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Monday, September 21, 2015

Falling in love at first sight….

….is really nothing more than having the reaction: Wow! That woman is so beautiful, I would never get tired of that face. That's all it means.

You're wrong, of course. You'll get tired of anyone. But at least that's how you feel at the time.

"Love at first sight" obviously has nothing to do with any real emotional bond. One may eventually form, but it has absolutely nothing to do with the phenomenon.

Real love, on the other hand, is completely different. The only good definition I can think of is, when you absolutely couldn't stand it if someone died. So much so that you'd want to die yourself.

And romantic love rarely rises to that standard.

Okay, I'll try to make the next post less corny.


Jokah Macpherson said...

Weirdly, I get more stories of love at first sight from women than from men.

I guess it's the whole hamster thing. A women winds up sleeping with and then marrying a guy so her brain manufactures justifications for why him and not any of the other guys.

For every pretty girl I see throughout the day, I'll imagine in a split second how nice it would be to approach her and find out there's that initial spark and fuck her within a few days or weeks and realize that we just totally connect on a deep level enough that I no longer worry about all the other girls I want to fuck and we get married and have beautiful babies together and grow old together and be happy and content because there is one special person in the world that completes you.

But that my rational brain kicks in and says, "No, you don't even know this girl. You just want to fuck her. And you've been down this road before."

John Craig said...

Jokah --
That is a little surprising, since we're supposed to be more superficial than them. You do hear stories about couples who fell in love at first sight, though it's generally old couples who've been together a long time. I guess the expression may be a little outdated at this point.

That's a nice picture you paint in your second paragraph but at the same time, I'm a little relived to hear the third paragraph.

Runner Katy said...

Sometimes I think, once in a blue moon, there is that person that is just as beautiful on the inside as the outside, and possibly, they meet a person that equals that internal and external beauty and not only do the sparks fly initially, but then they learn to love each other for the great man or woman their partner is.

I've met a few couples like this....of course, the beauty is only "skin deep" and only lasts so long, but since the amazing personalities last, I've seen a few of these couples last (at this point) over a decade....and I of course hope to see them still happily together 40 years from now.

I admit though, that I'm an optimist and look for these things to give me hope in the world today.

John Craig said...

Runner Katy --
I occasionally hear of old couples who are supposed to be like this. Who knows what their marriages were real like. They do look good from the outside, though.

Runner Katy said...

I know you've mentioned twice of "old couples" like this, but I'm talking about couples in their late 30's. At this point, they are still pretty good looking to most, but they are just amazing, inspiring people to be around, and they seem to genuinely be proud of the person they are married to and their hard work and achievements. (I try to surround myself with such are what you spend your time with, right?)

Of course I realize that every marriage has its ups and downs, and none are free of conflict and angst, but working through those things seems to also be a habit for these few. (believe me, I have happy hour with the ladies and they spill it all, but it's refreshing to see the outcome)

John Craig said...

Runner Katy --
I'd love to be a fly on the wall at one of those Happy Hours sometime.

Hmm, late 30's. Well, can't say I know any like that, at my age I've become more and more of hermit. But I actually had dinner with a married couple recently who seem to be pretty much of an ideal couple, I have to admit. I know the husband quite well, and he has said nothing but good things about his wife, which is a rarity. (Most guys complain about their wives.)

Runner Katy said...

That's great that you know of a couple like this. I just think, you are correct, there is not real "love at first sight", but on occasion, there can kind of be a "lust at first sight" that grows into lasting real love. For all those hopeful romantics out there.

Oh, yes, we do our fair share of general complaints, but all in all, we know we have a good thing that is worth the work to keep. Anything worth having or doing usually takes a good share of work to achieve. Our athletic endeavors teach us these valuable life lessons.

Shaun F said...

John - an observation about your definition of real love as being "…when you absolutely couldn't stand it if someone died. So much so that you'd want to die yourself." I've seen crazy people behave like this. Specifically in high school. My neighbour and some girl, who I knew well but no longer associate with. (The girl oddly enough ended up being involved with a good friend of mine and basically going nuts on him as well). It was messy: my neighbour tried to kill himself, and she followed suit. No one died, but a lot of unnecessary drama anchored in immaturity, selfishness, (as they are both narcissists) and questionable substances. Crazy people will believe anything – even their love being real. I guess if one is restricted by their world view to no afterlife, what benefit is there to killing oneself if the love of their life dies? To avoid feeling the “pain” of separation from their “love” (read: codependent narcissistic parasitical relationship)? It’s not like they’re gonna meet in heaven together! I am being a tad glib.

