14 March 2011

How Often Must We Say "I Love You" Part 2

Having given attention to his initial ramblings on love, I was introduced to the second installment of his "How Often Must We Say "I Love You"" thoughts. Once again, dear old Caesar-Édouard Perrin has taken to his computer and typed down his love-driven realizations.

This time, he delves even further into his romantic side and offers bits of advice on how to treat a lady. Admittedly, there were various circumstances when I felt the abject loss of hope that a man could understand the workings in a woman's mind - that men feel women's desires lean at times, towards the impractical and the illogical. How often do I hear men frustratedly exclaim the hopelessness of understanding women, and women quite conversely feel the same way.

"There's a lot of hooraw about how love can be quantified by how often you say "I love you," among other methods, but that's not the true measure of love. Saying "I love you" can become as routine as brushing your teeth, or as automatic as switching on your turn signal as you drive. A lot of people make the mistake of oversimplifying the concept of love, or dismissing it entirely as something capricious and sophomoric. The fact is, love is complex, it is formed through a complex series of emotions, and people are emotionally complex.

I wrote "How Often Must We Say 'I Love You?'" after I saw a question on my news feed that went, and I paraphrase, "How often do you say I love you?" The comments beneath this post was a feeding frenzy of posturing, one-upmanship, cynicism and abject ignorance. I was deeply affected and saddened by it.

A lot of people seem to lack the creative thinking to tell the difference between consistency and monotony. A man can kiss his wife in the morning, tell her he loves her while on the 7:30am ferry from New Jersey to New York City, have hothouse flowers delivered to her doorstep without fail at noon, dinner at Le Bernardin after work, spontaneous, passionate lovemaking in bed, and offer another I love you before falling asleep, and the wife can still feel empty and unfulfilled.

Crazy? Let's see what the woman might be thinking: She might be thinking that her husband sees her as nothing more than a living, breathing barbie doll. He cares not for her opinion on anything, she once tried to offer him a home cooked meal which he ate absently and without relish despite the fact that 1) she spent the entire afternoon preparing it, and 2) it actually was really good. She dissolves into bitter tears while scraping off the remnants of his dinner from his plate. He tries to make up for his insensitivity by inviting her to dine at an expensive restaurant, not knowing that he was actually adding further insult to injury. He has NEVER hand-delivered flowers to her. They're all sent from his office. (A man would ask, what's the difference? At least she gets her goddamn flowers.) And while their lovemaking is pleasurable, in the end she always feels like a nautilus machine, something he straddles, works out strenuously, and finishes by gloating over his own "maleness."

What kind of situation have we got here? We have a woman who feels that her husband isn't stimulating that part of her that makes her feel "womanly." She feels like a plant; watered, spritzed, and occasionally turned towards sunlight. She wants to be able to take care of him, be the source of happiness, to make him laugh, to make him smile, to hold his hand during times when he's vulnerable yet heartrendingly endearing.

We have a man who thinks he's doing his duty as a loving husband because he hasn't missed a box on the checklist. He thinks that by establishing a certain number of romantic gestures daily, and by being complacent to her material needs, should be sufficient for her to feel loved. He blindly refuses to see her as a living, breathing person, and believes that to ask for more than what he feels is his capacity for "generosity" is outright ungrateful.

Love is never simple. If it were, we could buy a jar of the stuff at Costco and gorge ourselves silly with love until we're just about sick of it, and that simply is never the case.

There are men who understand the gravity and responsibility behind committed love, and there are those who just want a woman to confirm their masculinity, and there those who just want a good time.

Each part of us sends us different signals of desire, whether you are a man or a woman. Each part of us desires and requires one form of nourishment or another. The mind requires synergy. The soul requires security. The heart requires compassion. The body requires physical contact. It is important not to isolate any of the signals of desire but to combine them to form a unified goal. The idea is not to find a perfect partner, but to find a partner who has enough wisdom, emotional and intellectual competence, and empathy to know what a woman needs. There are too many men who pursue women with the wrong goals in mind, and there are too many women who misrepresent men, either by refusing to acknowledge their base nature, or by translating their own desires for the purpose of sculpting the man they want into something he isn't.

Love is meant to be built. It doesn't sculpt, chisel or alter anything. Certainly it makes things different, but it is not meant to take away anything from anyone. This is one of the reasons why I don't say a woman is "unavailable," or "taken." Call me a pedant, but I do not consider women to be possessions. They still have free will. As man proposes and God disposes, a man must prove and a woman must decide. Once the bond is formed, there is no such thing as incompatibility. There is only compromise, cooperation and mutual understanding. Without it, it is only a lofty form of hypocrisy which cannot be described as love, only a poor imitation of it."

Leo Buscaglia, a reknowned writer and commonly known as Dr. Love has written, "I have a very strong feeling that the opposite of love is not hate - it's apathy. It's not giving a damn." Love is a constant giving of oneself, of being constantly thinking of the welfare of another more than of one's best interests. He adds, "Like any other living, growing thing, love requires effort to keep it healthy."

As an end note, Gloria Estefan sings, "Love on a Two-Way Street, Lost it on a lonely highway"."

No comments: