Monday, May 24, 2004


I once took a class in university solely so I could re-write a high school essay. The class was 'The Philosophy of Love, Sex, and Friendship' and the essay was simply called 'On love'.
When I say 'solely to re-write a high-school essay', I mean just that. I never attended a single session; merely walked in a few minutes ahead of everyone else the first night, grabbed the syllabus, and left. Thereafter, I did the readings proscribed and wrote the required assignments, handing the latter in to the professor's office mailbox on the dates given on the course curriculum. I walked into the final exam, written in Laurier's Athletic Centre gymnasium, without the slightest clue what would be asked of me on that test. Despite all this, I got a B+ in the course overall--and that's one of many things wrong with liberal arts degrees these days.
Anyway, my thoughts and beliefs about love are as unorthodox now as they were in high school and university.

"Sweet Marie, she loves just me
(She also loves Maurice McGhee.)
No she don't, she loves just me
(She also loves Louise Dupree.)
No she don't, she loves just me!
(She also loves the willow tree.)
No she don't, she loves just me!
(Poor, poor fool, why can't you see
She can love others and still love thee.)"

--Shel Silverstein

You ever wonder where jealousy came from? I see it as a corruption of envy, which is a natural emotion. Envy is wanting something that someone else has. Without envy, there'd be little impetus for growth. Doesn't the little child envy the things his brother can do?
Jealousy, though, is envy corrupted. Jealousy is "wanting something someone else has, such that they can't have it anymore."
Nothing curdles love faster than jealousy, because true love is unconditional and possessiveness puts the most monstrous restrictions on it. If love is something you gain by giving it away, and you're not allowed to give it away, then your love will dwindle and die.

If a runner is one who runs, and a sleeper is one who sleeps, than shouldn't a lover be one who loves? It's not, you know, not in this society. A lover in this society means one with whom you have sex--often, in fact, sex without much love in it.

How come a woman can tell another woman 'I love you'--in public--without anyone thinking they're lesbians? If a man told another man he loved him, eyebrows would be raised. If they were unrelated men, the assumption would be made that they were a couple of queers. That's kind of sad...first, that the assumption would be there, and second, that men should care about it.
Corollary: women can have 'girlfriends' and men can't have 'boyfriends'. That's even more odd. Shouldn't a boyfriend be, simply, a friend who's a boy? Or can men not have simple "friends who are girls", either? More thoughts on that in a second.

The Greeks had four words for love. I'd argue English needs at least that many. Love has many permutations, from the love you have for ice cream right up to the love you share with your lifemate. It seems ridiculous that one word is supposed to suffice for the entire spectrum of love.

Sex further complicates things. Many men, in particular, seem to be capable of sex without love at all. Myself, I'm not. At the very least, I have to convince myself there's *some* degree of love there for sex to be anything other than seventy-eight pumps, a tickle and a squirt.

Ever heard someone say "I love you, but not in THAT way"? People tend to take that as an insult. They shouldn't. If you want to get scientific about it, what they're saying is that your pheromones just don't do it for them, but they love you anyway.

But then there's some people (often parents of rebellious teens, I've found) who say "I love you, but that doesn't mean I have to like you." THAT'S crap. A better way to put that is "I love who you ARE, but that doesn't mean I have to like what you DID." Kids who feel unliked also feel unloved. It's the same thing to them.

Can a man like a woman without loving her? Or better, can a man love a woman without lusting after her and making a fool of himself?
Yeah, but it's rare, and first you usually have to go through the process of making an ass of yourself. If you're mature, you do this only in your mind. There isn't a guy alive who hasn't thought about sex with any and every woman friend he has. (Sorry, girls, but it's best you know.) That said, a man who can get past the superficial sexual attraction can indeed have a platonic and deep friendship with a woman in which the very thought of sex never comes up. Almost never comes up. Hey, we're men, give us a break!
The best thing to do is to take the best of those friends and marry them. At least, it seems to have worked for me.

Do you remember when toothpastes were marketed as things to clean your teeth with? Now there are pastes and strips and all manner of gewgaws to "whiten" your teeth. Because white teeth are supposed to be important, somehow. They shout to the world "here is a person who will strip enamel off their teeth and endure a great deal of pain in so doing, all to satisfy some artifical standard of beauty. How appropriate that we keep such things around the "vanity" in the bathroom.

Or consider high heels. They're awkward for women to wear, can certainly be painful, and they can even permanently damage your feet. But oh, do they push those boobs out! What kind of society-sanctioned torture is that?

Looks mean very little to me. In fact, the typical male fascination with ogling beautiful women utterly mystifies me. Most of the conventially beautiful women I've seen have struck me as snots, airheads, bitches, or some combination of the three. Besides, such things as intelligence, a fine sense of humour, caring and compassion (all of which my lovely wife has in spades) elevate even the plainest person far beyond what mere looks can do. Although my Eva won't make the cover of Penthouse, she's beyond compare to me. (Let's face it, I'm nobody's stud, either.)

Believe me, if all those endearing young charms
Which I gaze on so fondly today
Were to change by tomorrow and fleet in my arms
Like faerie gifts fading away
Thou would still be adored, as this moment thou art
Let thy loveliness fade as it will
And around the dear ruin each wish of my heart
Would entwine itself verdantly still

It is not while great beauty and youth are thine own
And thy cheeks unprofan'd by a tear
That the fervour and faith of a soul can be known
To which Time will but make thee more dear
No, the heart which has truly loved ne'er forgets
But as truly loves on to the close
As the sunflower turned on her god when he set
The same look which she turned when he rose


That was the wedding song I chose for our first dance. It still holds true today, as it will (God willing) thirty or fifty years down the road.
EVERYBODY'S looks go. In fact, they're the first thing that does. In this screwed-up society where aging is ridiculed instead of revered, people spend millions of dollars trying to prolong their physical beauty. To me, it's a mental illness, one our psychiatry still hasn't gotten around to identifying. It manifests in so many ways: spray on hair (for God's sake, it's a bunch of fur growing out of or not growing out of your signifies NOTHING); makeup (sure, it has its uses, but daily wear to me signifies low self-esteem); wrinkle creams and nostrums; and something else that merits a paragraph (or book!) of its own:

DIETS. Look, I'm going to say this as bluntly as I can: there are fat people out there whose health is or may be forfeit. Those people have to do something. The rest of you, the most of the rest of you, pardon me, are TOO DAMN SKINNY. Women are not supposed to look like twigs you can snap over your knee. EAT something, for Christ's sake. I shouldn't be able to look at you and count ribs. Skeletons aren't sexy in the slightest. And if any man should happen to walk up to you and call you an ugly fatso, you can tell him to go fuck himself. Or you can SIT ON HIM until he screams. The latter is more satisfying the more you weigh.


--the Oracle at Delphi


--the Oracle of the Breadbin

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