John Craig said...

Shaun --
When I wrote that, I was actually thinking of my kids; I didn't want to spell that out because they wold have been embarrassed *both read this blog), but I'll go ahead and mention it here because I figure neither will ever get this far down in the comments. I did sort of hint at that though by saying that romantic love rarely rises to that standard.

You've actually just done a great analysis of Romeo and Juliet with that story. Hmm. Never thought of Romeo and Juliet as being a bunch of narcissistic twits, but you made that case quite well.

Anonymous said...

Great job on the blog, you're right about true love. I remember my grandparents on my fathers side, married 60 years plus, once my grand mother passed, my grandfather passed in less than a year later. I think he missed her so much there was no point in going on without her. Granted they were both in their 80's when it was time to check out. I can say for myself it wasn't love at first sight, but were going on 34 years together and we both still love each other just as much as ever. The key is being best friends first and lovers second, cause lets face it sooner or later those body parts don't function well anyway. The second most important thing is how well you've faced adversity together, and how the relationship responded to it. I always say when the defecation is hitting the rotary oscillator there is no one else I'd rather have in my foxhole than her.

Give my best to your family,

Mad Dog

John Craig said...

Mad Dog --
Thank you, same to you.

Anonymous said...

Corny is nice and underrated.

And with all due respect to "Jokah" (with his references to hamsters and fucking, I doubt he has experienced any kind of love -- at first sight or not) my experience as a happily married woman is that in good marriages it is almost always, to a T, the man who "falls in love at first sight."

And by that, I mean he is so utterly attracted to a certain woman that after pursuing and "winning" her it feel like a real prize. An accomplishment. Of course, real love develops over years.

But that winning feeling, and the initial hormonal wallop to his system, carries him through A LOT of stuff -- including pregnancies, post-partum nonsense, young kids and all sorts of other things life throws at you.

In tougher times, he can always summon or at least remember that earlier sensation of being bowled over and working to get her. That, coupled with a more mature love, is the stuff good marriages are made of.

In marriages, these kind of boy-chase-girl stories are told and re-told over and over until they take on a certain mythology and have a power of their own.

- Gardner

John Craig said...

Gardner --
Thanks re: corny but I think you're being unfair to Jokah. You know his reference to hamsters means he reads Heartiste whom you hate so you automatically dismiss Jokah, but I know him pretty well, he's a long time commentator, and a smart one, and if you want to get a better sense of him, read his comments after the next post ("Hate reading"). Also, keep in mind, there are a lot of guys who "fall in love" with a face, as described above, but then find the personality disappointing, and it's not their fault they happened to hook up with a woman who was silly, illogical, narcissistic, or otherwise lacking. Your husband was lucky enough to find a woman who was both smart and grounded, but, honestly, how many women do you know who are as smart as you? And even when their IQ's are efficient, many are the type of mindlessly ambitious harpies you described once in a comment when you first started commenting on this blog. (Remember, the type who live in your neighborhood who are competitive about absolutely everything?) And from the other side, from what you've said, you were lucky to end up with the guy you did; but what were the odds of that?

You're absolutely right about the way the original meeting stories become mythologized. I think part of that is because of the element of chance involved, and people marveling over things like, wow, if I just hadn't happened to wander into that bookstore that day, or, wow, what if I had happened to choose that other college….my life would be so different. (But keep in mind, that can be for both better and worse, and that too involves a lot of luck.)

Anonymous said...

Fair enough.

I am commenting from the "privileged" position of a happy and long marriage. And thank you for your remarks re: my intelligence. Flattery will get you everywhere.

But I still object to the unadulterated vitriol that flows freely among those blogs. To be fair, which we always used to say in the newspaper world when forced to present the other side, the women's version of that world is probably a shallow, vacuous, hateful place as well.

If you go into meeting people filled with cynicism and anger, what possible good results can you expect?

BTW, I asked my husband if he fell in love with me at first sight and he said no, he just thought I was hot. However, he said that after our first long conversation the the thought occured to him that he could marry/spend his life with me. So I'm gonna run with that.

- Gardner

John Craig said...

Gardner --
Thanks for your fair- and open-mindedness. But you do have to remind yourself that both you and your husband were lucky before you criticize those who've become bitter and cynical because they weren't. I know you've already made this point, so at the risk of belaboring it, let me just give one example: what if you'd met a sociopath instead of your husband? You tend to comment on the politically-tinged posts here, not the sociopath alerts, so I'm guessing you've done a good job of avoiding them in your personal life, so therefore they're not a particular interest of yours. But, sociopaths, at least the smarter ones, are very good at hiding their true colors, at least at first, and when you were younger, you might have fallen prey to one.They can be very charming and dynamic and successful. And then you'd be as cynical as the rest of us.

