Why do we say “in love”?
“ON love” would be more accurate
ON heroin, ON painkillers, ON love
Psychologists and others of their murky ilk call it “love addiction”
Odd, to be addicted to something so elusive
Still, the metaphor stands
As heroin is the great, white mother
so too is love
Isn’t it all, in the end, about mother?
Her love, or lack of it?
And consider the narcotic effects
Love energizes us for a short time
While we are still in the panicky stage
then it kicks in with its full, soporific force
Motivation goes out the window
as the drug slowly creeps up our Warwick Farm
dishes go unwashed
Yet we kid ourselves that the drug gives us insight
feeds our creativity
makes us more interesting
and we focus on the object of our nauseating, annoying, usually inappropriate affections
as though it were their fault
Unknowing, unwilling repositories
Of a lifetime’s unfocused yearning
One minute they’re minding their own business
The next they are on a street-corner with you
waiting for the dealer
They are running their lives on junkie time
And who the fuck pawned their guitar???
How wonderful it must be to get clean
and then…oh joy!…
to go into full recovery
To stand loud and proud at a SLAA meeting and declare
“it’s been eleven months since my last crush”
I’ll do it
but until then
I’ll keep taking the tablets
We all understand fantasy. Or think we do. Most of us were raised on romantic films, love songs, over-inflated ideas about love and sex and picket-fences. But we grew up. Didn’t we?
I find it interesting that the growth in on-line dating has brought to the fore the amount of child-like fantasy that goes into most of our so-called “grown-up” relationships. And I don’t mean a charming child-like ability to seek joy in another’s company doing simple things. That’s all lovely and tickety-boo and nice work if you can get it. I mean heavy-duty, “get a grip” kind of fantasising that just causes chaos and hurts everyone including the fantasiser. ESPECIALLY the fantasiser.
On-line romances are the most obvious example of this. And why wouldn’t they be? No one has met, argued over the dishes, found each other’s habits annoying, had to work out who pays for what or how often sex is to be had and in what form and on and on. No one has had to do anything except write pretty words and maybe dress up for the Skype camera.
I had one of these several years ago. It was the pre-Facebook days and I got chatting, in a forum, to a guy from the United States. My need to escape my then unpleasant situation, mingled seamlessly with his fascination with Australia. Within a ridiculously short space of time we decided we were “in love”. We did the whole enchilada…long on-line chats, long phone calls, he sent me flowers to my work…we even had phone sex.
After a few months of this, he came to Australia. The first time I saw him I nearly died. He did not look how I expected (the photo he had sent me was at least 10 years old), and the vibe he gave off was not the vibe I got on the phone. In other words, HE, the man, was not HE the fantasy. Unfortunately though, I felt somehow “committed” already. Not just because he had come all the way from the U.S. just to meet me, but because I had said all those things. I felt like too much of a fool to just say “no thanks” and walk away. I convinced myself that he was the man for me and that I found him attractive. Dear reader, I married him. Dear reader, three years later I divorced him.
I currently know of more than one person who has their Facebook status as “in a relationship” when what they mean is that they are chatting to someone they met on-line. Just think about how ridiculous that is…to declare yourself in a relationship with someone YOU’VE NEVER MET. Even when you meet someone for a date, there are no declarations of that sort for quite some time. On-line relationships are all comfortable, non-confrontational, fantasy. Essentially these people are just playing a game on-line, like Farmville or Cityville or Prisonville or whatever else. This is “Loveville”.
Just as you can really enjoy the fantasy of growing a bumper crop of blueberries, so too you can enjoy the fantasy of being in a relationship where everything is rosy and you love all the same music and you find each other endlessly fascinating. Move up the levels and eventually become “Master Fantasiser”.
What exactly is the attraction of having a “relationship” with someone who really doesn’t exist? It is no different from the fantasies we used to have about pop stars and actors. Except the fantasy can be fed more because the other person is doing the same thing. We are their pop star. At least in that way it is symbiotic. But why, as adults, would we want this as opposed to a real relationship with a real person, with whom we can have real sex?
I think it is a combination of laziness and fear. Who wants the work of tidying up the kitchen for your beloved when you can just move the laptop away from the mess? Who wants to delve into themselves and see uncomfortable truths in another’s eyes when they can just write more turgid rubbish in an email? Who wants to expose themselves and be authentic when they can believe their own Facebook/Oasis/Skype publicity?
The issue then, is more than just a romantic one. It goes to the heart of our ability to define ourselves and present an authentic face, not just to those we may meet during the day, but to the one we meet every morning in the mirror.
Fuck that for a game of old fairies. Let’s get back to Loveville.