Sean’s Theory on Love
“Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.”
That was Shakespeare.
1972: two teenagers have sex under the bleachers of a high school football game. The sixteen-year-old girl finds out she was pregnant after a few months and their parents force them to marry. Five years later, the young man leaves the young woman with three toddler sons and no child support.
That was my childhood.
Mom was beautiful and had no problem finding admirers. She met most of the guys she went out with at The Hungry Hunter where she waited tables. It was a shitty little chain restaurant off of Highway 680 where a person could buy a decent steak from the front of the house or some Mexican dirt-weed from the dishwashers in the back. It didn’t matter if a guy was looking for the former or the latter, Mom would make an impression and many would ask her out, but they didn’t usually stick around once they found out she had three boys at home. A few of them did… for a while. Ernie lasted the longest. He was a pot-head Portuguese foreign car mechanic with an afro like a 70s basketball player and a handle-bar mustache. Ernie smiled all the time and we liked him well enough even though he usually smelled of motor oil and only had one enormous eyebrow that splayed across his forehead, and sometimes he would get so stoned that he would offer me the roach out of habit when we played Legos or Uno, but eventually he left too with a different waitress without kids from the Elmer’s across the street.
Back in 1640 A.D. Cyrano de Bergerac’s small French company of cadets were completely surrounded by Spanish soldiers as far as the eye can see in every direction during the Thirty Years War. Despite being under siege by a superior force, he still snuck out of his camp every night through miles of enemy territory, facing imminent death, all to just mail letters to his one true love.
The bravest thing I ever did for true love was looking up Kirsten Tackett’s parent’s phone number and then with my heart pounding in my throat, calling that number and waiting until she finished the question, “who is this” before hanging up. That was the first time I felt I was in love, so I looked to my estranged father for advice. He began this intimate father-son talk about the birds and the bees with his sure fire way to get rid of crabs. He told me if I ever found myself infested with the little fuckers to fill a fifty-gallon barrel with kerosene, take off all my clothes, shave my genitals, and jump in. He said it was a special type of searing pain most people will never feel in their lives but sometimes you have to deal with that shit when love’s involved. It always worked for him.
Dante Alighieri descended, hand over fist, through the horrors of all nine circles of hell, climbing through purgatory, and then up into heaven itself to find his beloved Beatrice after only meeting her in life twice over a nine-year period. He was so taken by this woman that he faced demons, crawled over Satan himself, and even impossibly ascended into eternal paradise just to see her again.
I broke up with my first serious girlfriend because she played the Grateful Dead way too much. Phish too. And while she didn’t mind having body odor she felt it necessary to burn incense all the goddamn time and smudge the house we shared on Belmont, weekly. Smudging is burning sage to purify the place from evil spirits or some shit.
When I was way too young I married the complete wrong girl and four years later I went through a horrible divorce that sent me spiraling into a weird time in my life that included stripping for middle-aged German hausfraus at second-rate ski resorts in the Bavarian Alps. I went through women at a dizzying and even self-destructive pace. I had no idea what the hell I was doing and that’s because I had no idea what “love” was.
How could I? I still believed the poets.
“My love is of a birth as rare
As ’tis for object strange and high;
It was begotten by Despair
Beautiful… for the 17th Century, but today we have a different definition. In fact, we have several definitions. Today love is an open door. Love is all you need. Love is a battlefield. Love makes the world go round. Can’t buy me love. Let your love flow. Keep on loving you. Can’t stop falling in love. I love a rainy night. I love rock and roll, but what’s love got to do with it? You’ve lost that lovin’ feeling. The power of love. A crazy little thing called love. Baby, I love your way. You’re gonna have to face it your addicted to love. When a man loves a woman. Whitney Houston will always love you and Meatloaf would do anything for love, but he won’t do that.
Beyonce and Jay Z are crazy in love.
“Looking so crazy in love’s,
Got me looking, got me looking so crazy in love.
Uh oh, uh oh, uh oh, oh no no.”
Recently, looking back, I’ve come to believe that the reason I had fucked up all my relationships earlier in my life wasn’t because of me, or any characters flaws I might have had, it was because love used to be a many splendored thing, but by the time I found it, it was, “Honey why don’t we get drunk and screw? I just bought a waterbed. It’s filled up for me and you.”
Love today according to Kanye West, in a song he wrote for his darling wife Kim Kardashian-West, is best expressed in the third stanza where he sings, “I wanna fuck you hard on the sink. After that, give you somethin’ to drink. Step back, can’t get spunk on the mink.”
So, Sean’s theory on love: love isn’t something you can have someone else define for you. It isn’t something you can define for yourself until you’ve experienced the best and worst parts of it. Today I’ve been with the right person for almost ten years and I find that love is a beautiful mental illness, a mental illness that you can share with those closest to you. Love is finding a way to not blame anyone for a shitty childhood. Love is a fifty-gallon barrel of kerosene. Love is the best reason to try and fail. Love is ignoring the fact that your biggest pet peeve in the world is someone leaving the top off the toothpaste tube allowing the toothpaste at the top to get all crusty and gross and not freaking out about it even after asking nicely twenty to thirty times that she put the cap back on after using it.
But that’s just my theory. Don’t beat yourself up if you haven’t come up with one yourself. It’s not your fault. Listen: kiss, hold, caress, talk, smell, sight, sound, touch, sex, fuck… all of these things we use to fall in love or express our love are both nouns and verbs. So is love itself. Everything we do or say to express love in a relationship has at least two meanings. No wonder none of us can figure this shit out. And the word has been used so much over time it’s turned into a joke. So, I’m sorry, but Shakespeare’s full of shit, if love is anything at all, it is most definitely Time’s fool.