Nothing is more banal and idiotic than falling in love. It is an ambush, set by nature, to ensnare a plentiful supply of spermatozoa (swimming upstream). Nothing is more pitiful than trying to maintain the feeling of love (by which we mean intense attraction and excitement) once it has run its natural course (whose duration may vary from a drunken night to three years to the fabled forever-after). I hate the falling-in-love stage of being-in-love; it is an intoxication that results in a debilitating inflammation of language. Superlatives abound (looking for the perfect rebound). Later, you bitterly regret this squandering of rare and precious sentiments. You wonder how you could have wasted them on the ‘wrong’ person. But it is too late to take them back or nullify them (though you furiously try); by the time you recant your words, you realise you have been played for a fool. Your words did not bind with reality, they did not alter its predictable patterns of attraction and repulsion. The magic spell failed.
I hate falling in love because it is not real. Instead my affection is slow-growing and refined by time. The longer I know someone, the more I will love them (if the possibility of love exists at all. Do they have a nice butt, for example?). I head premature infatuations off at the outset, nip them in the bud. Fast forward them to death, play them out to the point of absurdity.
If art is a substitute for life, then love should be the ultimate art form. It is textual, performative, musical (in the form of dialogue), intensely visual (“Your butt is like a…beautiful butte”). It is also thrillingly philosophical in that you daily engage with the utter meaningless of life. You have to make meaning anew, regenerate it constantly. Love is not a religious act of faith but a laborious quest for belief. It is a hotbed of political activism, a showdown for the senses. Love never rests, it can’t because it will die, it is only ever really here and now.
Most people regurgitate meaning, diluting its potency with each recycling. They mistakenly cling to their notional selves as their territorial claim on reality. They stand their ground, concede ground. Love becomes a ritualized tug of war that plays out in knotty resentments, codified groans, screaming silences. In short, most people can’t get past their egos. But egos are stupid things that sound a lot like a Russian horse whinnying or the hunchbacked manservant of a mad scientist (“Ego, pass me the scalpel…”). Egos are no basis for love, least of all the quasi-religious strain I love (though I gave up on love long ago – no one is ever game for it with me).
There is no ‘you’ or ‘me’. There is only raw matter in ceaseless conflict with itself. We are just vehicles for this painfully paradoxical flux (which is hardly conducive to love).
There is no love. There are only hormonally induced hallucinations that lead to babies, outpourings of words and broken promises.
Few have the stomach, courage, passion or patience for the love I am talking about. I am talking about romantic weekends facing off the horror of time. I am talking about lying in the trench of your bed and fighting for years over a few inches of ground. Generally speaking, people are inverted black holes gravitating towards a reputed singularity whence they came. Love is the one – the only thing – worth living for. It is a subversion of our tiresomely self-serving natures, a momentary means to overcome ourselves and be… better.
Just as soldiers feel an intense sense of comradeship after fighting side by side, so we can experience an exulted sense of love by resisting the attrition of time, boredom, confusion, and disbelief together (“Be all you can be!” – US army advertisement).
Sadly, I don’t know anyone capable of such love. Everyone’s brains are scrambled with delusions of happiness. Everyone is too busy scratching away at an abstract itch in their ego (usually with a swiping gesture). Everyone is too busy trying to be someone.
I recently punched a wall out of love (almost three weeks later my hand is still bruised and my knuckles dimpled). The magic spell failed. All that is left is another pointless tale to tell.
It wasn’t romantic love – I don’t believe in that. Something greater, I thought. But it is hard to live in the flux. It tends to fuck you over, repeatedly, from day to day. Sucker that I am, I will continue to extol the merits of (subversive) love while having none of it. Which means I will have to love myself. Which means I’m fucked.
Love requires an object.