You call it madness, I call it love.
We were sitting in the car driving to the Gold Coast, an esky full of food and drink in the boot and picnic blankets folded neatly in the backseat. He was driving while I discreetly held on for dear life, wondering if I should reach out to loved ones and tell them what I would bequest them in the event of my death due to dangerous driving. It was not a relaxing journey. I had been seeing this guy for a little over 2 months. We met at a mutual friend’s party and I was instantly drawn to his quick wit and bushy beard.
Dating for us up until this point had been fun, easy going and light. He was a single dad, me a single mum, we both worked full time and both loved cooking. Our connection wasn’t one of passion. All I could muster feelings wise after two months was the equivalent of a facebook thumbs up whenever I thought of him.
I don’t usually get intense feelings for someone very quickly. I have felt infatuation from an early point, but I can recognise that for what it is and understand its really nothing to do with love, not for me any way. For me love for someone needs to be built and achieved through knowledge and experience of that person. I need to love their mind in order to be In Love. If it happens that someone is incredibly open and shows me an awesome brain from the beginning, I reckon I could fall in love fairly quickly. But that’s so rare.
Lachlan was funny, kind and smart. He had a great work ethic and cared deeply about the people in his life. He didn’t show me his mind; he didn’t talk about much that gave me any insight into how he viewed the world and the people in it. He didn’t share his thoughts on human behaviour, his observations of world events or anything that dipped below the surface of generalised personal likes and dislikes.
When we got to the beach, alive thank God, we set up the blankets and the food. Cups, drinks, plates and cutlery were unceremoniously dumped in the middle and cushions scattered around the outside. He seemed on edge, nervous, distracted. I didn’t give much thought as to why, hoping maybe his driving scared him as much as me and he was pondering how to be a better road user.
He sat next to me and pulled me into his arms. We were eating strawberries and he attempted to feed me one, trying to be all sexy and sweet. Me being the dickhead that I absolutely am giggled and not a sexy flirtatious giggle, a mocking ‘This is so lame’ one. Unperturbed he started to talk. Sentences that start with ‘I have something to tell you’ make me incredibly nervous, they always have and always will. Its so unnecessary. It’s like saying ‘I’m going to eat this jelly’ and then eating jelly. The act of eating the jelly is really all that’s needed, you don’t need to announce it first. In the same sense just say what you want to say without the disclosure that you have something to say beforehand. I can’t harp on too much, I am guilty of this and have often started my sentences superfluously.
“I love you”
Fuck. Nope. Nuh uh. Can’t we just eat some strawberries, drink some lemonade and devour tuna sandwiches with a ton of sand and go home? I really didn’t want to reply, knowing he wouldn’t like the reply, and knowing we still had a 1.5 hour reckless, death defying drive home. If he could drive like a nutter when he was happy heaven knows how he would drive angry.
Humour is my go-to when I feel awkward or I’m in an awkward situation.
“I love your beard” ha-ha, good one Kiara! That will eschew further L words and allow a seamless transition into the rest of the date. Moron. It did not.
He was hurt; I tried to explain the depth of which I loved his beard, and that it was a truly awesome beard, but he was kind of focused on wanting to know if I loved him, as a whole, if I was In love with him. I eventually said I felt it was too early to say that, I needed to get to know him better. I wanted to know how his mind worked and hear his deepest thoughts. I was called a few not very nice names, nothing too bad, he was hurting so I let it go. Everyone expresses hurt differently and I could take this. What I didn’t like was being called Slutty, accused of only wanting one thing. So, I returned the insult with the worst thing I could think of being called or calling someone, and accused him of being reticent and facile.
The drive home was delicate and uncomfortable.
The L word means different things to everyone. I tell my friends I love them but it’s a different kind of love to what I feel for my children, which is different in turn to what I would feel for a partner. And then there’s Love and in love. Best way I’ve heard differentiating the two is love doesn’t need attraction, being in love does. Desire and yearning are a part of being in love, and as this evolves into something with more depth, as it inevitably does, its often replaced or is supplemented by the more permanent, and stable, emotion of love.
A friend raised an idea that love may mean something different to men and women too. She mentioned men, in her experience, tend to use it more freely and superficially to how a woman might. It was also suggested in that conversation that men use the word to obtain access to something the woman has that he wants. That was me politely saying a guy may abuse the L word when he wants access to the girl’s lady parts for an extended period of time.
It can also be a manipulative tool used to keep people clinging to a toxic relationship. I went further with this thought but realised it is a topic worth its own blog entry, exploring the darker side of love, so that one is coming!
Someone sent me a private message discussing Lust vs Love. Its common knowledge the two can often be confused, innocently so most of the time. Strong sexual desire for someone may be nothing more than hey nice boobs, or hey nice butt, but it presents similarly to love in that it’s intoxicating and feels nice. Especially when you get to touch the boobs and the butt. Being infatuated with someone is a subset emotion to love; A short lived passion that fades and dwindles over time.
Love is not something felt on the surface. It isn’t a mild appreciation of someone’s good qualities nor is it simply liking how someone presents themselves. What is love? (ooh baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me, no more). It’s knowing someone intimately and loving both the good and bad aspects of who they are, accepting their flaws and weaknesses, not just their strengths and admirable traits. It’s seeing them at their worst and most vulnerable and wanting them to remain in your life. It’s shaving your legs in winter and laughing at lame jokes.
Love keeps you connected and committed despite setbacks and failures.
It changes as we age too. I went to write it becomes unvarnished but that’s tricky because for some the opposite happens. More complex definitions can apply for individuals based on the experiences they have had, the changes to their perception of the world around them and the people in it. I couldn’t say the L word back to Lachlan because, as a I mentioned, for me love comes with time and exposure to someone. Getting to know how their brain works. This may not be a simple way to love someone to others reading but it is simple to me. Years ago I would have said ‘I love you too’ but now I need much more to be able to use the word in an honest and meaningful way.
So many other points came up while writing this. I initially intended on exploring how and when love is first used by couples in a new relationship but I spoke to a large number of people and they all deviated from this point into the foundations of the word. I want to revisit new couples and evolving emotions, as well as discuss the darker connotations of the word love. It’s fascinating how one word can inspire and generate so much conversation! Might even explore the word hate at some point.
“Love is spending the rest of your life with someone you want to kill and not doing it because you’d miss them”