Seems to me it’s been a while since I made my dear readers read something really long. Lucky for you, I’m feeling particularly pensive (and, apparently, alliterative) this morning. I also woke up much earlier than I intended and can’t seem to recapture sleep. So instead I will blog (and hopefully I’ll manage to fit a nap in sometime this afternoon, ‘cause I’m still kind of tired, just can’t fall back to sleep).
Love is an immense and complicated subject. Partially because the word “love” itself is so vague and subjective. As a writer, I try to steer clear of the term; the ultimate goal being to write a poem that captures the feeling of love without ever saying “love.” The big problem with “love” is it expresses a whole range of emotions from familial love to friendly love to romantic love and even the crazy, irrational, fairytale love of chick-flicks and, well, fairytales. This last version is something I usually roll my eyes at, call infatuation, and avoid falling for (all the while secretly hoping that Mr. Perfect will come breezing by and completely sweep me off my feet). I have it in my head that Love is something deeper and longer lasting than that fluttering, Hollywood, romance that implies a happily ever after, which we all know doesn’t really happen.
I have been in love, to the point that I could say “I love you” to another person, exactly twice in my life. Funny enough, both men I have loved are now married to women who are not me.
I don’t really believe in falling in love quickly. I tend to be of the philosophy that true and lasting love has to have a strong foundation and really can’t be rushed into. It baffles me that some friends of mine will date a person for just a few weeks and suddenly be “in love.” I think they fall out of love just as quickly. That kind of love, to me, isn’t really love. It’s much too fickle and cheap to really be truly meaningful.
Once upon a time, at Found Magazine, I read a “to not do” list. I don’t remember what was on it except one item: Don’t fall in love with strangers. That really resonated with me and has stuck to the edge of my consciousness. It has seemed particularly pertinent recently after a slew of failed attempts at dating and some empty liaisons (read: regular sloppy meaningless make-outs).
I, being slow to fall in love anyway, am in no danger of actually falling instantly in love with a stranger, but I take that imperative in my own way. To me it rings the truth that it is dangerous to expect too much from someone you don’t know. Though it may not be love exactly, letting my guard down early on in the dating game and giving in to twitterpation is an easy way to get hurt.
This philosophy has not always been bad, I guess. It has saved me from being devastated over some failed little romances. And thank God I was guarded enough to not fall in love with El Douche (though I will admit that I came very close). Still, with the slew of short lived, dead end, attempts at dating that has been my love life lately, I’m wondering if maybe it is, in fact, better to not hold back. Maybe a new approach is better. Could falling in love with a stranger actually work?
Right now is exactly the time for me to decide if I want to take this new approach. I happen to have a stranger who would be very easy to fall in love with. I don’t mean real Love, the kind that really lasts. I don’t think I’m wired to get that way about someone I don’t know really well. If I let myself “fall in love” with said stranger, it will be … well, I guess it would have to be the fairytale kind. Falling in love with strangers for me would mean giving in to the potential for real Love with them. It would mean putting my faith in the expectation of plenty. It would mean letting myself go into a relationship unguarded and very vulnerable to a world of hurt. The very idea is terrifying and exciting. It goes so much against the way I’m used to approaching things that it just might be worth trying. Maybe it’s my own inhibitions that are keeping me from getting into a healthy, lasting, sort of relationship.
I guess I should tell you about my stranger now. I met him dancing on a Friday, we went on a date the next Monday. So things started out rather quickly, but since then they’ve really slowed to a snail’s pace. Our date was about three weeks ago. I’ve talked to him on the phone, sporadically, since then. For a few days following our date I talked to him daily, then he vanished for a week. Finally, he called me, from a pay phone, and told me he had lost his cell phone. We talked on the phone a few times since then; just about every other day. I haven’t talked to him at all since Wednesday though because he is in Virginia for a week, visiting family for the holiday.
So here I am. I will say that our date went really well and I see a world of potential in him. Despite that, and our handful of conversations, I don’t feel like I really know him at all. Thus he still qualifies as a stranger. Still, I’m instinctively hesitant. Maybe I shouldn’t be. I wonder if it’s even possible for me to trust that this could actually go really well and let my guard down. It would almost certainly be good for me to take that approach. After all, if I expect it to fail, the chances go way up that it will… self fulfilling prophecy and all.
I haven’t decided how I want to handle things. This whole ridiculously long post was pretty much me thinking out loud...er... in type. It just barely occurred to me late last night that “falling in love with a stranger” might not be that bad. It’s a bizarre concept for me and I’m still kind of wrapping my head around it. My stranger doesn’t get back in town until tomorrow, and I’m going to be pretty busy the rest of this week, so I have some time to figure it out. Wish me luck, and feel free to put your two cents in the comments.