@

A friend and I, sitting and discussing the latest girl I’d fallen for. The waiter, walking through the glass doors and seeing us in conversation, set our coffee in front of us apologetically, hers a sculpted cappuccino in a white porcelain cup, perfectly dusted with cinnamon and chocolate, mine a latte with a napkin wrapped protectively around the heat of the glass.

‘And there was that thing, you know,’ I said, as I shaped a vague invisible box in the air with my hands, ‘where there’s all these other people around, but, the two of you are in this, I don’t know, it’s kind of like the Cone of Silence from Get Smart if it was made out of electricity, you know? Like, there’s that buzz, and it’s just the two of you in the room, and, it’s just… you know?’¹

My friend shook her head, thoughtfully chewing a mouthful of lemon-soaked saganaki and fresh warm Turkish bread before swallowing.

‘No,’ she said. ‘I’ve never had that feeling.’

*

A different friend and I, drinking and discussing the same girl at a different point in time.

‘You know how it is,’ I said, as she poured us another two glasses of South Australian white and I leaned back into her couch. The night outside her living room windows was cold and clear; I’d been glad for my heavy black jacket on the short walk from my car to her front door. ‘When you just kind of click, and you realise that you love someone, totally and completely? And so you believe in them, and you have faith in them, and you want the best for them?’²

‘Um…’ my friend said, lifting the glasses from the table and holding mine out to me. ‘No. I don’t think I do.’

*

An ex-lover, sitting and drinking and discussing her relationship with her longish-term, on-again, off-again boyfriend. She tried to slide a slice of lime into a freshly-opened Corona as we talked. She’d cut the lime too fat, so she squeezed the rough edges and pushed with the palm of her hand, wedging the slice into the neck of the bottle, stripping it of tiny scads of peel. She licked the juice from her fingers and drank before offering up a final summary.

‘Yeah,’ she said. ‘It’s OK. I mean, yeah. I settled. He’s OK. You know?’

‘No,’ I said. ‘I don’t.’

*

I’ve been bitching for about fifteen years straight, whenever the opportunity has come up.

About women, about relationships, about love³. Women in specific, relationships in particular, love in general. Because on the whole, I’ve had some unpleasant experiences with it⁴. For a variety of reasons, on one side or another – broken trust, mistakes made, information that didn’t come to light until too late (or too soon) – but really, that’s neither here nor there. Let’s just say that in the grand carnival of human relationships, I t find my way to the rollercoaster with unerring accuracy. Dizzying ups and sickening downs go hand in hand with sleepless nights, remorse, regret and self-doubt, and every time I stumble off the ride, I make my way over to the funhouse mirror, square myself up and say OK. No more drama. Enough. I want something nice and easy and stable and happy.

But that son of a bitch carny who runs the rollercoaster… he knows my weakness and my forgetfulness far better than I ever have.

‘Mr. Smithson!’ he says. ‘Step right up! So nice to see you again! I’ve got your seat all ready and waiting at the head of ol’ Blue, here – care for a spin?’

Somehow, a perceptual lever flips in my brain and I think he’s asking if I’d like to quietly sit a moment and enjoy a margarita.

‘Why, now that you mention it, yes, Lionel!’ I say. ‘Yes, I most certainly do!’

It isn’t until I’ve passed the first drop and we’re ratcheting up the long climb to the second that I remember.

Fuck! Wait a minute! This isn’t a retro-cool jazz lounge at all! This is a rollercoaster!

… and… where’s the safety bar on this thing?

… and… I thought there’d be margaritas.

*

The thing is, though… I always thought everyone else had it at least halfway figured out. I didn’t have fantasy visions of other people’s relationships where every day was domestic bliss, and no voices were ever raised or anniversaries forgotten, where helpful elves emerged from behind the oven at night to click their heels and clean the dishes and sprinkle just a smidgen of fairy dust around the house. But I figured that people felt – or had felt – similar feelings to the ones I have experienced in the past.

That unbearable yearning to see someone that straddles the line between soft pleasure and sweet pain. That thrumming deep-water explosion of a late-night kiss. The warm golden knowledge that you love and are loved.

And yet… apparently not. Or rather, not always.

Man.

That’s a bitch.

*

A guy I used to work with once bemoaned his lack of a girlfriend to me. It was early morning, when the rising sun was weak and flat across the lobby floor of the club we worked at, and we were the only ones left after a long night, and while we waited for the security van to come and pick up the night’s takings, we sat and smoked on the white marble stairs of the foyer. I miss that pleasure of working in bars – stale cigarettes and crisp coolroom beers that have been chilling for seven days at seven o’clock on a Sunday morning.

‘I’m getting a bit old to be single,’ he confided to me, this guy who would have been 31, 32.

People have expressed similar sentiments to me before. For so long, I had no concept of loneliness, and so I honestly didn’t understand what it was they were concerned about. To me, it was as if someone had said they were worried because they were getting a bit old to learn how to properly cook a dodo.

The dodos are gone, man. This is absolutely nothing to lose sleep over.

Of course, I ended up meeting a girl who, after things had gone south, as they relentlessly, inevitably, seem to, left behind a hole in my life, in my days and in my nights. It was a sign of just how deeply she’d gotten under my skin that, in her absence, I finally understood the concept of not being a self-contained unit. Through loss, I understood what it was to gain.

Thanks for the wonderful parting gift, love.

*

I heard back from a mutual friend the impression a girl had gotten from one of the nights we’d spent together.

‘Apparently you were pretty into it,’ I was told. ‘She said you were very… passionate.’

There was a hint of rebuke about the way this information was delivered. A touch of spiteful amusement, as if the discussion the two of them had had was one of gentle mockery, or critique.

Now and forever, I will say this: unless I’ve broken a bone while misjudging an Errol Flynn-esque swing in through the window, or I’ve actually screamed out the name ‘Justin Timberlake!’ while making love, then there is no such thing as too passionate. This is what passion is all about, and I don’t believe people should be called upon to make excuses for how they about someone, or how they express those feelings.


*

About passion.

I’ve made mistakes, when it comes to love. Absolutely, categorically, I have messed up and gotten things wrong. As we all have; we all have our rugs under which to sweep the memories that make the blood rush to our cheeks.

And my brain leaves the equation all too easily, I know, although I don’t think the two are necessarily linked. In the name of love, I’ve quit jobs, gone crazy⁵, crossed oceans, without a single thought as to what the consequence would be. Not to make any kind of grand, sweeping gesture, but rather, because I wanted to.

And I don’t understand the concept of settling. Because I know that the possibility exists of the kind of love and passion that drives me onwards through every sandstorm and hurricane the world can throw my way.

*

I can remember lying next to someone one night and the realisation that I loved every single atom of her, every last fiber of her being, dawning on me. That was the thought that clicked into my head, and I captured it, turned it around, flipped it on its back and examined it from every angle, in the darkness and quiet of the sleeping bedroom.

Huh, I thought. Well, we know two things. First, I’m kind of a nerd, and I have thoughts like ‘I love every atom of you.’ Second, this is good, this feeling. This is a good feeling.

I could be in trouble.

*

Is it better to have loved and lost than never loved at all? I don’t know. I don’t think that kind of blanket statement helps anyone at all.

I’m familiar with the horrible sensation of loss. That sweeping grey loneliness that comes in the wake of love gone wrong, the sudden sharp silvery pain that slips up and under your ribcage and steals your breath when you see an ex kiss someone else, the rising sickness of having a conversation you wish you didn’t need to have… been there, done that. And this stuff can mess you up. Not every wound heals clean, and the sad, small sound of broken trust can be more terrible and longer-lasting than the loudest fight. This stuff can curl around your bones like smoke and seep into the muscles of your throat until you’re choking on it. This stuff can leave you with scars.

And yet…

For a start, I think I call bullshit on that whole loved/lost dilemma. It’s better to have loved and kept than never loved at all. Whatever smug and self-satisfied genius thought up the original phrase in the first place would have benefited from knowing that. And from a shovel to the face.

And more, to hear the stories of people who have never felt that overwhelming rush of love, like a flooding river bursting its banks and sweeping all before it… Jesus. Maybe I got the better end of the deal, after all.

Because if you can catch onto that feeling, if you can ride the torrents and the turbulence of it, if you can be uplifted and inspired by it, rather than beaten down and broken… then everything changes.

Maybe Adam Sandler said it the best in Punch-Drunk Love.

“I have so much strength in me you have no idea. I have a love in my life. It makes me stronger than anything you can imagine. I would say ‘that’s that’, Mattress Man”

(You have to see the film to know the deal about the Mattress Man)

Maybe a thousand, ten thousand love songs have gotten it right. It was Freddy Mercury who said that love could walk through walls. And he was a man who knew what’s what.

*

And part of me wonders if maybe if I hadn’t had such a yearning for this consuming kind of passion, I never would have experienced it to appreciate it. That maybe, this has all been one grand lesson, with wheels turning within wheels turning within wheels that I never could have seen, or suspected exist.

*

Whatever I’ve been through (and it wasn’t all bad… a long way from it, in fact) – however things have ended up, and whatever has gone wrong, my personal experience is that I can place those things, and my knowledge of what love is, and has been, and can be, on the scales and say:

Yeah.

OK.

Fair trade.

Now give me my goddamn margaritas.

¹ Sage, Simon. Sage.

² Eloquent, Simon. Eloquent.

³ Also about the goddamned Man.

⁴ Alone among all people.

⁵ Not the kill people kind of crazy, though.

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Simon Smithson SIMON SMITHSON is an Australian writer and editor. He is currently based in Melbourne, Australia, but frequently finds himself in Los Angeles and San Francisco. His work has appeared on both sides of the globe in print and online in publications such as BLIP, Every Day Fiction, Beat, The Loop, My Sinking Boat, and more. He has a tumblr at www.simonsmithson.com and he runs a lifestyle experiment at www.selfhelpless.net.

224 Responses to “I Thought There Would Be Margaritas”

  1. Judy Prince says:

    Simon—-your gorgeous poetry and goofy several-liners are a potent combo.

    Your buildup of “never-having-loved” friends, perfect.

