this, I’m seeking guest-bloggers, as well as opinions, to feature here, since this topic and conversation is far bigger than myself. Drop me a comment or email at email@example.com, and I’ll make sure your voice is heard.
In the meantime, click that Haddaway link if you haven’t already, because it's a real trip down memory lane.