Thursday, August 18, 2011

Love?

One of my young friends asked me once if I had ever had an orgasm. I was young, as well. So, this was not a rare conversation. I could tell by her tone that there were probably going to be questions to follow if I answered that I had. I had, so following my answer, she asked how would she know when she has one. I had expected questions, but I had no idea how to answer this one.

I think my response probably left her feeling a lot like I feel when someone tries to explain to me how they found Jesus, or how they can feel God. I tried to explain how orgasms came in waves ... How they made you tingle and kinda rolled over you while simultaneously punching you in the stomach. I tried to explain that no two were the same. But, clitoral and vaginal felt very distinctly different from one another. But, when it came to knowing, I gave the same answer I had surely been given in regards to many things. It was the same answer I would be given when I asked about being in love ... You'll know when it happens.

I may not know about many things. But, I do know that the female orgasm is no myth. It's not intangible and it's not as elusive (or illusive, in my opinion) as God or love. So, after two paragraphs regarding the orgasm, I will transition into the real topic of this post; Love.

I was on a date recently, (it was one of those dates that almost feels like an interview) and somehow, the topic of love came up. The guy asked me if I had ever been in love. I paused for a moment and then I started, "Well..." He stopped me there and in a smug, older man kind of way, he said, "You haven't. You'd know if you had." I went on to argue that there are a lot of different kinds of love and he quickly pulled the rug out from under all of my logic and argument and said, simply "There is no universal definition, but if you had been in love, you would have just said yes. It was a simple question."

Was it? Was it really that simple? Most of my single girlfriends that are around my same age have been in long relationships. But, for the most part, those relationships happened in our early and mid-twenties. We were head over heels for the guys involved at some point, but eventually, we were just dealing with, or tolerating them. I remember being infatuated with some of the guys I was with. But, I don't remember really feeling like I was in love. The infatuation had the struggle and the pursuit, but it rarely had the good warm feeling that I want to associate with being in love.

There were also some of us that had our second or third relationship in our mid to late-twenties. For some of us, this was the pragmatic relationship. It's the one you enter into because you function well together. You have things in common and you both have cars and good jobs. It just makes sense. But, again, it isn't what you might associate with being in love.

This is why I pause before answering. I don't really know. He's right. If I'm stalling, I guess I've never been in love. But, I am an agnostic. So, I tend to think of love as a very pragmatic sort of comfort that someone develops after getting to know and growing to trust another person after an extended (arbitrary) length of time. And, I think of "being in love" or "falling in love" as some sort of fantasy state. I can't say I actually believe that one falls in love and all is well.

I think we were all sold a bunch of bullshit, especially women. And even more so, the women of my mother's generation. They were taught that their self worth was wrapped up in the idea of someone falling in love with them. They were taught that there would be a rebel or a bad-boy that would only have a soft spot for them. They were taught that they were meant for one special person out there. And that his life would not be complete, that he could not settle down, until he had her love. And, I just can't buy the view of the 'love' that was propagated by Doris Day, Rock Hudson and Disney. I refuse to be the Miss Piggy chasing her Kermit. (Though, Kermit was a pretty cool guy.)

I don't believe in any of that. I don't spend days dreaming of my Prince Charming. Most of my fantasies involve visions of rough sex, where very little is said.  They are a far cry from the dreams of a troubled man will come settling down for love. I actually want something very different. My love is already stable. His choice to settle down and enjoy monogamy will have come before meeting me. I don't hope for a love that transforms another person or me.

I just hope to be ready if that pragmatic, logical partner should come around. It would suck to be offered a beautiful house and have no land on which to put it. I have to be in the right place. And, no matter how strong the love is, or how great the guy, I have to be ready. So, this is what happens to love in the mind of the 30 year old. This is what becomes of love after the twenties have come to a close. Love becomes a series of pros and cons. If the pros outweigh the cons, I will consider it. And, if I should "fall in love" along the way, all the better. 

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About Me

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I am the product-child of the Women's Lib movement. I have a grade A education, a promising career and no immediate goal for children or a spouse. I will be 30 this year and I have spent many years in monogamous relationships. In and out of 1 to 2 year relationships, I always dated with the goal of meeting someone special. Most of the time I didn't date. Most of the time I found myself falling into relationship after relationship. These relationships were doomed to fail. They were all built on expectations that were, for me, unattainable. I love meeting new people. I find sex enjoyable and empowering and I am not happy when I am monogamous. So, after my last break-up, after taking some time to grieve, I decided to cut my societal puppet strings and get back in the game. I set out on a mission to spend the Summer of 2010 dating as many men as possible. My only initial criteria was attraction. My only limitation was - no love and no structured relationships. This is my date by date tale of what life can be like outside of the goals of relationships and love.
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