    You got a huge hoot out of me with this (and smiles kept coming through the whole analogy): ” Let’s just say that in the grand carnival of human relationships, I tend to find my way to the rollercoaster with unerring accuracy.”

    At the end of that comparison, at the last sentence, below, I suddenly choked up:

    “Fuck! Wait a minute! This is a rollercoaster!

    … and… where’s the safety bar on this thing?

    … and… I thought there’d be margaritas.”

    Are you—-are any of us—-predisposed to love? NATURALLY!!!

    Is it an easy ride? Well, maybe just slightly easier than the rollercoaster—-and with unparalleled rapture on the ride.

    But, then, you already knew all of that, didn’t you, Leader Dude?

    • Simon Smithson says:

      Oh, my poor friends! Everyone should be in love, all the time.

      I’m glad I made you laugh, Judy. And sorry if I made you choke up.

      Honestly. I thought there would be margaritas.

      I’m not sure I’d want an easy ride. I don’t know. I like the drama, I’ve found. If I didn’t, why would I keep finding my way back to it?

      Thanks for the kind words. I think we’re all naturally pre-disposed towards love, but we learn very different ways of finding our way there.

      • Judy Prince says:

        Simon, don’t regret choking me up. On my 10 star rating system a 10-star is what makes me laff and cry both.

        Forgot to say I loved the kiss in the doorway photo. And the ever-gorgeous Errol Flynn (whom I think dear Rodent bears a resemblance to).

        I’m guessing that everyone goes through the rollercoaster. It comes with the weird territory of “Does (s)he really love me?” and “Do I really love her/him?” The cycles of doubt and elation.

        And if we accept science’s claim of a Love Instinct in the brain, here we are hanging around waiting for the Instinct to grab its love food…….at the same time as we load up the actual love experience with a non-instinctual baggage of negative expectations.

        With those doubts like ankle weights, you have to wonder how anybody ever manages to love anybody. A testimony to love’s pervasive, universal strength, nah?

        • Simon Smithson says:

          Yep. Doubt and fear are powerful weights. The mob oughta use them on people’s feet instead of concrete. Those dead men will tell no tales.

          Errol Flynn… man. That guy. I wish he hadn’t been kind of a Nazi sympathiser and given to sleeping with underage girls. I would have liked him more, then.

          But yes. A testimony to love’s pervasive, universal strength, indeed.

          Do you know much about the science of love, a la Jessica Anya Blau?

        • Judy Prince says:

          Whatchew mean, “the science of love, a la Jessica Anya Blau”, Simon?

        • Simon Smithson says:

          If you read the comments down a little, you’ll see Jessica talking about the science of love and passion.

  2. Did you just quote Adam Sandler?

    But seriously, that guy (the one who invented the “is it better…” quagmire) deserves a shovel to the face. It’s a tough question: the one a bastard like him (and you, apparently) would ask.

    My opinion: it’s better to have loved. But I guess once you lose that love, you might change your mind. Maybe not. A life without love sounds sad, though. Loneliness can be killer. But heartbreak? Wow… Seriously, torturous questions.

    • Simon Smithson says:

      I sure did. Have you seen Punch-Drunk Love? Good flick from Paul Thomas Anderson. Honestly, if you’ve got the time, give it a watch. Philip Seymour Hoffman, in particular, shines (but then again, doesn’t he always?).

      Yep. Shovel. Face. Hot date on a Friday night.

      It’s such a bitch of a question. Because ignorance is bliss, right?

      … right?

  3. Uche Ogbuji says:

    Simon, I’m glad you function so ably as the romantic dude on TNB, so I don’t even have to pretend. :P

    I’ll play reverse Lionel for you. Ladies, ladies! Step right up, what we have here, all the way from Australia is a fine…

    Just teasing, bro :)

    • Simon Smithson says:

      I’m not sure why his name is Lionel, but the more I think about him, the more he takes up a solid image in my head. He wears a bad check jacket, smokes cheap cigars, and wears an old bow tie.

      He’s such an asshole.

      Uche, a man could do much worse than have you hustle for him.

  4. Jessica Blau says:

    “The dodos are gone, man.” Oh Simon, you just crack me up!
    And this is sweet and thoughtful, too.

    I’ve been to all those places you’ve been, loving every atom, the whole shebang. And then I’ve done some reading about love, the chemicals that flood your brain, the way you see, think, etc. Someone (in N.Y.Time science section) said you should never make a big life decision when you’re feeling that every-atom thing as your judgment is as sound as when you’re on crack.

    Yeah, it’s a drug. We all wanna score when we can, right?

    I have a feeling you’re going to fall “in love” about 37 times in the U.S. That’s going to be one, damn, fine, long-ass, roller coaster ride. AND, we serve margaritas here, too.

    • Simon Smithson says:

      Honestly, that’s how I thought about it. Being single? Who cares? Why would you care about that?

      And then…

      Oh! Yes! Oxycontin? Is that the one? What a son of a bitch.

      And everyone is a potential dealer.

      Excellent. I look forward to it. 37 times? Damn. I’m going to have to start using my diary a little better. And find some easily-removable socks.

      • Zara Potts says:

        Socks. Oh no.

      • Jessica Blau says:

        Listen, I think the Australian accent will cancel out the socks. Keep ‘em on. No one will notice!

        • Jessica Blau says:

          Also, last thing, I think TNB should put some little tally marker on the banner and every time you “fall in love” the number will change. I bet it will be 37. We can put one up there for Zara, too, but it will be all the American guys stumbling over their feet to be with her.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          What if I’m with an Australian woman?

        • Jessica Blau says:

          The gig is up if you’re with an Australian woman. The accent will be lost on her–she won’t even hear it–it isn’t even an accent to her! You’re going to have to wave that laser sword, do your little dance, and lose the socks for the Aussie girl.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          Huh. That’s more than once a day. I’m going to be busy.

          Goddamn Australian women. They always ruin everything!

        • Jessica Blau says:

          So if I understand this correctly, you’re going to be traveling from sea to shining sea, from the mountains, to the valleys, to the fields of shining grain, meeting AUSTRALIAN women?!

        • Simon Smithson says:

          Ha! No, I just meant as a general rule.

          I have a weakness for American women. I can’t help it.

        • Jessica Blau says:

          (I was quoting words from a patriotic American song, in case you didn’t get the reference!)

        • Simon Smithson says:

          Also French.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          And Spanish.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          Irish also.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          I could go on.

          But yes!

          The song!

          It’s America the Sexy, isn’t it?

        • Jessica Blau says:

          My guess is, you won’t have to take your socks off 37 times while you are a guest here. You gonna have some good ol’ American fun!

        • Simon Smithson says:

          I’m going to throw tea into harbours?

        • Jessica Blau says:

          Indeed the song IS America the Sexy. It about all the wonderous places in this vast land o’ ours where you can find women who will love you with your socks on.

          French, Spanish, Irish. What kind of woman would not make your list? (I’m in full agreement on your list so far, btw.)

        • Simon Smithson says:

          Not make the list…?

          I’m sorry.

          I don’t understand this concept.

          Hmmm.

          Italian should be on the list too. Scandinavian, of course. I’m going to stop before it sounds like I’m suggesting restaurants.

        • Sarah says:

          It’s summer. Warm weather = flip-flops or other sandal-like footwear = the solution to any sock problem. Voila! Eliminate the socks and I bet that number can go up to 40.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          Heh.

          Over here, we call them thongs.

  5. I feel like I was at a bar with you nodding “Yes” the whole time as you spilled your philosophy to me and the bartender was too busy with some floozies down the row. And then we both said “fuck it” and started downing margaritas as soon as they were delivered.

    I’d love to hear you read this whole passion speech drunk at a TNB event.

    And captured on film!

    • Simon Smithson says:

      Ha ha ha… we should do that in Vegas. We can get drunk, talk bar-room philosophy, and agree with everything the other says.

      Especially when one of us suggests, fuck it, let’s just start downing margaritas.

      Heh.

      Drunk, you say?

  6. Brin Friesen says:

    We need to find you a Mercutio minus a Tybalt.

    • Simon Smithson says:

      Amigo, you could be my Mercutio any day of the week. Except you’re more like the King of Cats – a Verona combination two-in-one.

  7. Judy Prince says:

    Simon, for love-loving cultaholics, here’s an NYT site for brief vids of couples saying how they met and how marriage was proposed. I’m hooked on it. There’s a new vid every Sunday, so here’s today’s: http://www.nytimes.com/pages/fashion/weddings/index.html

    Yes, I hope you do as Nick suggests! All around we’ll be hearing “I laffed! I cried! I spilled margaritas on Simon!”

    • Bahahaha! Judy, yeah! Do it, Simon!! DO IT!!

      • Judy Prince says:

        Roll videocams!!

        • Simon Smithson says:

          Well, if it’ll make you guys think I’m cool…

          Judy, did you ever see He’s Just Not That Into You?

        • Judy Prince says:

          Nah, ‘sOK, Simon. You can just read or say anything you want in front of the videocam.

          Haven’t seen He’s Just Not That Into You, but heard it has Drew Barrymore in it. What’s the film about?

        • Simon Smithson says:

          Relationships, basically, successful and unsuccessful.

          But it’s intersected with little vignettes that have nothing to do with the rest of the film, similar to When Harry met Sally. It’s a good technique.

  8. Laura says:

    I remember those white marble stairs and coolroom beers!

    Great piece Simon. Anyway. Wouldn’t you rather be on a sweet awesome-radical rollercoaster ride than the floating tea cups? Or the gravatron? Give me the Scenic Railway any day!

    Miss you bud.

    • Simon Smithson says:

      Man.

      There are so many potential Metro posts waiting.

      The party at Luke’s place where Cal was washing down Caz’s birth control pills with bourbon and coke. All the goddamn New Years’s. The concerts and the functions and the endless hookups.

      I miss that place so much it’s ridiculous.

      And yes. Always. Always the rollercoaster.

      Miss you too.

      • Laura says:

        “The party at Luke’s place where Cal was washing down Caz’s birth control pills with bourbon and coke. ”

        HAHAHAHAHA!!!

        Do you remember that public holiday goo party they had, then the following morning was the recovery party for two tribes? I worked 18 hours straight and was so tired I couldn’t count the change in my hand, and nearly cried when I asked Richard to let me go home early.