As far as Heartiste, he is unquestionably one-sided in his portrayal of women, and there's a bitterness that informs everything he writes, to the extent that it makes one think he must have had a pretty bad relationship with his own mother, too. But I'm hardly one to talk about the lack of uplift: I think I must have written around 50 sociopath alerts, which are offset by exactly one saint alert (on Jane Goodall).

Re: your last paragraph: yes, unquestionably lucky, on both sides.

Anonymous said...

Yes, luck. I often forget about luck,

I have very little experience with sociopaths. But I still enjoy your take in them since I am interested in mental "health" and how it affects our decisions and outcomes.

I do, sadly, have a lot of experience with narcissists, not self-centered people but full-blown narcissists. And I've known a few women with BPD.

- Gardner

John Craig said...

Gardner --
No sociopaths in your life at all? Now I'm REALLY beginning to resent your good luck.

(Sociopathy isn't really a function of mental "health" so much as just evil. In some ways, they're healthier than the rest of us.)

Anonymous said...

There is love, there is lust, there is infatuation and there is the practical side of marriage. Four mostly independent things.

A hundred years ago, even fifty, the world was full of couples who had been married decades. Some of them actively hated each other, some were largely indifferent to the other and lived mostly independent lives, many loved each other in a way, and a few were the proverbial lovers-forever.

Then the culture changed-not spontaneously, but because a small group of intelligent and determined people working together in government, in the schools, and most especially the media of mass entertainment and news decided it must. Divorce, do your own thing, put it whenever and wherever you want, and all the rest.

Are we better off or worse off and for whom? Certainly, really bad marriages are fewer. Otherwise sensible people who made the mistake of marrying a toxic or really incompatible person are better off. But a lot more people are dying old and alone, and a lot more are bitter and estranged in general. Divorce lawyers drive Ferraris, and fewer responsible children inherit sizable sums in middle age which become the nucleus of family wealth. Illegetimacy is no longer a serious shame, and so more and more single mothers work full time and raise children, who without a father grow up irresponsible and perpetrate the descent from onetime respectability into white trashhood. Simultaneously, intelligent young females who might have become full time mother-homemakers in 1920, 1940 or 1960 pursue professional education and work themselves silly paying the educational debt and either become "barren does" or who combine family and profession resulting in poor performances at one or both. To say nothing of the dysgenic consequences.

My mother and her older sister are cases in point. Both were star students in high school,, both went to college and both earned degrees in science-my mother in biology, my aunt in chemistry. My aunt, her sister, went on to medical school at a time when far less than one in ten medical students were women (and even that was cause for complaint with the old medical men!). My mother met my father, a Navy lieutenant, and she got pregnant with my older sister, which ended her plans for professional education. They had a pretty routine and uneventful marriage once Dad left the Navy and took a job with a Fortune 100 company, four kids who all went to college, and died in their late seventies. Mom died first and Dad lasted about eighteen months later, but it wasn't "of a broken heart". He simply didn't take care of himself and quit managing his diabetes, because Mom had done that for him for twenty years and he just wasn't going to cooperate with the doctors. But they had good lives in the time after the kids left home: they were both active in several charitable and religious organizations and Dad was a ham radio operator and had a sailboat in which he sailed quite a bit.

My aunt became an opthalmologist, married at 36 to another doctor, they had one kid, and neither paid the least attention to him. She was very well respected professionally, but her marriage broke up less than ten years later, and the boy was shuttled between the two in combative fashion. He became a homosexual and a drug addict and he died of AIDS at the height of the phenomenon, right before the AIDS drugs were introduced. Her ex married several more times and fathered several kids who have all had only sightly less disastrous lives (at least one of the others is also deceased now). She practiced until recently, but her life outside of medicine has been a disaster: she's friendless, angry, combative, and although she has a fair amount of money lives like a bag lady. She will die in an expensive care facility surrounded by immigrant nurses and caretakers, and if she has any estate left it will go to the system.

My mother often said that looking back, getting pregnant had been a blessing, because otherwise she would have had the same kind of life her sister had.

John Craig said...

Anon --
You just made a GREAT case for traditional marriage and family structure. A far better argument than the sort of generalities and bromides and religious dogma and false moralizing that one normally hears.