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LOVE IS FUCKED
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Originally published in The Trouble With Normal issue eight, February 2004

As you may or may not have guessed, we decided to focus on Valentine's Day. This holiday has given us a rather fucked look at what many of us consider "love." This marketing of such emotion (and the exploitation of loneliness requisite within) has probably created a time of depression second only to the Christmas season. Being as I have never been in a relationship or even actually dated anybody, the focus here will be on that angle rather than more experience fuckups in love, romance and all that shit.



As I have mentioned earlier, I have yet to be in a relationship with someone of either gender. I say this not for the sake of pity, but rather as a vantage point from which I view things between people. For me, the appearance of events where a date is suggested are fucking nightmares to even think about. Luckily, I don't have to worry about these events happening very often.



Maybe it's that I'm a "painfully shy weirdo" (to quote cartoonist R Crumb) underneath all my outward obnoxiousness. Maybe it's my wanting to relate equally without excuses. Either way, I've seemed to have voided myself as boyfriend material with most women I meet. They usually seem to be taken, celibate, lesbian or some combination of the above.



One aftermath of my failures in love is that I tend to end up friends with the women who shoot me down. For example, the person I wrote about in issue seven I consider to be a dear friend. Another person (who I haven't heard from in a while) put up with me and all my shit, and still was willing to be my friend. Both of these women revolutionized my life and took me places I would have never gone on my own.



Another factor entering into my confusion is that the standards by which I judge beauty have undergone a "radical makeover" recently (no pun intended). Things like makeup and perfume, which many men consider to be attractive, strike little interest in me. The older I get, the more I look at a whole person rather than the outward appearance. That doesn't mean I don't look twice when I see a woman who'll "make a dead man come" (to steal from the Rolling Stones, who stole the line from '30s blues singer Lucille Bogan). What it means is that a conversation and who a person is strikes me as real beauty, not cosmetics. All of these changes mentally makes a person who is already lost and confused by the whole meat market atmosphere of bars even more hopeless in such a situation.





It's easy for a person to say, "Someday you'll find the right person." However, while that may be true, it appears to me too often to be a polite way of telling you to shut up and not depress them. I tend to be cynical on this point since one out of every two marriages end in divorce, [as] our national loneliness has made a rise in the number of 1-900 phone sex lines [and] personal ads tend to hype people beyond who they really are. Maybe it's just my own hopes being dashed, but I sometimes feel that most of us have been cheated at what we call "love."



As I get older, I'm slowly learning not to get too depressed at this situation. I'm also aware that it could very well change tomorrow. However, my luck tends to dictate to be thankful for my friends and to believe (really believe, not this watered down 12 step shit) in my own accomplishments.



I'm getting less tolerant of the "Girlfriend mentality" prevalent in our society. This mentality tells women to be quiet, that their looks are more important than who they are inside, and that the opinions of men are more important than their own. This pisses me off mondo, as it increases any socio-political differences between genders and helps little outside of an already fucked status quo. Sadly, this subservience is considered by many to be "romantic" as the rules of this game continue to be as appearance oriented as the 1980s.



Where does the individual fit into all this? He or she doesn't. Where does the honest expression of emotion and affection fit into this game? They don't.



Instead, increased conformity to a beauty standard has become expected for women. While not as rigid for men, the standards still exist here also. [In addition], standards of expected behavior for both sexes remain rigid as women are raised to be quiet and men get forced a diet of machismo that also inevitably leads to violent behavior.



There are few solid answers to the problems of how "love" fucks us over. Hopefully, these pages should reflect a view that many wish to avoid. My guess is that we're going to be worse off until we stop lying to each other and begin treating each other as human beings. Sadly this is easier said than done, as it requires massive introspection and a new look at our own behavior. It requires us to listen to the other person and to realize the same games lead us nowhere. Until then, I guess MRR columnist Christeen was right when she said that LOVE IS FUCKED.



- Boone


Click here for the authors' aside on this piece.

copyright 1994, 2008 - Boone Stigall/The Trouble With Normal