        I miss that place too. The 80′s party, the Croatian Christmas night parties where Johnny Black was the house scotch, the endless hookups :)

        • Simon Smithson says:

          Oh, man. Nothing like those regular shift -> irregular shift night-and-day combinations for a one-two punch. Where you there when Mike was working? We’d usually end up back at his place, in the pool, drinking Canadian Club and lemonade, delirious with fatigue.

          It was awesome.

  9. Joe Daly says:

    Stop it.

    Get out of my head.

    Yanno, at the ripe old age of… well, at my age, I have finally realized that settling is simply the product of a gaggle of lies. We don’t even realize it, but while we’re not paying attention, our fears get together and put together a bunch of lies that we’re unworthy, less than other people, unattractive, broken, etc.

    And without realizing it on a fully conscious level, we believe every one of them.

    Then the fear of being alone and/or outcast comes up and our ego says, “Quick- take whatever’s available! Ignore your gut- there’s no time for that now. You’re about to be alone and unhappy forever, so ignore all the red flags and jump into the closest thing. Oh, but make sure your friends will approve because you won’t be able to be happy without that. Now go!”

    Truth is, when you’re clear on what brings out the best in you, and you begin to find the courage to hold out for that, if not to call it forth, then you’ll find the type of person you’ve been looking for all along.

    But what do I know? I’m still single. Then again, I’ve learned to be very happy because I realize I’m not settling for just accepting being single. I’m taking advantage of this opportunity to see what I’m all about. If something’s supposed to happen, it will. In the meantime, as Chris Holmes once said so well, “I’m the happiest son of a bitch motherfucker there ever was.”

    Great piece, brah!!

    • Simon Smithson says:

      I honestly don’t understand the rationale behind settling. Why would you?

      Well, I guess I do. It’s the fear. Fear’s a real son of a bitch (apparently everything I don’t like is a son of a bitch). I agree completely and totally about clarity and the value of it. Something tells me we’re going to have a lot of fun in the US, Joe.

      There’s a line in Deadwood where they’re talking about fear and irrationality, and someone says ‘That [being rational] ain’t a test that fear’s got to pass.’

      So goddamn true.

      Thanks, brah!

      • Sarah says:

        Settling doesn’t always come at the beginning of a relationship. It’s not always a conscious decision. The beginning, especially when you are young, can be all blissful and in the moment and stuff. Before you know it, you’ve ridden that wave of blind love without stopping to think, plan or anything and now there’s a mortgage, there are kids and you’re finally stopping to think about what you want in life and who you want to share it with. And it’s not the person you’re with. But there you are, loving but not in love and wondering if you could rationalize your life in a way that would make that be enough.

        Sound like this is all coming from experience?

        Shit.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          Yeek. Surfing the wave of mutilation, huh?

          Were you able to rationalise it out? I think it’s a very human trait – if I can just sell this to myself, I’ll be OK.

    • Dana says:

      This comment makes me as happy this piece did. Keep on searching guys. You must be THIS tall to ride, and THIS grownup to know it’s worth the search.

      p.s. Never settle.

  10. Becky says:

    I have had that overwhelming feeling so many times. Weird thing is that I didn’t have it for my husband until we had been married for almost 5 years. There was no question in my mind that we were meant to be together, I just never lost my mind about him like that. I think it was because he was my best friend; I saw him how he was, not some perfect fantasy object. When I did get that feeling, it kind of blew me away. It was a slow burn, but so much more satisfying.

    • Simon Smithson says:

      Oh, I’ve heard stories of the slow burn vs the thunderbolt. In fact, wasn’t there a piece on that on TNB?

      Hmmm.

      I wonder. I don’t have enough – or any, really – experience with the slow burn to know.

      • Becky says:

        The slow burn is awesome. But I would say that.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          Hmmm. I’ll have to look into it.

          I’ve fallen in love at first sight on at least two occasions now.

        • Judy Prince says:

          I’d like to just find your comment to my comment so I could comment on it, Simon. Have been scrolling for AGES through your 5 thousand comments, but now I give up. I have to have breakfast and you know do the usual stuff … like laff at Keanu Reeves’ awesomely mobile facial expression in the photo Uche, that subtle romanticist, posted in his comment. Didn’t we useta get a URL in the email that sends us a person’s comment? Not happening anymore, for my email, anyway. Downer.

        • Becky says:

          Judy,

          In “edit” in browser toolbar, click “find,” then type in your name or a couple of sequential words you know were in your post or Simon’s reply to your post. Keep hitting “find” or “enter” until you get to the right one.

          Ta dah.

          Simon, there’s no doubt in my mind that the slow burn isn’t for everyone.

          But I think that there is truth to the notion that, as a culture, we are led to believe that only one type of love is “real” love, and that type is often idealized, unrealistic, and sets us up for a lot of disappointment. Worse, it sets us up for unrealistic expectations for ourselves and others, to the point where we can’t appreciate individuals for who they are or what a “real world” relationship brings to the table. Trying to maintain that level of passion as a necessary bare minimum tends to be both exhausting and breeding of resentment, in my experience. In that way, it can be self-defeating. In and of itself, making itself impossible.

          Some people characterize this attitude as “settling,” but I think there’s a fine line between chasing your dreams and chasing them directly into the sun, to use a tired metaphor. Never “settling,” at least insofar as “settling” is defined by being happy with something that isn’t the perfect manifestation of an essentially unattainable storybook romance could simply mean being alone. I mean, maybe that means I have a fear of being alone. Maybe I do. But also on the topic of irrationality: Is it rational to subject yourself to a lifetime of loneliness out of a stubborn pursuit of the type of love that was largely invented by Disney, Inc.?

          I mean, there’s a conundrum there. I suppose it all depends on your notion of what it is, exactly, to settle.

        • Joe Daly says:

          >>But also on the topic of irrationality: Is it rational to subject yourself to a lifetime of loneliness out of a stubborn pursuit of the type of love that was largely invented by Disney, Inc.?<<

          Amen, sister.

          Good point about the definition of “settling.” If you’re truly happy and appreciative of your situation, then it can’t really be settling, can it? I mean, I guess we can always want more (the grass is always greener in your friend’s relationship), but if you’re in a relationship that works and makes you happy, then I can’t see that as settling.

          I always assumed that “settling” involved accepting less than you believe you deserve, generally because you have abandoned the notion that you could ever find your idea of true happiness.

          A surefire recipe for unhappiness is measuring your feelings against what you see in the movies.

        • Becky says:

          I generally take my recurring feeling that I’ve got it way better than I deserve–at least in my husband’s character and our relationship–as a good thing.

          Little, boring shit tends, more than any rush of passion, to make me appreciate my relationship and my husband.

          He always, always calls when he’s running late. How boring. But a lot of my girlfriends’ husbands and boyfriends aren’t thoughtful enough to manage that. Their wives worry and feel unconsidered and unimportant. It really is, small as it seems, kind of a big deal. He knows I’m a worry wart and a bit of a catastrophic thinker. So he just calls. Even if he thinks it’s stupid (he does, a little). But he just does it. Because it makes me feel better and lets me know that he cares enough to not want me to worry. Such a simple thing.

          So have I settled, since I have to find my happiness in every mundane triumph, or is my relationship so free of disturbance, relatively speaking, that I can find joy in even these tiny things instead of nit-picking and saying miserable, grumpy things like, “Well, that’s mandatory, not special?”

          I mean, who knows? Who cares? He’s my guy, and he’s a good one.

        • Judy Prince says:

          Becky—-thanks for the tip. I scrolled up a few from your comment, saw “slow burn” and typed it into the box after clicking “edit” and “find on this page”—-et voila!—-5 highlighted “slow burn” places showed up.

          Re your offering a nother view of love, yes. I’m glad you did.

          Years ago I read a book describing the author’s longtime happily married friends. Many were well known political folks, and it was a great read. She said that there was no single common denominator in the ways the couples expressed their love, or, rather, treated one another. Some cycled passion with blow-up disagreements, others seldom argued. Some were major romantics, others enjoyed mutual pursuits.

          Recent psych studies suggest that “in love” folks halo-ise their loved one. They’re not neutral. They see fewer flaws, and, relative to other observers’ assessments, they ratchet up the positive traits of their loved ones.

          My own thing is to want an explosion and banquet and opera in one person. Never occurred to me, really, to want “a friend” bcuz I had some already. After crashing and burning in several (ok, dozens) of romantic relationships, I wrote them all off for the future, invested in myself—-and really was having a magnificent time of it!

          Then I fell in “deep infatuation” with 2 men at the same time. I can do infatuation really well—-it brings out the drama I love, and it never occurs to me that it’ll go south. Realism wasn’t a major component of my infatuations, mainly bcuz I had had no expectations or experiences of anything more than dramatic infatuation and its equally dramatic disappointment.

          Dear Rodent somehow infatuated me as well as friended me (what I now equate to the “slow burn” you’ve addressed), and I often think “Wha? How did this happen?”

        • Becky says:

          We’re bickerers.

          Early in our relationship, we never, ever fought. Not goddamn once in two years together. We were so proud of ourselves.

          That was followed by a couple of years of intermittent, and severe, blow-ups. Near-catastrophic.

          We seem to have settled in a middle ground, letting out little puffs of steam–enough to ease frustrations, not big enough to cause any lasting damage.

          It has become almost ritualized at this point, and even takes on the air of a friendly competition or game sometimes.

          But I think keeping your definition of love open to interpretation is important, not just among different partners, but within the same long-term relationship. I mean, people flex and change, and part of loving someone and being committed to that person is being willing to make adjustments according to the way you both change and grow as people over the years.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          Oh cool! I love it when we have TNB discussions.

          In terms of ‘settling’ – yes, in response to Joe’s comment. My definition of settling are people who say ‘You know what? I could do better for my personal needs, but… I’d have to go all the way over there. This may not be love, but it’s convenient.’

          Not for me.

          I think Hollywood has done us a major dis-service, as a species. We’re given to believe that things will always resolve themselves for the greatest good, and, whether single or in a couple, we’ll march triumphantly off into the sunset, into a paradise of crisp white sheets that go up to a woman’s neck but leave a man’s chest exposed.

