The old fashioned girl
Last year for my parents 29th marriage anniversary we went to New York city. My parent’s dream was a love that would last. And they are living their dream. They wanted to celebrate this at the one place they called ‘the big city of dreams’
So me, my brother and my parents went to New York City to celebrate more than 29 years of love. I myself have traveled around this globe quite a lot, and secretly I was always looking for love. I never found it though. At least not one that lasted or had a chance to make it to those 29 years.
It was my first time in New York City and I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe this would be the place where I would find my true love.
I had visions of myself standing on the Brooklyn Bridge with the love of my life. I just met him the night before in a Jazz club, or walked right into him in a secondhand bookstore when we grabbed for the same book. I had painted pictures in my head of all the New York men I had seen in movies. And I could see myself fall for the artist type with whom I would have endless walks in the park. Who would send me love letters for many years. So finally I would move to New York and try to reach those 30 something years anniversary while he would try to draw me and I would dare him to dance with me during those rooftop parties we would have in the summertime. Yes, like always, I had many visions like that.
But unfortunately that is not the way it seems to happen anymore, at least not today it doesn’t. In a time of speed dating and all those online dating sites, it is almost impossible to take the time and fall in love and most importantly; stay in love. And those countless social networks encouraging us to be ‘social’ with one another yet it makes us distracted and can make us forget to go out and experience love.
Even though I like to share and be an open and social person I get slightly annoyed by the fact that those social networks, are many times mistaking for a dating site if you ask me.
When I try to express my amazement about this matter, I get blamed on being to picky. They tell me you don’t find love on the corner of the street anymore or in second hand book stores. You carefully select your love, based on profile pictures or interests that are listed in logic matter of importance or are named to you during a three minutes conversation during a speed date. The good thing about speed dating is supposed to be that you can have a multitude of those three minute conversations in one night to help you select who you want to spend your time with.
We do not seem to fall in love anymore, we rush into it.
And if you don’t hurry your chance might be long gone. People don’t wait for each other on corners anymore, and even if they do they are probably to busy with their mobile phones to even notice you. It blinds us to true love even when it is right in front of us. And it makes some of us settle for something that doesn’t even come close to love.
No. Love these days seems to be sitting on the couch in your sweatpants, eating Chinese take away, after he took you out for sushi on the first two dates. You decided he deserved to have sex with you. Sushi was an excellent choice and so was the chines take away, because those are your favorites. He probably got that from your favorites of on the profile of a social network site. Love this way is so organized.
But I still prefer chaos, love that strikes like lighting. I want someone to go crazy, out of his mind for me, from the start. And not only because he thinks I look good on my profile picture.
Erotic attraction often gets mistaken for love. Intimate connection between two people, is not always a sign of love. Even though we easily seem to forget about that after we had a nice exciting night with someone. Supposedly, our erotic longing indicates who we should, and can, love. And seduced by erotic desire, lots of us often end up in relationships with partners with whom we share no common interests or values outside the bedroom. And when we settle for that, we find ourselves wondering if this is what love is all about on that same couch, say, five years later.
Shared sexual passion can be a sustaining and binding force in a troubled relationship, but it is not the proving ground for real love. But what exactly is?
When we sat down on a sunny afternoon I asked my mom to tell us the story of my dad and her. About how they met and how he proposed to her. When she started to tell the story my romantic idea of how love should be suddenly became shattered by the endless common sense of my mom. No love at first sight led to erotic attraction. No, the picture didn’t look perfect at first sight at all, it was rather complicated. They were friends for quit a long time back in the days. My father was a gentleman who came from a totally different culture and race, which didn’t made it any easier for them to be together. He asked my mom to be his girl after their first kiss. They believed that their love would grow strong if they focused on building a world together, one that is untouchable for others. And they worked hard for that.That fairytale vision I had of two souls who met, joined and lived happily thereafter for let’s say 29 years, suddenly got a moment of understanding.
I realized that true love does not always lead to ‘happily ever after’ and even when it does, sustaining love still takes work. These days we seem to fall in love so easily but we forget how to stay there.
Later that night I spoke to an old friend of mine on Skype who moved to Barcelona, we had a good conversation online when all of a sudden he spoke about his hunger for love. He asked why he and I never went out. Why we always stayed friends. He then basically asked me if would like to come over to have an erotic adventure with him. When I told him that I do not think love is meant to be like that, and that I would rather keep a clear boundary between love, friendship and sex, he claimed I was old fashioned. And that it might be the reason why my relationships never work out. Even though I think he just said that because he felt rejected, it still made me think.
I still believe in falling in love instead of creating love.
I still believe in the kind of love that makes your stomach flip, that makes you lose your mind. The kind that is present from the first moment you meet each other. The kind of love that wipes away every form of logic and is based on a sort of chemistry that nobody is able to explain. Because when that happens you just fall hard in love. I do realize that is just the beginning of it. My mom reminded me that we imagine that true love will be intensely pleasurable and romantic, full of joy and enlightenment. But that in fact, true love is also about work.
And I do agree with her on that. Maybe that is why my relationships never work out. When true love appears you feel in touch with someone’s core identity which has nothing to do with the type of shoes you wear or your favorite food. When a click like that happens you can feel the chemistry, it overwhelms you. This way of thinking about love does makes it more complicated. Because true love puts us at greater risk. Most of us rather choose safety. When you give yourself to true love you have to take the time to get to know each other and work hard to built a world together.
It is much more easy to choose to be with someone who has his personality and interests written down on a perfect looking profile. So you can select and know exactly what that person is into. The danger of this is that we create a better image of ourselves to meet someone we like. And even at times a false self, one we believe will be more appealing to the person we want to attract. I can not believe that true love is like that. It is much more easy to go for something like that shallow and call it love instead of falling deeply in love at first sight and make sure you do the work to stay in love.
I am not the kind that settles for perfect when it’s those imperfections that count. I am willing to work hard. I’d rather risk failure than choose for something that looks like a perfect match on the outside but really is just shallow.
During my last day in the big city of dreams the sun was shining and people where already out on the street. I could see them moving like little ants when I looked down on them from outside my hotel room window. While walking around Central Park all I could see were couples in love. I wondered if they ever had a beginning like those in one of my visions. There was an old couple sitting on a bench enjoying the weather. I realized that secretly everyone wants that. Nobody want to get old alone. In a world where everything is moving this fast the fear of getting old alone gets stronger and encourages us to get a life partner as soon as possible and then stick to them. We try hard, we match and then we settle.
I can understand, in a way. But I wish people would not settle for less then true love. If that is modern I guess I am an old fashioned girl.