Let's wind this up... |
So far, we've learned our crazy love-life experiences and selections of mates in America are affected and directed by three unrelated realities:
1. Weird science - a view of how relationships are hopelessly random using statistics and probability.
2. Personal experience - my own background, and some personal history as both relate to the subject at hand.
3. Clones - identical twins have virtually the same life experience EXCEPT when it comes to relationships and mate selection.
I've tried my best to prove (and in my mind pretty much succeeded) that our human requirements for a mate are not a tight specification, but very broad in scope. Oh sure, we may describe our ideal mate to a friend, but what do we really settle for? That's not necessarily to say we settle for someone who doesn't meet our lofty specification, but we may! And I'm betting most of the time we do. This suggests that our "real" requirements are much more flexible than we realize.
My theory is that when we are concerned about finding a companion, and if somebody not even close to what we've described as ideal shows an interest in us (depending on amount of adult beverages imbibed), suddenly our specifications change. We find reasons to rationalize our choice. Think about it. When someone (anyone!) expresses that he/she likes you isn't it difficult not to return the feeling? In fact, we look at that person anew and in an entirely different light. Suddenly the absence of some goofy crtierion (like big boobs) takes a back seat to plump lips (or something like that). That is, we find features attractive about the person that were previously unnoticed. Not only that, but we assign attributes to them that they may not even have! But (worse) in our temporary blindness we invent for them qualities we want them to have. Reality takes a hike, and we have a sure-fire recipe for disaster.
Think about all the tabloid television programs that bombard our homes on a daily basis. Most have to do with some dirtbag, scummy, creepy guy aggresively pursuing a female, usually younger than himself, to the point she gives in and marries or cohabitates with him. She and her ilk say they are attracted to "bad boys" and are subsequently amazed and surprised at the ensuing treatment they receive. Surly, sweaty, smelly, unkempt guys with motorcycles are the princesses' ideal because they're---get this---dangerous! To whom? Obviously their girlfriends. Shortly after the nuptials he's out chasing around with other women, can't hold a job, and has drinking and dope habits. Her parents are heartbroken. She constantly gives the ratbastard one more chance. What? Like bad boys are going to change??? Yet he slaps her around and she still hangs in there. Madness!
In the movie, SLINGBLADE, a pleasant, hard-working, young, single mother has this rotten boyfriend who is just plain mean. She even stands by while he abuses her son. She has become a willing victim unable to help herself because "the good times are worth the pain". Finally the lead character, recognizing the trap the woman has fallen into, sacrifices his own freedom by killing the nasty, ratbastard boyfriend. Unfortunately, the movie ends there. In real life, I'll bet the lady finds another boyfriend just like the old one. The poor schmoo's sacrifice would be in vain.
Maybe we are so insecure about finding a mate that some of us just plain settle for anything. Think for a moment about the marriage break-ups from your own personal experience. Often these relationships (in the end) are punctuated by bitterness, abject hatred, and a screaming / yelling divorce proceeding. One cannot help but wonder: What did these people ever see in each other? And: How did it come to this? Madness!
To my scientifically trained noggin this all makes a rather perverse sense. I've always wanted to believe in an orderly, planned existence, but my training has taught me to expect chaos, entropy, and randomness; bodies careening around in the universe only to intersect by chance. My wife, on the other hand, subscribes to the Sunni Islamic creed of predestination; that everything happens for a reason and was predetermined before birth. On this subject we obviously disagree, but I sometimes find myself wishing she were right.
Going back to the beginning of this series of articles that began with a conversation with a friend that started me wondering, I believe I did find a key to why some relationships endure. It involves the participants ability to REALLY like each other, which is very important after the initial euphoria (often confused as love) wears off; after one's sex life suffers a "bed death". I am not being cynical. Listen to some of the conversations among today's young adults, specifically females, when they discuss their beaus, and you'll get the drift. When they discuss past intimate relationships, the conversation typically includes that they "loved" this guy, and that guy, and the guy before that...
Here is an actual (no fooling!) conversation I overheard at the gym between two coeds. One wore a UCLA Bruin T-shirt and the other talked about life in the east as she attended Boston College. Eventually their discussion turned to their romantic liaisons. By the way, I was not actually eavesdropping although being a nosy writer I often do. (You get material where it can be found, y'know?) The young ladies carried on loudly enough for everyone within earshot to hear, which seems to be another trait of young people. No wonder Europeans think we're a bunch of ill-mannered, me-first, self-centered oafs.
"We're you bummed about breaking up with Don?" asked the Bruin in a nasally voice.
BC screwed up her face in thought for a moment then replied, "No, not really. I mean, it's not like I loved him or anything, y'know?" She cracked her gum.
"Yeah, for sure. Not like Daryl..."
"Oh, no! I loved Daryl. For sure!" BC emphasized this point by raising her voice an octave on the last phrase.
"Yeah," said the Bruin dreamily. "I would have loved him too. He's a hotty."
"Yeah, for sure!"
After maybe thirty seconds expired, BC said thoughtfully, "Like, I loved Hunter too. Remember him?"
Bruin's eyes brightened. "For sure. Like, I loved him too when we hooked-up in the eleventh grade. He was awesome."
Hmmm. It seems mass confusion exists on the subject of love; OR has our pop culture grown more ridiculous and assinine year-by-year such that the citizenry is completely hypnotized and dumbed-down to the maximum level of screwedupness? One can observe this phenomenon as it moves into the mainstream by observing the kind of crooks we elect to office (who of course appoint additional crooks). Here's the frightening part: WE DON'T CARE! Not as long as we can text back-and-forth about the latest Paris Hilton and Lindsey Lohan goofiness marketed by tabloids and television. But I'm getting off track, which I tend to do when on a rant... Back to the word "love" a confusing word at best (and probably always has been). Today the word has a completely different meaning than when I was in the singles mix.
NOW: It means I either hook-up with (euphemism for screw) that person or I would like to hook-up with that person. It has a temporary tone. The term starter-marriage is becoming commonplace, and each new wedding is expected to be a lavish, expensive affair...because "I/we deserve it".
THEN: To tell a woman you (gasp) loved her, or vice-versa was very serious and indicated a step in the process of engagement for marriage. It was a kind of verbal contract.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: For those oh-so-proper readers offended by the word "screw", don't you think we'd all be better off if we knocked-off the political correctness and said what we mean?
Back on track... It is also true that the phrase "I love you" has long been a favorite trick of males to manipulate a lady into horizontal gymnastics, but when I was on the hunt, most of us couldn't bring ourselves to utter those exact words. Instead, what most likely came out was, "I THINK I love you". A bit of an escape clause, you see?
But after all the debate, which has gotten me absolutely nowhere, Kay still thinks I'm special.
How about that?
Copyright 2010 by Gene Myers author of AFTER HOURS: ADVENTURES OF AN INTERNATIONAL BUSINESSMAN; www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/AfterHours.html
Also available at www.amazon.com and www.barnerandnoble.com and www.borders.com
NEW FROM GENE MYERS:
"SONGS FROM LATTYS GROVE" (fiction) from PublishAmerica (August 23, 2010)
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