          Bullshit.

          People are people! There are going to be fights and flareups – there almost have to be, because otherwise, steam is just going to build up until you blow.

          I noticed one thing you said, Becky:

          “Trying to maintain that level of passion as a necessary bare minimum tends to be both exhausting and breeding of resentment, in my experience. In that way, it can be self-defeating. In and of itself, making itself impossible.”

          Without asking for personal details, do you think this is a worldwide phenomenon? The fading of passion? It’s certainly a stereotype, and I don’t have any experience which proves otherwise, I’m just wondering if it’s necessarily so.

        • Becky says:

          Well, I can’t say about a worldwide phenomenon.

          If you want to go there, I suppose you’d have to take into consideration that huge portions of the world (including our western portion of it up until a couple hundred years ago, if not more recently) never married for love in the first place, which complicates matters.

          I suppose it all depends on what you mean by “that kind of passion.” I was referring to the nauseated, overwhelmed, slightly obsessed feeling that can happen in the early stages of a relationship.

          I mean, you gotta eat sometime, you know? You can’t just go around sick all the time. You’d never get anything done. I don’t think that level of intensity is sustainable. Or at least it seems like it would be inadvisable.

          And if you try to make it do that or expect it to do that (or at least don’t allow for some abatement), you can stop it from doing that by placing unrealistic expectations on it, and in turn on yourself and your partner, which, if those expectations (unreasonable in my opinion) go unrealized, can create resentment. Catch-22, I suppose. I think you just have to roll with it.

          I don’t think the abatement is permanent or that the type of passion you have for someone when you first meet them as opposed to when you’ve been married to them for 10 years SHOULD be the same. Wouldn’t that mean you were stuck? Like, would your relationship be suffering from some kind of retardation? Failure to mature? I just expect that relationships will be dynamic–any relationship, romantic relationships included–not losing anything so much as shifting their weight around.

        • Becky says:

          Am I being unwittingly depressing? Not my intent at all. That’s not how I feel about all of this. It strikes me as a good thing.

          And those questions about the progression of relationships are genuine, not rhetorical. I mean, I don’t know.

          Me, personally, I’m happy to be off that roller coaster. Not that there aren’t still ups and downs, but the highs aren’t as high and the nadirs aren’t as low. Exciting as that all was, I don’t find anything wrong with the lazy river ride. It doesn’t strike me as a compromise or a settling. It’s a conscious decision to get on a ride where I can hold a drink without spilling, have a conversation, and just relax.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          “I was referring to the nauseated, overwhelmed, slightly obsessed feeling that can happen in the early stages of a relationship.”

          Yeah, I know that game.

          No, I didn’t see you as being unwittingly depressing. Not one bit.

          There’s a Dandy Warhols song I like:

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSwhr0tPlWY

          (the video is somewhat film school, but what can you do? It’s YouTube).

          But I think you’re right. A relationship has to grow, and be based on realistic expectations. I guess my question is whether that passion can be at the upper level of the realistic.

          Does that make sense?

          “I just expect that relationships will be dynamic–any relationship, romantic relationships included–not losing anything so much as shifting their weight around.”

          Oh, well said.

        • Becky says:

          Well, sure; it can be anything at all. I generally don’t like to say things are impossible. Certainly not something as simple as that.

          It’s a balancing act, I guess. How do you both allow a relationship to just be itself (and you and your partner for that matter) while still having expectations for it? It’s a fine line between working to keep the thing on track/not “settling” and becoming more in love with your idea of love & relationships than with the love/relationship/person you have right in front of you.

          A personal decision in the end. Personally, I’m advocate of fluidity and flexibility (stop laughing! It’s true! At least when it comes to relationships, anyway).

          The repeating, obsessive theme in songs about love is rampant. I think I’d call that an accord between form and content.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          I think it’s good to remember that while nothing may be impossible, there is a spectrum of probability that things exist on.

          Have we spoken about my Cartesian ideas about integration before? I love you, maths. You’re the steady partner I dream of. You never tell a lie.

          Fluidity and flexibility are wonderful things. But so are direction and intensity.

          A balancing act is exactly how I think of it.

          Hooray! We have an accord of our own!

  11. MeiMei Fox says:

    Simon,

    Two thoughts.

    1) Some people live harder in every aspect of their lives, and this includes love. We just FEEL MORE. I sometimes think that it’s a lucky prize I’ve won in the lottery of life, whereas at other times I scream and shout, “F-you, Universe! I just want to be one of those generally-content-with-everything-though-never-particularly-dramatically-exciting types!!!!” I’ve also speculated that the whole Spiritual Path was created as a consolation prize for us hard-living, heartbreaking-and-broken people. (Don’t you dare steal that- I’m using it in my memoir).

    2) No matter what. No matter how great the love. How you can feel every atom. How consuming the passion may be. How much you think, “I didn’t settle.”

    Still yet, at some point, reality WILL set in (This may take longer than 2 years in the relationship, which I know you have yet to experience ;-). And the passion will fade. The atoms will disconnect. The ups and downs will lessen.

    But if you’re lucky, what might remain is that core of faith and the strength, as Adam Sandler so eloquently put it, to say, ‘That’s that, Mattress Man.’ That’s not passion. That’s love.

    • Simon Smithson says:

      @ MeiMei:

      1. yes. I think so. I don’t know what it is – maybe endorphin levels, or something like that. Or just a higher energy level, and so more inclination to move forward.

      Or better time management, so there’s more opportunity to see what’s out there.

      2. Oh, absolutely. Although I did hear a story the other day about a nine-year relationship where the chemistry hadn’t faded. Score!

      Yes. The core of faith and the strength. I like the sound of that a lot.

      • Becky says:

        Or you could just be an extrovert.

        They tend to have a higher physical, scientifically demonstrable tolerance for the chemical that creates feelings of stimulation (not necessarily sexual, though I’d expect that too).

        I know I’ve talked about this before.

        So in order to feel stimulated and ~bored (-bored, or not-bored), extroverts need more intense, more constant, and more over all stimulus.

        On the other hand, introverts tend to have a lower tolerance for those chemicals and need less of them to feel stimulated–exposed to the same level of stimulation an extrovert *needs*, an introvert will feel totally overwhelmed and panicky and exhausted. They’re O.D.ing while their extrovert buddy barely has a buzz.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          Interesting.

          I didn’t know that about the tolerance.

          So extroverts need a higher dose to jack them up, and more of the time, too?

          Hmmm.

          Does this have any link to fight or flight responses?

        • Becky says:

          Not sure on the details. Presumably so. I mean, it would make sense.

          It was just a small portion of a discussion in a psychology of personality class that I took; we were talking about biological influences on personality.

  12. Judy Prince says:

    To Beautiful Beautiful Fox: Nicely expressed thoughts. Your speculation about the “hard-living, heartbreaking-and-broken people” getting the Spiritual Path as a consolation, keeps twirling around in my head.

    Do you think writers are predisposed to being those “hard-living, heartbreaking-and-broken people”?

  13. Nicole says:

    The roller coaster is so much more tolerable with margaritas–until you get off the ride and puke your guts out. Not sure where that metaphor went, but in any case, I hear ya. Chicks, man…and dudes. As long as you can laugh about it and maybe learn something along the way, it’s worth it, right?

    • Simon Smithson says:

      As long as I’m puking on someone who deserves it, I’ll be happy.

      (in a former life, my name was Ipecac Joe).

      Chicks and dudes.

      A friend of mine and I have discussed making up t-shirts: ‘Women are crazy, guys are stupid’. We’ll wear them around and provoke gender discussion. It’ll be great.

      Yep. Given the choice, always, always laugh.

      It’s that or go crazy.

      • Judy Prince says:

        I’d definitely buy one of those t-shirts, Simon: “Women are crazy, guys are stupid”. With the Irene’s photo of the flattened frog on it.

  14. Zara Potts says:

    Is it better to have loved and lost than never have loved at all?

    Sure it is.

    But yes, the pain of having loved and lost makes you question that. When I met and fell in love with my ex -it was magic. Just simply magic. We loved each other from our toes to the top of our heads and everything in between. I felt like I had found a missing part of myself and it was incredible. But time and tide eroded that love and it turned into an absolute shipwreck and I seriously don’t know whether the pain that came from it was worth those few magical years. I think given the opportunity to have it all again -I would say no.

    Because sometimes love isn’t enough. Love does require sacrifice and sometimes what love asks from us is simply too much. In a perfect world, love would be requited and unconditional but in real life, it very rarely is.

    Still, I’m enough of a romantic to believe true, real, good love can and does exist and if you are lucky enough to find it, then grab hold of it.

    Here’s something that makes a lot of sense to me. It’s from a Persian poet called Hafiz:

    “Even after all this time, the sun never says to the earth “You owe me.”
    Look what happens with a love like that, it lights up the whole sky.”

  15. Ben Loory says:

    weird, i was just writing an email to someone about hafiz. very strange.

    • Zara Potts says:

      How strange..

      • Simon Smithson says:

        Strange. I’d never even heard of Hafiz before today. And now I the double!

        Man. I think it comes down to the balance sheet at the end of the day. Sometimes love takes so much more than it gives – and why would you ever want that? It’s an unfair trade, and that’s how you go out of business.

        Mr. Micawber knew more than he was letting on.

        Thanks for the reference, Z.

  16. Irene Zion says:

    Simon?

    You keep that passion.
    There can never be too much passion.
    When I saw Victor for the first time, (I thought, but that’s another story,)
    he literally had a halo all around him.
    I don’t mean virtually, I mean literally.
    I was on no drugs.
    I had not had a drink.
    I was there against my will, to please a nagging roommate.
    When I saw him,
    he had a halo
    all around him,
    and I knew.

    Trust me.
    It’s real.
    You’ll find her.
    Patience.

    • Simon Smithson says:

      I don’t think you can have too much passion either, Irene. Thanks for reinforcing that.

      Really? A halo?

      Cool!

      You should tell that story more often. It sounds like it could be a good one.

    • Becky says:

      The first time I saw Palani, I thought he was African-American. Because I was an ignoramus. I’ve tried to elicit some romantic story from him about the first time he saw me, since he claims to have been the pursuer in our relationship and that he knew I was special, but the most I have been able to get from him with the question “what did you think of me when we first met?” is “She’s HOT.”

