Social Icons


Sunday, April 07, 2013


At some point, the topics (breakup, her son, how we're getting along, how I imagine that we'd get along in the future) had to be broached. If only to normalize things in the sense of "Yeah, sometimes this is stuff that we're going to talk about and that's ok."

It was far less scary than I initially thought (which was some bizarre version of a complete meltdown on my part, in which I scream "Your son ruined my life!!" -- which is wildly inaccurate, untrue, overly emotional and did not occur at all). It did lead to a fascinating conversation that started and stopped over the course of my visit and, coincidentally, carried over into a similar conversation with FQ, a friend of Frosty's who I also have come to see as a friend through the years. Different settings, locations, and circumstances, but generally the same topic. And only really peripherally connected to my particular breakup and relationship situation. Fascinating none the less, each in its separate context.

One conversation took place while throwing together a delicious vegetarian casserole; the other started after an intense round of Jenga in a bar:

Ok, in reality more like:

At the core, both conversations revolved around the age-old question, perhaps best summed up by the great philosopher Nestor Alexander Haddaway: "What is love? Baby don't hurt me, don't hurt me no more."

Just foxin' with y'all. Haddaway was never explicitly referenced in the conversations. But probably only because C.Dub would have no idea what I was talking about. I will admit that the song did pop up in my head a few times. We really did talk about love, however. Specifically, the question of what distinguishes romantic love from friendship love (aside from the two different qualifiers). It was interesting to talk about, since I really do feel that there's a difference, but even when I look at my own experiences, there have been a lot of wacky crossovers. So I spent a lot of time invalidating my own positions.

On the whole, I'd say that I haven't been "in love" with a large number of people. I'm perfectly fine with that. I'd also say that, comparatively speaking, the number of people that I've slept with is about 3 or 4 times higher than the number of people with whom I've been "in love". I'm also perfectly fine with that. So, for me, love and sex can definitely be two wholly separate events, i.e. one isn't necessarily needed for the other. But if that's the case -- and, in my experience, it has been -- then how does one differentiate the love that one feels for an awesome friend and the love that one feels in a relationship? The lowest common denominator seems to be on the sexual level (or chemicals or hormones, what have you). At this point, that seems pretty unsatisfactory to me. But I'll readily admit that my current opinion has been influenced by a wide variety of external factors (everything I've observed with friends, family, and just general socialization + vast amounts of media consumption).

Having given these two separate conversations a lot of thought, I also find myself unable to come up with an alternative that rings true for me. At first it was kind of unsettling -- basically putting into question an entire concept that many people, myself included, just see as one of those things that "just is" -- but framing it into a really personal context made all the difference. For instance, I could say something like, "I love Schmiddy". And that's an entirely truthful statement. It's more than just "I care about the things going on in his life" and so on. I love him in the exact same way that I would say that I love one of my own biological siblings. But, yeah, I'd never say that I was in love with one of my siblings. Convention/genetics dictate that you shouldn't be in love with your siblings...because...yeah...incest...and...eww...gross. But when I say "I love Frosty" and think of what that all entails, minus the sex parts, well -- there's really surprisingly little difference than just some kind of currently inexpressible "feeling" that it's all somehow different. But maybe it's not. That's okay, right?

It's particularly relevant at this time, given the whole first date situation. Was the awkwardness just because we were both out of the game so long? Or because we truly have nothing in common. Even the sentence, "I felt like there was zero chemistry between us" seems to reduce it to these biological functions.

Just knowing someone also doesn't mean that this chemistry will be there...

Which brings me to another, slightly interconnected story...


Anonymous said...

Towards the distinction between love and friendship you might find some interesting points in this discussion, which is in german:

lebrookski said...

Hm, thanks for the link. I'll have to listen to the discussion when I'm in a place where I can concentrate.

Right now, I'm a little bit stuck to be honest, so some input from other sources might be just the thing I need!