So We’re Not Going to Live Happily Ever After

I don’t read whole articles, just headlines. And then I write the rest of the article in my head as I see fit, to agree with what I already believe. And this article that I read the headline of last night tells me that love isn’t forever, and that I should stop waiting for the one perfect person to fill every part of my life. Also that I should shoot for “micro-moments of positivity resonance.” Talk about lowering the love bar. I get “micro-moments of positivity resonance” when I’m at the urinal by myself. Some of those urinal standing-up-whizzing moments are the most satisfying of my life. I am going to marry a urinal. I’ll be right back.

Now I maybe agree with Dr. Love 2.0 that we’re capable of all kinds of relationships that sustain us, and we should let them sustain us instead of always training the old harpoon at the big white whale of True Love Forever. In a recent New York Times article I was anonymously nouted. Nout is a verb I invented that’s like being outed except there is no out to out. The truth of my relationship with “The Oracle,” as I now call him, is complex. I mean, we are seriously so sophisticated for having practically invented a way of living that could encompass such a weird and uncategorizable relationship. When the nice New York Times guy asked me what I was to him, I paused.

“He calls me his boyfriend.”

“Is that okay to put in the article?’


Big deal. I mean, who reads the New York Times? I forgot that my parents read the New York Times, especially when it’s forwarded to them specifically by my brother. Being gay is probably better in 2013 than being 40 and single and never married and never close to ever having been married. Being gay might be an explanation for all that. So fine. There you go. It’s a better explanation than being a poet used to yearning for those who will never, ever love him, being hung up for years on women who won’t even date me. And I tend to run, run, run from anything even remotely resembling a stable and loving relationship. Because I mostly fall in love with crazy women. And I can no longer date poets, said my former therapist. So I haven’t really been on a date in a while. And I’ve lived with Ben for years. I learned how to make wild duck for him. That was a moment of positive blah blah blah.

Everybody at this point probably knows that no one person can and will mean everything to them. And that when you think you’re in love with someone for the rest of your life, you’ll most likely get tired of them and secretly plot their death for years and years, slowly poisoning their Frosted Flakes every morning. If humans were meant to mate for life, our genitals wouldn’t ever separate from each other once the vagina was breached. Isn’t that how it works with monkeys? I didn’t read that whole article either.

Soon we’ll all have to pretend we’re so in love with each other / someone / anyone. Valentine’s Day is like Ash Wednesday, when Catholics wear ash on their forehead even when in fact some of them never go to church or anything, it’s just fun and weird to have a bunch of ash on your face at work, because everyone’s obviously staring at it, but they’re not supposed to say anything, so they just stare at it and ask if you saw that memo. Yeah, I did. Stare into the ash on my forehead that looks like the state of Oregon! Except the ash on your forehead on Valentine’s Day is like the balloons and chocolates that the person who loves you sent over. Yes, they are so loved. Save yourself a lot of time and energy. Send these things to yourself.

And I’m all for love. It is our national pastime, like shooting guns at one another. There’s something uniquely American about trying to out-love other couples’ love. Trying to be more obnoxiously crazy about one another to the point of completely alienating ourselves from the people we do love. Trying to out-parent, out-person, out-live everyone else we ever meet. That’s a healthy impulse. Well, if the science is to be believed — and why should it be? — they’ll come up with another study that says you can’t be happy unless you have a life partner forever, you’d better hold onto them. You need someone else in your life just to afford an apartment. So you better find someone. Or kidnap someone until they fall in love with you. Which will happen, it works every time. I just saw a documentary called “Double Jeopardy” in which Ashley Judd’s husband starts off really nice but then frames her for his fake death and steals their son while she rots in prison. That sucks, Ashley Judd! She gets so tough in jail, though.

Apparently, according to science, to paraphrase the great philosopher Richard Hell, “Love comes in spurts.” Intimacy, hand-holding, drinking hot chocolate (according to the picture on the article, I also always check those out — pictures on the internet are great). We should try to enjoy the little things. The moments of connection between human beings. It would be nice to get laid once in a while, too, between hot chocolates. But all that sex just basically turns into nothing down the road. Or, possibly even worse, ends up turning into children. Which is like graduation day from sex.

They should just put this cuddle drug, this oxycuddleton, into an actual pill form and save us all the eventual Taylor Swift songs. We’ll all have robot lovers in the future anyway. We’ll be tying up robots with bungee cords and sticking our genitals inside holograms of President Lincoln. Or Slutty President Lincoln, if it’s Halloween. When we can clone one another, what’s to stop us all from marrying our clones, having giant sex robot orgies and taking a cuddle pill an hour beneath our dying sun, staring out into the hideous nothingness and smoking our magical soul cigars? I’d cast Ethan Hawke in that movie. Meanwhile we’re stuck here having to manage what no other humans have ever managed before. How to put up with other humans for longer than a few days at a time. As much as I want to meet someone who I would at first really like and want to kiss and cuddle with but eventually feel like I’ve disappointed, fooled, or betrayed, and maybe have kids with who would also probably grow to despise me, where was I going with this sentence? Nowhere good. I would have my vagus nerve removed if I could. Because most emotions are really just the same emotion: fear. And I don’t want to be ruled by fear, I’d rather just drift along on my unrealistic impossible feelings of light-headed sugar rush at the very sight of you. The rest of it is for the birds. Huge, garbage-eating robot scavenger birds of the scientific future. That we could also program to eventually cuddle with us, so we would never have to feel alone and unloved for longer than 10 minutes. The book with the bad title tells us that Love is basically Buddhism. Happy Valentine’s Day! Call in Sick to Work!

Previously: Can We Still Be Friends?

Jim Behrle tweets @behrle.