      Be still my heart.

      Men. What can you do?

      • Simon Smithson says:

        It says it all in a nutshell, though, you know?

        Wold you prefer he said ‘She looks like she must have an interesting personality!’?

        • Becky says:

          Well, I would have liked to have had a halo.

          I mean, Irene’s thing was pretty romantic. Hallucinogens or no.

          And HEY. I don’t think looking like one has an interesting personality is tantamount to ugliness.

          You can see it in the EYES.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          Oh, nothing to do with being ugly! It’s just, when you first see someone, how else can you judge them but by their appearance?

          And in that judgment, hot is not a bad answer to get.

  17. SolarLab says:

    I’m posting here too so others can see my love for you.
    Even though it’s blog length…

    I rarely get to tell you enough if ever, that I am totally satisfied by your writing. All the time. You’re like a sure thing. I leave satiated and inspired, both as a person and as a writer.

    As for love, I want you to stay open to great love. But also open to what “great love” means. Allow room for your existing terminology to be re-inhabited, redefined. New tenants, so to speak. Get settled in one city for a good chunk of time. Plant some roots. The love you want is not a love you find, it’s a love you make. We are taught to believe in cinematic explosions of emotion that just happen to us. And all we have to do is cast a wide enough net to catch it. But I don’t think it works that way. Believe me, my net is the size of Brazil.

    My twenty-something self got to experience huge fireworks. Hell, I got tattooed and married after literally 8 days. But my thirty-something self doesn’t want that kind of love. I want the love that I get to build with someone. As I get nearer to my forty-something self, I am less and less sure if any of what I’ve said is true. But I know that love is about choosing a person to keep showing up with. Sometimes you make sacrifices and sometimes passion and intimacy get assigned to fighting and learning. I don’t think that’s settling. I think that’s just pulling the lens back and allowing more information about relationships into the view finder.

    It’s not possible for me to love without passion. But that’s because I create it. I walk it. And so do you. So you be as unabashedly passionate as you want. All I can suggest is to stay soft, stay open and pull that lens back as far as you can. Because even though things may seem less than what you thought was perfect, those things will be something only you and another person share. It will be the perfect imperfection that belongs to only you two. Or three… if you end up being into that.

    • Uche Ogbuji says:

      Whoa! Ted! That was, like, deep!

      • SolarLab says:

        Whoa! Uche! Who the heck is Ted?

        • Uche Ogbuji says:

          WHOA!

          :P

          Sorry, no offense intended. Just that this piece brings out the worst in an unromantic.

        • SolarLab says:

          Ha. I totally missed that cue. You even said WHOA.
          It’s very hard to offend me. I’m deep. It’s all true!

          I’m amazed I’m still a romantic but I don’t really see any other desirable options right now. When you’ve been single for a long time, it all feels like make-believe anyway.

    • Simon Smithson says:

      Thank you, Solar.

      It’s nice to know I’m a sure thing. In this age of internet-ordered cialis, we all can be.

      But honestly, thank you. For your kind words, and your sharing of your experiences.

      I think it’s important in any sphere not to be bound to any one definition. I want my boundaries and my mind to be open, because I don’t want something that fits the profile less than 100% to slip away because I couldn’t meet it on level ground.

      And yes. An actual life that stays somewhere, rather than my transient existence, is something I want.

      I love passion. I love intimacy. I even love love.

      And you’re the third person in a couple of days to suggest I end up in a relationship with a couple of people.

      Talk about a rollercoaster.

      • SolarLab says:

        I definitely did not suggest that. I allowed room for it. Big difference. The permutations of two universes colliding are complicated enough as it is.

        When you are rooted, it will be energetically transparent to those around you, without them even knowing it.

        We will talk of rollercoasters and Hafiz soon enough.

  18. Slade Ham says:

    I dunno, man. Ignorance is truly bliss, and I long to be blissful sometimes.

    Knowing what’s out there isn’t always a good thing. I mean, sure it is, when you know what’s out there and actually end up with it… but not when you don’t.

    Retarded people are the happiest people in the world. That dreamy lack of awareness… Retard Happy. That’s what I want to be sometimes. Retard Happy… For my only real concern to be whether or not I’m petting the dog too hard. I want to chase balloons and have someone wipe the drool off my face and fall asleep without any clue of what I’m missing.

    I want to un-know what I know.

    Today anyway. Ask me again on Tuesday and it may be totally different.

    • Simon Smithson says:

      I think it must be like having, and then not having ten million dollars.

      So, I don’t spend my day saying ‘Fuck! I had ten million dollars! Now I don’t! Motherfucker!’

      Because I’ve never had ten million dollars.

      But if I’d had ten million dollars, then lost it… yeah. Suddenly, a world of hurt I wouldn’t have otherwise known about opens up.

      I think the key is, if you lose the ten million dollars, to stand up and say ‘You know what? Fuck that ten million dollars. I liked having it, and I liked the feeling, so I’m going to go out and get me ten billion dollars. And have sex with the ten million dollars’s sister.’

      Let’s be billionaires, amigo.

    • Judy Prince says:

      It’s Tuesday, Slade. Are you totally different?

  19. Laura Bogart says:

    “But that son of a bitch carny who runs the rollercoaster… he knows my weakness and my forgetfulness far better than I ever have.”

    Brother, you are singing my song. I’ve never heard thwarted desire described with such accuracy. Perfection.

    • Simon Smithson says:

      Some day Lionel’s going to find himself singing his song at the bottom of a deep pit, while I laugh and push the button on the earth mover that’ll fill it in.

      And I’ll watch and laugh and drink my delicious, frosty, lemon margarita.

  20. Jordan Ancel says:

    Great post, Simon.

    I think it is wonderful to be in love, but the bliss and romanticization of love fades after time. What is truly wonderful is to keep falling in love with the same person, to keep finding something new and wonderful about them.

    The love we feel for someone changes, so we must change with it in order to keep it going. Otherwise, the loss is inevitable. And it does suck.

    But margaritas do help.

    • Simon Smithson says:

      Damn it. I don’t think I’ve experienced that. But that’s good advice.

      I can’t remember where, but I heard advice one time about how love should be treated as a verb, and not a noun. It’s the act of loving that creates love, and not some emotion that overwhelms us.

      Am I making sense with this explanation?

  21. Lenore says:

    god, you’re such a sissy. you should learn to prefer power to love. it’s more tangible and also you can crush the little guy if you have power. everyone loves to crush the little guy.

    KIDDING love is great. i’m just bitter because i only love people who are unaware of my existence or people i’m afraid of. but i also love ice cream sandwiches. does that count, simon? DOES THAT COUNT?

  22. Mary McMyne says:

    Loved this, Simon. I’m with you all the way! I have always been a pretty self-preservationist person. Very skeptical, wary of how others would treat me if I let my guard down. So there are only a couple of people I’ve met in my life that I both felt this passionately about and trusted myself to let my guard down with. But I count myself insanely lucky, like you, to have been able to feel this!

    And the most intensely passionate relationship I’ve ever had is with my husband. I was addicted to him when I first met him six years ago. There is no other word for it. I quit a well-paying job so I could spend more time with him, since I was moving away to NYC in four months. And before I quit, I would drive an hour to be with him, staying up until 4 am, then driving an hour back home to get up and go to work (the other half the time, he would do the same for me). When I moved away, we pined for each other for nine months, while he finished his undergraduate degree, and I attended graduate school at NYU. Every time we saw one another, once a month, here or there, one of us flying to see the other of us on a plane (and I’m aviophobic), we were those people, you know, in the airport. I remember picking him up at LaGuardia or Newark and having trouble focusing on the drive back to my apartment. That whole first year, before he graduated and moved up to live with me in New York, I was worried that feeling — that knee-rippling dizziness, that invisible bubble that surrounded us when he kissed me — would go away over time. I had read there was a half-life of love, and I had never felt anything so wonderful and intense. But the truth is, even now, six years later, married three years and carrying his child, I can feel it sometimes when he kisses me in the kitchen. It’s rarer now that I feel this, because we talk every day about mundane things, and argue about money, but whatever chemistry we had is still there.

    Wonderful essay, Simon. To anyone out there who hasn’t felt this, keep looking!

    • Simon Smithson says:

      Oh, thanks Mary! I’m happy to know it struck a chord, or rung a bell, or whatever the appropriate metaphor is.

      That’s awesome, as well, re: your husband! Fuckin’ score, you know?! To have that kind of chemistry and passion… well. That’s one internet high-five coming your way.

      And yeah. Despite the fact it has soured, I’m grateful to have felt it. Now, if only I can find a way to catch it and keep the spark alive…

    • Judy Prince says:

      Wow, Mary. This is the soul of romance! Great!

  23. Gloria says:

    Now get the fuck out of here, pervert!

    Th…That’s that.

    And I have a lot of puddings, and in six to eight weeks it can be redeemed.

    I could keep going.I love that movie. One of my all time favorites. Some of my all-time favorite movies ever are love stories. But not the traditional tripe churned out in Hollywood. Anything starring Jennifer Aniston or Kate Hudson makes me want to brain someone. Gah! Yet, I love Harold and Maude. Leaving Las Vegas. Amelie. Cinema Paradiso. The Princess and the Warrior. I can watch any of these over and over and over. And they’re all about love – the type of love you describe above. (Well, that’s questionable in regards to Cinema Paradiso, but it’s about love so step off!) And so, in theory, I’m all for it! Yea love! But, I will tell you this: nothing in this world has caused more suffering in this life than that love, which I’ve felt only a few times – but, oh yes, I’ve felt it. And I’ll tell you something else: I am in no hurry to jump on that rollercoaster again any time soon. Sure, the ride is lovely, but the crashing headfirst into the wall to stop yourself at the end is a son of a bitch.

    • Gloria says:

      Have you seen 500 Days of Summer? Oh, Simon. Whatever you’re doing right now, stop. Run to the video store, rent the movie, and watch it post haste. Then let me know what you think of it.

      • Simon Smithson says:

        I WARNED YOU! DIDN’T I WARN YOU?

