Saturday, September 4, 2010

a love story

Once upon a time there was a man who had everything. He was tall, broad-shouldered, cleft-jawed, and really, really intelligent. He was talented at anything he tried and even stuff he didn't. His teeth were straight and so was his shooting, and although he was powerful and rough and could bake you a gourmet cake in the dream kitchen he built with his own hands, behind his granite exterior he was also very sensitive and felt that something, somehow, was missing.

Also once upon a time there was a woman who seemed to have everything. Her teeth were straight and her neck was lovely. She was strong, in her womanly way, but was also very soft and delicate. She had flawless skin and a body that only grew hair at the top - everywhere else was as hairless as one of those ridiculous Mexican dogs. Her waist, ankles and eyebrows were narrow, her legs were long, her perfectly-matched, fawn-like breasts were gravity-defying, and her eyes sparkled like there was starlight in them (or vizine) - but there wasn't any starlight or vizine, she was 
just that way. Despite how Mary-Poppins-Esque she was, however, she too was convinced that something was missing.

One day, the man and the woman who had everything met and realized that what they did not have was each other. They realized that they were 
perfectly suited in every possible way, and although they had their little tiffs (as lovers do), things were really, really great. Sex was effortless, wild, and always mutually fulfilling. They had to compromise on a lot of things, sure, but never had to make any major sacrifices because they mostly wanted all the same things. Neither of them ever, ever thought about what it would be like with anyone else. They fulfilled all their dreams, had the exact number of children that they each wanted, and lived happily ever after.

---

As you may have guessed, that was a fairy story. It is not real and did not happen, but is more or less the exact story that has been educated, pounded and bamboozled into the head of every man and woman in North America - even the heads that think they are too full of brains to be taken in by such drivel.

Let me tell you a different story - a true one. It goes like this:

Once upon a time there was a man who was first a boy, a mix of all that is good and evil about humanity. As he grew and his body changed, he looked at what the men around him were like and tried to copy them because he wanted to fit in and be loved. This man saw men who were violent and men who were gentle, so he stumbled around vacillating between the two. He acted tougher than he felt, and was embarrassed by this. He desired women, and in time came to believe that he ought to have a woman like the one in the fairy story - a "perfect" female who would fulfill all the ludicrous fantasies he had been taught to believe a woman existed to fulfill.

Somewhere else, a little girl grew up being told how to be desirable - how to get men to want her. The implication in this lesson was that men did not already want her and that she would have to learn how to earn that desire. So she learned. She watched closely and imitated all the bizarre, self-mutilating behaviors of older, more experienced women. She wanted to be loved by men and by the other women, who seemed most interested in being around the women that men wanted most - the ones who looked and acted most like fairy-tale women. As she grew older she liked to think that she knew better - that she did not need a man's approval to feel worthwhile. But still...

One day, the man and the woman met. Because everything about their meeting was 
just right and because they both believed in the fairy story, electricity and pheromones started to crackle and arc between them and it occurred to both of them that this was IT. The fairy story was happening at last! And to them! 


The power of this story and (perhaps more importantly) their belief in the power of this story overwhelmed them and they rode for a while on the wave of it, as giddy as a couple of surfers who had just caught the perfect break.

Then something happened. Perhaps the wave went under a pier, or around some rocks, or over a reef that because of its shape shifted the flow of sub-currents. Whatever it was, one and eventually both of them got a sense that the narrative wave was about to crash and boil. In that moment, they understood the story for what it was - a fantasy and a lie.

The story was powerful, though, and jealous. It needed characters to live and would not go gently back into that broad sea from which it came. It kept right on tumbling the lovers, bouncing them off pier-pillars and rocks, scraping them across razor-sharp coral until one of them said, "You know what? Screw this! I know I wasn't promised a rose garden, but this is 
ridiculous. Nobody said anything about bloody cuts and plate-sized bruises - I'm out of here!"

This person left the story to try to find another narrative, one that would follow its proper course. And the abandoned person, seeing no other options, did the same. 



On and on this process repeated for both of them until one day, one of them woke up and said, "Wait a minute... maybe the problem isn't my piss-poor ability at picking co-protagonists for my perfect story. Maybe, maybe, maybe... well, maybe the solution is just to recognize that the whole story is screwed top to bottom, and the only way to begin to heal it and to stitch the narrative strands back together is to stop believing in the frickin' lie and start loving another broken person just the way they are!"

And at that point - right then and absolutely no sooner - there began to be a love story.

3 comments:

  1. So did this love story just start?? I'm hesitant to be as excited as I want to be.

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  2. Hmmm. Hadn't really figured on this being interpreted as referring to a specific love story between myself and another person. We do crave our romance, don't we?

    Allow me to expand with this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=at_f98qOGY0

    ReplyDelete