WHAT IS LOVE? (BABY DON’T HURT ME)
What is the nature of love? Some comedians think it’s something you believe in, like aliens or Jesus, because I hear them say they don’t believe in it.
In songs, it’s usually something you lose, but none of the singers seem exactly sure of what it is. The narrator of the song by Roxette only realizes that what she experienced “must have been love” once it’s over [now]. Lou Gramm of Foreigner pleads “I want to know what love is” but then admits that he needs you to show him.
Bob Marley seems the most confused. “I want to love you” he sings, “And treat you right / I wanna love you every day and every night”. He goes on “We’ll be together with a roof right over our heads / We’ll share the shelter of my single bed” but then after all that he asks in the chorus “Is this love? Is this love? Is this love? Is this love? That I’m feeling?” Geez Bob, if you don’t know at that point then who does?
The Beatles said it was “all you need” which probably seems true until it’s all you have.
Millions of hours of music on the subject and nobody can get specific. And specifics are required, desperately. Millions of people are looking for love. How are they going to find love if they don’t know exactly what it is?
I’ve been with my girlfriend for four years and I recently asked her to marry me. I think a man in that position should have a solid answer to the question “What is love?” So what is it?
First, it’s not sex and that’s where a lot of guys get confused. It’s cliché at this point to say that guys confuse sex with love, but they keep doing it, stupidly, so it constantly needs bringing up. The fact is that all the thrills of foreplay, fellatio, intercourse and ejaculation are secondary to the outrageous high of realizing someone wants to have sex with you. That’s what men are really hunting when they go out looking for bodies to bang. Those men just want to be liked. The thrill of physical stimulation never gets better than the thrill of acceptance, the thrill of knowing that you are interesting to someone else.
Sex can be good or it can be bad. With me it is often quick. But the first kiss with another human being is always an over-the-moon mind-blowing experience. If you do not share this feeling, then you are having a mental health issue. Seek a therapist or a support group or a facility to check yourself into. A first kiss, even if you’re a quadruple divorcée and a former porn star, should always make you see stars. I am sorry that this is corny but it’s corny because it’s universally recognized to be true and it is so life-affirming that nobody will shut up about it. The first kiss is that moment when you realize “this person wants me.”
So If you try to convince me that you really just want sex, I don’t believe you. I believe you are embarrassed at your human need to be wanted. And I sympathize, but I think we all need to get over it. Getting the most out of life means exposing your vulnerabilities over and over. For example, I’m not a great writer but I’m posting this blog. My point is that if an orgasm is really all you want, then go masturbate by yourself in a dark room.
And that’s not to say that everyone should be looking for a spouse and trying to start a family. Those are fine goals but they’re not for everyone. And they are also not love. Love is not a wedding and love is not a family. There are plenty of weddings and families where no love is present. Sometimes it feels like weddings and families are boxes people are checking off on a scorecard that doesn’t exist.
I believe that the greatest pick-up artists in the world truly fall in love, briefly, with the person they’re going to have sex with that night. They become fascinated with their query and accept that person, totally and sincerely. That’s why they are the best pick-up artists in the world. And I believe the best marriages are built on decades of tawdry one-night-stands with your spouse. It’s that total acceptance that lets you be a filthy, dirty degenerate in the bedroom.
So love is total acceptance. Which is sort of a boring answer after I’d built it up like my take on it was going to be really clever and original. Sorry about that.
Total acceptance is something that requires a lot of work, because even when you accept a person, initially, you’re going to find things about that person later, after you’ve dated for a while, that are hard to accept. You’re going to find out that this person occasionally binge-eats White Castles when he’s feeling sad, and doing this makes foul garbage farts blast out of his butt all night, or that he has a foot fungus that he’s been struggling with for years. These are just fictional examples I made up out of my head.
Everyone has these horror-show secrets and getting to know someone means meeting all of the skeletons in their closet. Think about the secret things you know about your platonic friends. Some of them are terrifying, right? You probably just felt a chill run down your spine. But you’re able to accept those people anyway. And they don’t even reciprocate with HJs and BJs! That’s good.
So I’m not really sure how to help single people on Tinder and E-Harmony except to say that when you are out there dating you need to be honest about the fact that you’re looking for acceptance. And you need to make an honest effort at accepting other people. It takes enormous, colossal reservoirs of empathy to accept other people. We all need to develop those reserves. People talk about making sure not to settle, but they need to talk more about learning to surrender.
(Who settles? Nobody settles now. Settling was more of a 1953 problem.)
This is my answer to the question what is love:
Love is when she comes over to your apartment to help you manage your finances, which she shouldn’t have to do because you are a grown man. And she is helping you do your budget and she asks you how much do you spend per month on your gym membership. And you say “thirty dollars a month”. And she says “Thirty dollars a month?? Wow, that’s a cheap gym.” and then you burst out sobbing “There’s no gym! I lied! I lied about going to the gym!” and you cry and cry.
And she still has sex with you later.