        I’m not a big rom-com guy, but I’ve been known to enjoy a romantic sub-plot from time to time, or something off-kilter. LOVE Leaving Las Vegas so, so much.

        See, there must be way, right? To ride the rollercoaster and come to a restful stop without the braking device that is a solid brick wall?

        And I haven’t seen it – but the first friend I mention in this piece compared me to Joshua Gordon-Levitt in it. Is that a good thing?

        • Richard Cox says:

          I saw that film in the theater with my loved-and-lost. I thought it was such a brilliant choice until the end and then I changed my mind.

        • Gloria says:

          I was listening to Love Line when 500 Days first hit the theaters. (Can you get Love Line in Australia – or did you ever hear it when you were in the states? If no, cryin’ shame.) Joseph Gordon-Levitt was the guest celeb that night. Dr. Drew was discussing love addiction in reference to JGL’s character in the movie. I don’t want to ruin it for you…but let’s just say that I would want to be clearer about how your friend meant that comparison before I know whether it’s a compliment or not.

        • Judy Prince says:

          500 days? After the first intriguing 20 minutes, WAY boring! Both actors did great jobs with a script that said: “Oh, let me see, this is sooo an anti-H’Wood rom-com. Let’s just watch these kids suffer needlessly bcuz we can’t figure out how to tighten the script. Good thing our ONLY premise is 500 days—so we’ve got lotsa time to let the actors play around. Shame the guy character comes off as a kind of love-Hamlet, and she blows him off, but well at least we can claim we’re original, just like all the other H’Wood films. Did we gross big bucks? Yeah! We even played to the folks on airplanes….oh, that was a month ago? And now they don’t play movies anymore on planes. Right. Makes sense. Folks on airplanes are too busy getting sick and sucking in volcanic ash anyway.”

        • Ryan Day says:

          I really wanna know where all these light sabers are coming from…

          And, yeah, love, um, we do our best, right? I don’t think any of us really know what’s going on, or even whether it should be going on at all, and yet we can’t get our greedy little mits off it.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          Slade Ham and Richard Cox are helping us out with the gravatars. There were dozens of them rolling around TNB a while back.

          Our best, I guess, is all we can do!

  24. Greg Olear says:

    Some people claim that there’s a woman to blame, but I know it’s my own damned fault.

    I think this song is a better soundtrack for the piece. It’s one of my favorite songs of all time — the lyrics are beyond awesome — even though the video (which I’d never seen before) is unspeakably cheesy:

    Also, somewhere in the depths of my comment board, Tawni proposed a “Five Actresses I’m Supposed to Think Are Hot, But Don’t. At All.” list (my five: Alyssa Milano, Cameron Diaz, Reese Witherspoon, Kate Hudson, and I can’t remember the fifth so let’s just list Kate Hudson twice). Anyway, if we were to make that same list, but with the equivalent hot dudes, Justin would top my list. I just don’t see it.

  25. Richard Cox says:

    I can’t wait to sit down and talk about this over a beer or (in Zara’s case) a bottle of wine.

    I’ve always been a closet romantic even as I told everyone within shouting distance that love was random and chemical and oversold. But something in the back of my mind kept telling me not to settle and to wait and finally that voice turned out to be right. Finally I knew what all the poetry was about. But the timing and situation was off and I had to accept that even the perfect connection can be a bust, which was a hard pill to swallow after waiting so long.

    But even so I’m firmly in the “better to have loved and lost” category. Because now I know. And life is more beautiful for it.

    • Gloria says:

      See? You’re not a sociopath. :D

      • Simon Smithson says:

        @RC: Done and done, amigo. Something tells me that conversation is going to eddy and flow to many strange harbours.

        Ah, the old poetry click. Yeah. Sometimes it takes bitter experience to get there.

        Oh, and look, I’ll say this, and that’ll be the end of the subject. For tonight. Which has seven minutes to go.

        When the perfect connection turns up, and the logistics don’t follow through?

        FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!

    • Matt says:

      If Zara’s involved, make it two bottles.

      Trust me on this.

  26. Tom Hansen says:

    Bravo Simon. I so feel you. It is better to have loved and lost. I have, madly. I even had one as recently as this last winter, but then of course, it blew up. In fact, since I got straight in 1999 I haven’t had a relationship last longer than four months. There are many ways that they’ve blown up for me–I like her more than she likes me–she likes me more than I like her–I fall out of love with her, or vice versa….Early on when I got straight (2002-ish) my AA sponsor said to me “You’re a romantic.” And he said that was a good thing. I wasn’t so sure, but I have come to believe it is, but it’s goddamned painful, and highly irritating. It’s not something that I can shake really, either, no matter how much cynical garbage I spout. But I have, finally, in my now late forties, come to reluctantly accept it. I used to get quite angry with myself that I couldn’t seem to make it last very long, but some people seem to be wired for an unsustainable level of intensity when it comes to love.

    Whatever. I loved every one of them, even if it was only for a few weeks.

    • Simon Smithson says:

      Muchos gracias, Tom.

      The longest ‘relationship’ I’ve ever had was a square four months. Although the last month was pretty sour.

      I think it’s a gift that gives and takes in almost equal amounts, and it’s only when you get the respite to sit back and tally up the ledger that you see if you came out ahead or behind.

      I wonder if there’s a way to sustain that level of intensity. You’d have to be getting a lot of protein, I think. Because Jesus, it’d burn you out.

      Maybe it’s a creative thing. It certainly seems to be, going by some of the comments.

      Did you ever see that show Californication?

      • Tom Hansen says:

        Yeah I watched Californication. It’s kind of funny. My life isn’t too different than his, without the major success and the active addiction.

        Michel Houellebecq has some interesting (and depressing) things to say about love relationships in the age of late capitalism. Check out ‘Possibility of an Island’ or ‘Platform’

        • Simon Smithson says:

          There’s an ep in season one where his dad is talking about how he loved every single woman he’s ever been with, even if only for an hour.

          I liked that.

          Michel Houellebecq couldn’t be more French if he tried when it comes to love, but he’s a good man when it comes to the words and the human condition. I liked Platform a lot, but I haven’t read Possibility of an Island yet. Thanks for the rec.

  27. Sarah says:

    The course of true love never did run smooth…

  28. Simone says:

    The Simpsons creator, Matt Groening, once said that “Love is a perky little elf dancing a merry little jig and then suddenly he turns on you with a minature machine gun.”

    There have been times when I’ve been on that rollercoaster while that perky little elf has been letting rip with that machine gun. It certainly ain’t pretty. And it ain’t all that much fun either.

    But you know what, you learn from it. You gain a little extra wisdom, even though you may forget it at some stage, only for it to smack you upside the head once more when you least expect it. That’s how it works, at least in my experience.

    I swear if I had a penny for every time someone asked me “Why are you single?”, I’d be richer than the top ten richest people on the Forbes list. Am I sick of hearing that question? YES. Can I answer that question? Yes, and No.

    I’ve been single for about 4 ½ years. There have been a few “retards in tinfoil” (AKA: Knights in Shining Armour Imposters) who have come across my path. Loneliness sets in every now and then, but it’s been the times when I’m alone that I’ve learnt more about myself, who I am, what I want in life and my character strengths. You get used to your own space and just when you think ‘screw it!’, Love comes and hits you in the face.

    Kinda like the old adage about when you stop looking for love it’ll find you. It does happen, Simon.

    * * *

    The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread. ~Mother Teresa

    • Simon Smithson says:

      Matt Groening is a smart, smart man.

      Does that mean love and I are kinda… I don’t know… stalking each other?

      If you’re not learning, you’re not growing. And if you’re not growing… well, too much of that is uncomfortably close to stagnation.

      Thanks for sharing your experiences, Simone.

  29. Erica Kates says:

    WONDERFUL. Thank you.

  30. Ronlyn Domingue says:

    This tome was like a memo to the Universe. You’re willing and waiting…

    As for the “passionate” bit, the woman who received those attentions was obviously not prepared to experience something like that. It’s her issue, not yours.

    I’m in the middle of a maturing love, with my partner for nearly 22 years now. He and I met as friends when we were both still in high school. Before I was even in love with him, I knew I was meant to be with him. Call it some kind of preternatural knowledge. Apparently, I was not mistaken because we’re still together. To go with your atomic anology, our chemistry is different from what it used to be, but the bond itself is stronger. It’s sort of amazing, really.

    • Simon Smithson says:

      Dear Universe: here is my list of deman- I mean… things I am open to.

      I came to that same conclusion. Great minds!

      22 years? Madre de Dios! I’m so impressed by that. That’s so cool, Ronlyn!

      And you’re right. It is amazing.

  31. JM Blaine says:

    10:46 on a holiday morning
    & I feel flatly philosophical
    & completely absurdic.
    therefore
    this is the question:
    Who is this
    son-of-a-bitch carny?
    God?
    Satan?
    Self?
    Ego?
    Id?
    Is life a work?

    On another note:
    The paragraph about the lime
    I thought
    was excellently crafted.

    • Simon Smithson says:

      Maybe
      He’s a combination
      Of all of the above
      Working together
      To set
      the scenes
      that must
      be set.

      Maybe.

      Thanks, 11! I worked on that back and forth for a while. I wanted to get the visual right, the way I’ve seen her do that a thousand times.

  32. Nancy says:

    As someone who is 40, never married and doesn’t want children…the line “never settle” speaks volumes. When someone tells me I’m being too picky, I say “Really? Shouldn’t I be?”

    • Simon Smithson says:

      Exactly.

      Aren’t we worth looking for the amazing?

      • Nancy says:

        Absolutely, and I won’t stop until I meet that guy that makes me feel like the luckiest gal on the face of the planet for meeting him. So far I’ve only felt mediocre about the guys I’ve been with. Hopefully, none of them stumble across this admission.

  33. Sarah says:

    I’ve never felt the feelings you described and I’ve never been on that roller coaster. I’ve pretty much been on the Merry-Go-Round for the past ten years – Slow ups and downs while going round and round, never getting anywhere. You’re right, you definitely got the good end of the deal. I believe the highest of highs is worth the lowest of lows.

    Could you hook me up with Lionel? I’m now a single woman, getting mentally and emotionally stronger by the minute and I’m ready for that roller coaster now. Tell him I’ll bring the blender.

