One Date Only

I’m struck by this short piece about a woman who went out on a date with an amazing man only to have him die before they could go on a second one.

Maybe because it is so much about the promise of what love is supposed to be and then wasn’t. Or because it exactly fulfilled the the best possible outcome of a first date and because it was all there would be, it stayed exactly that. No relationship. No arguments. No boredom.

It had to be a profound experience, and a haunting one, and I kind of wish someone like Margaret Atwood would write a poem about it.

Or maybe I appreciate it because so many people were posting this other story about a guy who didn’t know what love was until he had been married for a while, and who now looks on his first affections for his wife as not-love. Every time someone I knew posted that on Facebook I wanted to respond “I call bullshit” so I’m going to do that here instead. Love is only long-term commitment? Love is only changing diapers? Ugh, please. Just what we all need: more smug coupledom from people who need to tell themselves that they have the Real Thing even though they’re busy compromising pretty much everything in order to have it.

I hate that. & I hate that even more as a person who has been in a committed relationship for 15 years, precisely because the early days of wonder and joy really were days of wonder and joy. It’s okay that the start of a relationship is more exciting than conversations about who’s going to empty the dishwasher a decade later. Nobody would ever get married if a relationship started the way it will be in 15 years. You need the days of wonder and joy to be blinded to the compromises that are coming.

And I say that, too, as someone who really does believe in long-term commitments. I think many, many people are happier in them than not. But I also know a lot of people try to stay in a relationship that bores them to tears and frustrates their desires and hems them in on all sides because of schmarmy essays that like that one by the husband.

Call me a romantic, but I prefer the idea of being in love with someone because I am, not because they do the dishes. Call me crazy.