I know, I know, that is just so sappy but I would love it if that happened to me. Trust me, I can hear the groans but I love a bit of romance.
—from: “I Know It’s Sappy But…,” by Sooo-This-Is-Me (S-T-I-M)
Over at Soo-This-Is-Me, S-T-I-M muses about the sappy nature of love. He writes:
“One of my worries in life was that I would never know what being in love felt like, real love, not just an infatuation….I remember asking people how did someone know if they are in love. I think if you are asking that question, you already know what the answer is but are to afraid to admit it.”
S-T-I-M is not alone in his wondering. Over time, I’ve met many a person asking the same question with an equal sense of bafflement. I too have found myself in a similar quandary wondering how it is that some people seem to find a happy and perfect mate to share their life with, while some of us remain on the look-out for a special someone to date.
Not long ago, I was in the arms of a man who stated: “I don’t know how to love.” This threw me for a loop, as we had just spent a long weekend together and were basking in the after-sweat of a frantic tumble. Was this an early warning to get dressed and leave the room, my gut asked at the time. Had I misjudged the previous weeks of infatuated anticipation of getting together and learning each other’s histories? Was this the beginning of a long and sad good-bye? The answers were not long in coming, as I had misjudged the situation, and the good-bye came rather abruptly, requiring a break from all that.
It’s hard to say or figure out what people one meets these days want or are looking for when it comes to dating or a relationship. There appear to be so many choices and options one has to choose from, dating has become an a la carte system of trying to find a person with enough similarities before a choice can be made. First, one has to decide the right app or apps to peruse for a main course. Then belonging to the right totem or power animal group seems a necessity. Never-mind determining an intimacy lifestyle that depends on whether a mono-, poly-, open, or strings-free preference can make or break the opportunity for meeting and having a cup of coffee. And let’s not forget the current trend of displaying a measureable level of “masculinity” be the latest reason for accepting or skipping on a date.
Former essential qualities like respect, honesty, patience, and staying power on people’s Must-Have lists are noticeably absent and seem to have been replaced with requirements for muscle mass and self-determined, fixed sexual roles. A quantitative level of success is necessary, as well as a fantasized length, girth, and sexual repertoire. Rejection is as simple as a left-sided swipe. And possession of an arsenal of selfies and self-revealing photos should be on hand for trade; otherwise, interest wanes until enough time has passed to warrant a case of Net-amnesia and for the courting to begin again — under a different screen name. Applying for NASA’s Mars-Colonizing space program seems less demanding and complicated.
S-T-I-M writes about and longs for his “own version of something that happened to a couple of friends of mine, come true for me.” That is the seemingly clever pretense of dropping on a knee, while pretending to tie a shoe, or rid oneself of a leg cramp, as a ring is presented, and courtship is turned into the promise of love.
“I know, I know, that is just so sappy,” S-T-I-M admits, “but I would love it if that happened to me. Trust me, I can hear the groans but I love a bit of romance. … I am not into drama but a little in a positive way would be nice.”
And I agree with him. There is, and there should be nothing wrong with romance, or schmaltz, or finding love — true love. Lasting love. Honest love. The kind of love that makes us feel happy for the two people involved. And the kind of love that makes me glad to believe that such a thing is possible, even today when snark and pessimism seem to win the day. I’m not suggesting a Disney kind of love, where Prince Eric falls for Charming for even I would squirm at such a thing in public, but cheer for it in private. What I’m thinking about is the kind of love where actions mean more than a feeling or sentiment, and where staying together for the long-haul means commitment and honoring a promise true.
Call me old-fashioned, but the kind of love I long for is the love I read about in books and novels while growing up and the stories that remain alive in my memory years later. These people, both gay and straight, met and made it work. Some were more romantic than others, but they knew they loved their partner and made it their quest to be true to their promise. There’s nothing sappy in this; only the need to meet and satisfy a hope, a longing we all have at some level, and which we pursue again and again, no matter how many times our hearts break.