    • Simon Smithson says:

      The lows can get pretty damn low.

      But yeah. The highs can be highs.

      Seeing as how I made it out alive, I think it’s been worth it. I’m so much wiser and richer for the experience.

      I’ll let him know. If a guy in a bad check jacket appears on your front door step, adjusting his crotch, loudly clearing his throat, and carrying wilted posies he swiped from your neighbour’s yard… it’s either him or the ghost of W. B. Fields.

  34. Oh Simon,
    I needed to read this. Today particularly.
    It has been a long, long while since I’ve been in love with a man. Sometimes, I think I’m a lesser person for that gap.

    “Because if you can catch onto that feeling, if you can ride the torrents and the turbulence of it, if you can be uplifted and inspired by it, rather than beaten down and broken… then everything changes.”

    Lovely. Than you for writing it. I think I need to go fall in love now. Excuse me …

    • Simon Smithson says:

      Well, then I’m glad today was the day, Jennifer.

      Strange, isn’t it, how it can lift you up so high?

      You are, of course, excused. Good luck!

  35. Kimberly says:

    Yes.

    What you said.

    Also: I’ll have mine with rocks and salt.

  36. Angela says:

    Lovely piece, Simon.

    I think there’s a difference between settling and having realistic expectations. There’s no way any of us will find the perfect match to whatever we’ve dreamt up in our heads, and in a way for some people I think that’s an excuse not to take a risk, to not give someone who’s not their “type” a chance.

    And I totally think it’s better to have loved and lost, at least in retrospect. At the time of course it sucks.

    • Simon Smithson says:

      Thanks, Angela!

      I think you’re onto something there. To fantasise, and turn away from what is in favour of what could be… that works, but only if you don’t buy into the Hollywood myth of the perfect partner who never goes to the bathroom.

      Risks are what make life living. As long as at least 51% of them pay off.

  37. Lisa Rae Cunningham says:

    “Let’s just say that in the grand carnival of human relationships, I tend to find my way to the rollercoaster with unerring accuracy.”

    We share this particular radar. Avoiding roller coasters results in celibacy, which sucks.

    That said, you’ll soon be on American soil, where the ladies will surely swoon.

    • Simon Smithson says:

      Yep.

      Caught between the devil and the deep blue sea on that front.

      At least the devil puts out, you know?

      What did Robert Smith say? ‘I can lose myself in Chinese art and American girls’?

  38. Alison Aucoin says:

    I can honestly say I have almost always settled and I have never been happy in a relationship for very long. Now I have no time for rollercoasters…

    • Simon Smithson says:

      Nguk! That’s sad to hear (if sad it is – it may not be).

      Rollercoasters seem to make their own time, I’ve found. Although, if I had a young daughter I might be looking at things very differently.

  39. Matt says:

    At this point I’m convinced that the carnivale of human relationships is akin to the one from Carnivale: a had-luck place of mystery, danger, and bearded women. The freaks running the show might be good people deep down, but that doesn’t mean they won’t pick your pocket when the chips are down.

    Which is to say, I no longer trust the head-over heels, rollercoaster passion form of love–I see it more as just an intense form of infatuation, and infatuation is more about you than it is about them. Which, as Jessica pointed out, is chemically similar to using certain drugs.

    I’m more with Becky–the slow burn is better. A romance shouldn’t have the adrenal highs and lows of an Extreme Sporting event. Passion is lovingly tending a garden day-in, day-out, not planting a bunch of seeds in a spasm of sudden horticultural interest that peters out a few months down the line.

    Also: no margaritas for me, but I’d go for a tequila shot. Or six.

    • Simon Smithson says:

      I call Clea DuVall!

      With Clancy Brown as my back-up option.

      I think learning the difference between love and infatuation is an important one, although precisely where that difference lies might be similar to a snake eating its own tail. I don’t know – is it possible to have the best of both worlds, the sudden horticultural interest that doesn’t peter out?

      Evergreen?

  40. sheree says:

    Great post.

    I stand accused of some powerful love.

    Al Green said it all for me way back in 1969: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDPkVMtvj_c

    • sheree says:

      Or Toot’s and the song: Love Attack. Unfortunately lame ass youtube doesn’t have a post of the brilliant song.

      • Simon Smithson says:

        Man. Gotta love a little Al Green. Although I’ve been getting into a major James Brown kick at the moment, and it goes down very well on a Thursday night.

        I don’t know the song Love Attack. I think this could become an iTunes mission.

        • sheree says:

          Oh yes, yes. James of the brown sound, puts me on the good foot evah time!

          Also I was thinking about those who settle in love. I wonder how many of those who thought they were settling, were actually learning to just be accepting of their partners imperfections? And is there a difference between the two, more importantly am I making any damn sense. I think I need a scotch and a loose lipped hooker to talk to.

  41. Profundity can come from the unlikeliest places, such as Men in Black.

    J (Will Smith) finds K (Tommy Lee Jones) watching a surveillance image of his wife, with whom he can no longer communicate.

    J: Well, it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have-

    K: Try it.

    So, yeah.

    • Simon Smithson says:

      Intriguingly, Gloria referenced the same thing. This post started off life as a minor Facebook note I wrote, and she commented on it there and pointed to the TLJ moment in Men in Black.

      I think it depends on how bad the loss is.

    • dwoz says:

      My reading of that was that K responded “dry up”.

  42. Stacy Bierlein says:

    I love this piece, Simon, and cannot wait to share it with friends.

    (I had intended to say more, but my head is spinning after reading the comment board. And realizing there is an actual Air Supply video on TNB!)

    • Simon Smithson says:

      Oh, thanks, Stacy! A few people have been saying that, and that’s always nice to hear, that someone’s enjoyed something so much that they’re willing to share it.

      I know, right? Air Supply! Goddamn…

      • Colleen says:

        Okay, so I just got an email saying I got a reply to my comment. I see no reply to my comment. Am I missing something?

        • Simon Smithson says:

          It would possibly have been just a register notice that you left the first comment. TNB likes to make sure you know it’s paying attention.

  43. Colleen says:

    I am having my margaritas! (frozen at that) I have thoroughly enjoyed being single for a decade and a half and not settling on less, and now I am thoroughly enjoying basking in the glow of love given and returned. Sounds so corny. lol However, it is true.

    If you have to question things at all then move on and don’t waste time unless there’s something else you need to learn and get hurt over…again. I have felt the pain of which you speak and I simply decided not go there again. (I did go there briefly – somewhat recently – but it turned out to be a hoax and once I figured that out, I was off and running again enjoying my single life. It was short lived.)

    On St. Paddy’s Day in the heat and fog of green beer, I met someone with whom I am having an awesome time and a healthy relationship. (Yeah, yeah, I know it’s only 11 weeks and one day – but who’s counting? It’s still 11 weeks that he hasn’t changed one iota in the awesome way he treats me and respects me and feels about me – and I reciprocate. The strength and growth in this relationship in our short time together is palpable!)

    Don’t get me wrong. It’s not all roses…there are things to work through. But being willing to work through some things because all the rest of it is just so awesome is what makes it real and worth it. In the past, I would use those things as excuses to say, “Adios!” Now I have faith that the things that can change for the better will. I have faith that he really feels the way he says he does. And I am just not one to trust easily. It’s awesome that someone is pulling me out of that.

    My friends were in shock the day I posted on Facebook “Colleen is in a relationship.” SAY WHAT? Once you post it on Facebook…well…never mind. I’m just being goofy now.

    Okay, so remove the fact that this guy knows I will pummel him into the ground if he is messing with me and you’ll see how awesome this relationship really is. (ha!) I kid…well, maybe…

    • Simon Smithson says:

      I’m dreading/entirely curious to see the reaction to whenever (if I ever do) change my Facebook status to ‘in a relationship.’

      I think it doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you don’t say to yourself ‘I settled for less’. 86 that noise, you know?

      And hey! Things are corny and cliched for a reason.

      Heh. 11 weeks and 1 day but no one’s counting…

      Strength and growth are good things. Among the best of things. And when you work through things, that’s when you get the best kind of growth.

      The very next bar I’m in, Colleen, I promise I’ll raise a glass to you and your new relationship. Pummeling or no.

  44. dwoz says:

    oh….

    I wasn’t aware that this is a DATING site!

    cool.

    • Simon Smithson says:

      dwoz, I like long walks on the beach, watching movies while it rains outside, and beekeeping.

      Just so you know.

      • dwoz says:

        I used to be a beekeeper.

        an amazing vocation, and a most zen-like bit of process and kit.

        Beekeepers wear white, because bees don’t actually SEE white very well.

        Beekeepers use burlap smokers, because when the bees smell smoke, they go into emergency “we’re burning!” mode, and gorge themselves on honey, and then it’s like “what a totally awesome thanksgiving dinner, dude…We’re stuffed, let’s hit the couch and pretend we like football”. They get all mellow.

        After a while, real MACHO beekeepers get into the pace, and use very little smoke, instead acting like a bee. When cleaning the hive frames, we drop the honey-filled wax bits at the entrance of the hive, so the bees can clean up and retrieve it all and start the cycle all over again. But do you know what? the freshly-scraped honeycomb is an AMAZING candy. fragrant, soft chewy wax mixed with honey. Pick some of that back up and pop it into your mouth, and be spoiled for factory candy forever after.

        But be careful to look it over carefully. There’s nothing like that taste, and there’s NOTHING like eating candy that suddenly starts buzzing angrily in your mouth, before the business end of that angry-to-be-eaten bee is free to let your tongue know EXACTLY the nature of your mistake.

        Consider the two worst places to be stung by a bee. Your tongue is one of them.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          Oh my God. I have never actually wanted to be a beekeeper as much as I do right at this exact moment.

          And I am entirely serious about this.

    • Colleen says:

      hahahaha… Dwoz, everything seems to be a dating site these days. Facebook is the worst for people trying to ‘add you as a friend’ while not-so-secretly wanting to date you instead. It seems the times I change my solo profile photos to the photo of me WITH my boyfriend is when I get the most male strangers wanting to befriend me. That should be an entirely different site! lol Ah well, I just don’t accept unless someone is actually my friend. You know why? BECAUSE FACEBOOK ISN’T A DATING SITE! At least not on my wall.

