I want to know what love is.

Saturday, 20. June 2009

5.30 a.m. and unable to sleep because this one is buzzing in my head. A member at realsteveholmes asked me to start something like this, so I have. Contributions are welcome…

My assumption has always been that our intimate relations are more driven by biological imperatives than, say, friendships based on affinity alone or partnerships in projects where mutual benefit is the payoff.

For me as a man this means, I think so far, a vehicle with too powerful an engine that was absolutely driven by testosterone from the age of about nine when I would sit in class and stare longingly at the fascinating Alison C. By the time I was thirteen it was an uncontrollable drive and by the time I was sixteen only the cold latex of an ugly girdle could deter me from wanting to fuck anything female and human under the age of about forty. Clearly this does not persist so strongly all life long but it does, I’m certain, change the pathways of the brain in very powerful ways and at sixty, if I’m not behaving myself, I still sit there hoping somewhat guiltily that the leading lady will give me the privilege of witnessing her tastefully disrobing at some time in the movie, I can’t help it…

This ridiculous engine happens to be by default installed in a vehicle too fragile for its throbbing, the mashed up stew of my what, my psyche, the incomprehensible package of instincts and partial learnings that is me through nature and nurture, expressing itself in habits and addictions, trials and tribulations, triumphs and disasters, in health and in sickness, whether I have any destiny or I’m just a random creature trying to be more than just survival…

Within that package there are more yearnings that will often take precedence as motivation over my carefully polished ethics and these are often just out of reach by definition: I need them; I want them; I cling to them. Here is a list for starters:

I need other people and their respect, even though I will not shut up and behave myself to get it. I need the archetypal love of mother, father, brother and sister, even though there is no chance of me even experiencing the real thing because my childhood was an emotional disaster. I think I need to express myself, more than assembling collections of interests or developing skills of the craftsman would ever do because I truly need to be understood. And I need love, whatever that might be, which is the question here.

As a child of the age when people think it is amusing to ask what is the meaning of life and answer 42 the danger of pure cynicism is never far way and its empty promises are always tempting, so I could dismiss the whole thing as a mere reflection of that hierarchy of needs that we all believe in these days and refuse to elevate love to a special section. This might be true, for all I know.

Yet intimate love with a particular other gives me immediate access to something that is hard to come by otherwise: the pure joy of giving, focusing attention, appreciating, caring for, working for the happiness of, being inextricably linked with (at least for the time being in our mutual narratives) someone other than myself. Yes, I want to have sex with (in my case) her, but that’s not all it is because her little jokes and gesture ignite my heart in a feeling that calls me back from hell and did so even after the death of my wife by cancer. We don’t live in Hollywood, so it took some time and anguish and it nearly wrecked my heart and health, yet to feel that door open again was for me a sign that life is worth living…

What I don’t want to do, and I will dwell on this separately, is to let this fine confection mould and rot by turning it in to a relationship where we lose the mutual worship in a maze of regulation about who owes what to whom in terms of attitudes and behaviours. Never again. Take me as I am with all my faults or not at all; that’s all I owe her in return. I have acquiesced my whole life long in love by negotiation and I never want to be that desperate again. To love is at least to dare…

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Ebru says in the Commentary:
When does an intimate friendship or companionship (or fine confection as you name it) become a relationship ?

Hi Ebru, I know that English is not your first language so forgive me if I explain this in too much detail but I’m no longer blogging for fun and I really want us all to understand each other here…

When I use the word “relationship” in that thread I am giving it an entirely negative meaning, to suggest the horrible compromises that couples make of their being together once they start eating away at each other’s “personalities” and “negotiating” on how things should be.

By contrast to all of that mess there might be appreciation, or as the olde English song has it: “delighting in her company”. There might be many other things, including love, whatever that is…

I am not suggesting any answers. I have no answers to anything and I don’t even believe that there are any answers to anything except as brief Eureka moments when something feels so right you could jump for joy.

I’ll probably come back to add to this but let me know if it’s anything like a useful response and say so if I’ve misunderstood you.
Cheers

Steve

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