Sunday, July 12, 2009


What is it about modern romance that I find so damn frustrating? Perhaps I should stop reading.
Yesterday I spent a decent part of my afternoon reading a short story by Doris Lessing: a fantastically, classic woman who understands the world. I immediately identify with her protagonist. The woman’s casual demeanour, her refusal to be submissive, an obligation to do the best for others but an overwhelming desire to just be, apart from all commitments, alone.
Her relationship with her husband was casual yet exciting, giving yet taking and demanding yet forgiving. But I could tell they were only married because they happened to be who the other was dating in their late 20s. Each of them was fine in their independent lives, but love had to get in the way and of course, fucked the woman over.
So they get hitched, and I’m sure the sex was great. They were both attractive and quite fond of each other; however, they both shared too many similarities. Both of them were far too sensible and far too intelligent. GREAT! Now love is not a problem, their major vice is sensibility and intelligence.
Everyone knows intelligence and romance do not get along.
This couple is so intelligent, well-educated and realistic, that they know that the probability of both of them remaining faithful until “death do them part.” It’s preposterous. She’s forgiving when he strays. He proposes a foursome when she lies that she’s having an affair. Umm....ok?
They both laugh at how other people try to fight the natural tides of marriage and because they are aware of this, they are superior. However, their lack of emotional attachment has geared them onto autopilot for so long that all real feeling and expression is absent.
They’re so sensible that they learn to accommodate each other. They giggle and hold each other before they fall asleep and don’t feel any desire to interfere or mingle in the other’s life. Is that what marriage is about? Shouldn’t you ask your partner, at least out of concern, if she randomly disappears 5 days a week into a despicably filthy hotel room for 7 hours—what she is up to?
But they both are sensible people too concerned about suffocating each other because they know the divorce rate in their country. Is suffocation worse than complete ignorance?
The woman gives up her career (for the minions they spawn), they go to school, she doesn’t know what to do with herself anymore. This kills her because I know that she swore to never become one of “those” women. And she is now the poster girl.
She is no longer an individual but just a wife and mother who has signed her life over for others and has gone past the point of ever reclaiming happy, peaceful independence. So there’s nothing left to do but go insane.
If I didn’t identify with the woman so strongly at the beginning, if I didn’t see myself having a marriage like that, if I didn’t...if I didn’t...
Here I was reading a story about a woman caged in her own home, who could not find a piece of mind unless she was completely anonymous and all I saw were my fears laying out in front of me (written with brilliant diction and creative structure nonetheless.) So why was I so pissed off when she committed suicide at the end?
Maybe I wasn’t prepared because I know I would never get to that point. But seriously, this was the most depressing example of a woman being conditioned by her social, and physical, environment in order to appease the ideal life. She ultimately went fucking insane trying to reclaim that person she once knew and swore she would visit again when her kids grew up. Except, she couldn’t find her.
While I see people my age starting to tie the knot and I get all tingly about the romance, I know that I have a lot of living to do. I could only be with someone who knew how to live and was ready for adventure. My dear friend has a blog called Terminal Romance named after a great album, and that word terminal...TERMINAL paired with the word ROMANCE scares the living shit out of me.
Now don't get me wrong, of course I want to be swept off my feet. I'm a woman...HELLO!
Consistency is reassuring, and perhaps I need someone like that in my life. However, I strongly believe that people can grow (and explore) while still staying together. Two people who will uproot their lives for the other when necessary (as long as there’s give and take) and two people who let their hearts think just as loud as their heads. Hmmm...
Did I also mention I’m reading Pride and Prejudice? At least Jane Austen can write a love story where a smart protagonist ends up happily in love instead of committing suicide. Although, I guess we never learn how Elizabeth Bennett ultimately ends up.

I wish the best kind of love for all of you.


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