      • dwoz says:

        I killed off my facebook page. I thought to myself, “self…why haven’t you kept up with these people all these years?”

        It isn’t who I am.

        And you are only just now glomming onto a truth that men have known for EONS. That the minute you are off the market, you are desirable and an irresistible target. The minute you are BACK on the market, you are chopped liver.

        weird, eh?

  45. kristen says:

    Simon! Love this.

    Love how–

    “OK. No more drama. Enough. I want something nice and easy and stable and happy.”

    Concluded, ultimately, with–

    “And I don’t understand the concept of settling. Because I know that the possibility exists of the kind of love and passion that drives me onwards through every sandstorm and hurricane the world can throw my way.”

    You will have that. You will have it again. Precisely because, as you say, you know that the possibility exists, and because like attracts like, I think/believe/hope beyond anything. It’s what’s compelled/compelling me to take a closer (and painful, for the time being) look at my own relationship, w/ the knowledge that the only thing I’m capable of “settling for” is that which you describe.

    Trust the universe!

    • Judy Prince says:

      Kristen, I quite agree with *everything* you say here. Did you know, though, that the Universe has decided to take a vacation this year—-I mean the whole year of 2010. So….looks like re romance and soulmate-finding…..it’s up to us TNBers to, like, handle everything.

      EEEEEEEKKKK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Simon Smithson says:

      Thanks, LD!

      Yes. Like attracts like attracts like.

      I also think/believe/hope beyond anything.

      Universe, you heard the lady.

  46. kristen says:

    Eff. I DID know that! I’m in denial, is all.

    Suck it, 2010. (You know?)

    • Judy Prince says:

      Girl, I know, I know. A terrifying panic-making knowledge—-2010, the entire year with the Universe on vacation! No wonder you denied it.

      It means, Kristen, my foresightical friend and TNB companion-in-romance-creating, that we have to gird our (or somebody else’s) loins and play Vacation Sub for the Universe. We can anachronise ourselves to VSU.

      I’ll be in charge of um…….all male persons. You can be in charge of me, since nobody else seems to be doing that.

      OK, I’m ready. Just give me my orders, Kristen. My light sabre never blows out, as you can see.

      • Judy Prince says:

        OK, maybe it’s “acronymize” or “acronimise” or “acronym-ise”…..

        It doesn’t matter bcuz HEY THE UNIVERSE IS ON VACATION THIS YEAR! IT ISN’T CHECKING MY TNB COMMENTS! Oh wow but there’s the Comment Robot. I think you and me, Kristen, trump Comment Robot, don’t you? We are, after all, VSU.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          I think being a VSU could go to my head very quickly.

          I’d abuse my position.

          So, are you guys Cupids now?

        • Judy Prince says:

          Wonderfully, Simon, we can be what we ackchewly *are* which is awesome brilliant brave funny serious persons who are handling the work of the vacationing Universe.

          Since I’ve assigned m’sel’ to manage all males, you can think of me as your simpatico Universal Dude (Dude is a universally-gendered word).

          Would you like to be a VSU? All you need to do is to *want* to be one, and you will be one. If it goes to your head, we will all (most especially you) learn what it’s like to be FAMOUS—–and that’s something that, for you, will be shortly upon you anyway.

          I think Braid Listi is wisely contemplating t-shirts which use your quote: “Women are crazy, men are stupid”. Wouldn’t it be lovely for us VSU to wear those t-shirts?

          Thank you, Simon. I’d love to have you help us manage things for the Universe. My guess is that you’ve been training for it your entire life.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          It’s come to a head recently, JP.

          In the quiet words of Mike D, one third of the Beastie Boys…

          ‘I have never been more ready to this… in my entire life.’

        • Judy Prince says:

          Best move you ever made, Leader Dude!

  47. kristen says:

    Yes, yes we do trump Comment Robot, Judy.

    Also, I’m ordering the nachos.

    (Love may be fickle, but melted sharp cheddar is not.)

  48. [...] Lover, but not of Janeane Garofalo. [...]

  49. Judy Prince says:

    Woh, Colleen, I just typed in a comment to your comment——and BAM! it went winging away and disappeared!

    Looks like Kristen and you and me and Simon (who’s busier than we are right now) will have to face down THE COMMENT ROBOT.

    But first I need a little melted cheddar on *anything*!

    Will you join us VSUers (Vacation Substitutes for the Universe)?

    • Colleen says:

      Doh! I meant to comment in reply to yours but just threw a comment on the regular wall. ‘Twas a bit of a whirlwind weekend. Brain is still kicking into gear.

  50. Colleen says:

    Yes, I have had a few weird things happen on here too (besides my comments). So, I am new to this site. What is the COMMENT ROBOT and what is this intriguing sounding Vacation Substitutes for the Universe thang? (Yes, I said ‘thang.’)

    • Judy Prince says:

      Hi, Colleen; I’m used to “thang”, so it’s no thang if you use it.

      I make stuff up as I comment along, so both Comment Robot and VSU are creations (I first typed in “cretins”).

      Comment Robot is the bot that sez: “Hey—-didja know you just posted the same comment AGAIN! HA HA HA! So we’re not gonna let you do that.”

      And Comment Robot subtly withholds the fact that it won’t let you include more than two URL links in a single comment. You could try to do 3 links ’til the cows come home, but Comment Robot remains adamant for good reasons, even though I forgot wot they are.

      I think Comment Robot is sexy, if weird.

      VSU means that bcuz the Universe has chosen to take a vacation for the entire year of 2010, which we hadn’t fully realised until this week (hey, we thought Universe was hard at work as ever—-hoo noo?!), me and Kristen and Simon have heroically volunteered to be Vacation Subs for the Universe. I’ve volunteered to devote my energies to all males, esp finding suitable mates for them, and Kristen has Very Graciously agreed to be my boss in all things. Simon’s prolly gonna do whatever he wants which will be in all of our interests bcuz he’s a Totally Evolved Dude.

      Wanna be a VSU, Colleen? All you have to do is WANT to be one, and then you are one.

      BTW, lovely gravatar!

      • Colleen says:

        I’m in! I’ve spent the past year teaching men that we are not here for their amusement. They are here for ours! (whoops!! Did I type that out loud? Delete! DELETE!) It really had been an awesome year but with this year already almost half over, I can’t believe the stuff that has happened, including the untimely deaths of several close friends of mine all in their forties! Miss you all dearly my friends.

        The fact that I’m actually dating someone exclusively (and happily so) shows that the universe is on vacation.

        Thanks for the compliment on my gravatar. Simon had to send me the link to get the photo on here. I was lost but Universe Simon has found me. lol

        • Judy Prince says:

          Fabulous, Colleen—-we now have 4 Vacation Subs for the Universe!

          You’re funny, too, which totally makes VSU a class act.

          Woh! I KNEW Simon had begun VSUing! It just comes naturally to him.

          *Of course* male persons are in the world for our amusement, as well as our financial support. I thought they all knew that. We might have to post signs at signal lights as well as billboards and on the Greyhound buses. It’s always handy to know what your biological imperatives are.

          Female persons are biologically impaired I mean imperatived to RULE the world. That’s sort of obvious, but sometimes you have to say it out loud, usually at the same time you’re thumping a male person on the head.

          Just to straighten out a little kink in your very funny but slightly askew reasoning, Colleen……the Universe set you up with your exclusively-dating-you dude. Universe arranged it all before going on vacation.

        • Colleen says:

          Yes, well I guess that was actually clear before just because of the odd circumstances that brought us together (on St.Paddy’s Day no less…Kevin…Colleen holy Irish Batman! I’d share my middle and last names but not here. Suffice to say, they are Irish).

          The only thing is, I’m a Leo (Dragon in the Chinese horoscope) and he’s a Pisces. Since when does that happen? lol The Universe has a sense of ha-ha as well.

        • Judy Prince says:

          Colleen, in addition to the horoscopes, check out Enneagrams (9 types, to see which you and Kevin are) as well as Numerology. That Irish thing must be a strong connection for you two; that is, your regarding it as an important component of a close relationship.

          Dear Rodent also is a Pisces, smack in the middle. And he’s an “Observer” (Enneagram #6 I think). His Enneagram helped me understand some of his ways that had perplexed me constantly. Now, his “strange” responses make total sense.

        • Colleen says:

          I don’t know that I’d call being Irish an important component of a close relationship. I just think it’s funny how all the things that happened right before I met him at midnight on St.Paddy’s Day were what led me up to meeting him at all. The only thing that would have been funnier for two Irish folk would be to have met in the Irish Pub I had spent most of the afternoon in. I just think it’s funny how things go. I mean, not everyone who goes out for St.Paddy’s Day is Irish but the scales might be more bent in that direction.

          Okay, I’m babbling. (Just like I was St.Paddy’s Day lol) I’ll have to look up this Enneagram thing out of pure curiosity! I need to make sense out of strange responses. No matter what sign, Enneagram, or number you are, men and women are just wired differently. We are supposed to complement each other (compliments are good too). The fact that we fight our differences makes us have to look down other avenues in order to make sense of it all.

          I am very happy to have cyber-met you all.

  51. Shannon says:

    **let me preface this with – there are way too many comments for me to read and follow this stuff when i’m halfway working. sorry about my mind’s laziness. and yes, yes, yes, I’M LATE – just catching up really.**

    christ on a stick, simon! i have to stop reading your stuff or i’m going to pack myself in a suitcase and find someone to fly me down under (i’m sure it’s loads warmer there now than it is here) and show you what’s what.

    i agree on all points. i think your friends who settle or who don’t know, “…the Cone of Silence from Get Smart if it was made out of electricity, you know? Like, there’s that buzz…” THEY’RE the ones who are dead on the inside.
    all that stuff is SO worth the lonely times. why spend time with people you don’t like/love or are lukewarm about? then you only have lukewarm times. the people who accept lukewarm times are dead on the inside. i want hot (but not flat) pelligrino-tickly-bubbles times.

    and i like that you surprised me with a dapper lil’ photo of mr. errol flynn.

    ah, the lives of those who know what they want and know that it’s not in the “norm”.

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