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April 21, 2008

On Love

Love is a dangerous quantity. It is more unpredictable than yellow phosphorus and it can land people in jail. It can also bankrupt, torture and transform people into Mr/Miss Hyde. The power of love is no lie, and I only realized the strength of love, or what one’s idea of love is, the day I gave birth. Prior to that I coasted along. Me, kill for love? No fucking way. There was no relationship worth dying for, until I had my child that is.

When I cradled my son for the very first time the maternal instinct kicked in, as though on cue. Those hormones beat Viagra hands down, and another form of love kicked in. To me, the parent-child bond is indescribable, and perhaps purer than the love that arrives from online sites like Craigslist, porn, or social expectations. The ‘love’ that arises from the latter is conditional:

“You haven’t chipped in with the housework all month.” = you don’t get a blowjob/sex.
“You forgot our anniversary.” = no cuddling or sex.
“You spend more time with the kids/at work/working to make a living.” = I’m going to have an affair, online or real, it doesn’t matter.

Partners can be dispensable and the spark of romantic love or sexual attraction wanes over time, and if one is stuck with a partner with little imagination or a low concentration span, then that relationship is doomed. Sexual attraction - on its own - isn’t meant to be a lifelong thing. It’s there for procreation. Why I say that? The statistics (divorce, separation and infidelity) indicate that people lose their spark after a certain period of time, or after they procreate and spend the first post baby year smelling of eau de baby vomit.

I’d like to think that I’ve fallen in love numerous times over my short time on this planet, but it has never evoked groundbreaking  passion. I’ve never felt the urge to annihilate a romantic competitor. Romantic/sexual jealousy is infantile to me, perhaps one of my biggest pet hates. And no, I’m not romantic in the ‘together forever or I’ll die,’ kind of way.

The only type of love that can move me to kill would be the love I have for my child. It was when he was born that I thought, ‘right, anyone does anything to him, I’ll kill them.’ There was no guilt or ethical ambivalence accompanying this thought. It was scary, but it was what it was. Even today I have similar thoughts. I read about heinous crimes committed against children, and I thank everything - from a blade of grass to God - that it isn’t me, because if it was me, I wouldn’t wait around for the bureaucrats to ‘take care of it.’

For others, romantic love is the love that makes them crazy. People kill or solicit people to kill romantic rivals. Others abandon their livelihoods for romance or sex. Some find that their lives come to a complete stop because of romance or sexual attraction - and I don’t get it. The reason for me not understanding the sexual-romantic urge is related to adults. Adults make their own choices. Adults are old enough to confront their own flaws. Children don’t have these mechanisms in place, and require parents to show them the way. I’m not one to toot the horn of parenthood, because it isn’t an easy ride, but I will say that parenthood does wonders for the adult ego. It interrupts it in such a way that it forces an adult to realize perspective or the difference between theory and reality. It’s the only time in life that an adult has to work like a donkey for someone/something else, and that someone else not being their boss or a Prada handbag  - but their child.

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