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Friday, April 28, 2006

"What is LOVE?! Baby, don't HURT me--don't HURT me--NO more!"

Warning: This post is not very geeky--in fact, it's pretty much just a big ball of sissy today. (Just like that love letter to my wife I made you read last time.) If you're a real man, scroll to the bottom of the page right now--or duck--because this post is going to get a little touchy-feely.

This post wasn't inspired by the Haddaway song quoted above--a song that will now forever more be associated with Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan bopping their heads at the Roxbury--BUT THAT'S NOT WHAT'S IMPORTANT HERE, PEOPLE! (Although, if you haven't seen the Will Ferrell movie Anchorman, now is a good time to just stop reading and go rent it. I forgive you.)

What's important here, people, is that a lesson is learned, and a heart ... just might be saved. Maybe yours. I don't know. We'll just have to see. (I don't need this kind of pressure.)

On my way to work I heard (on the radio) the poignant tale of a teenager who expressed her love to her steady date--I just can't bring myself to use the word 'boyfriend' even though that's what she called him, because of what comes next--she actually said to him the words, "I love you," and what did he say in return?

Nothing. "Really? He didn't say anything?" Nope. Nothing. "Did he do anything?" Just sat there. "Really!" Really.

Oh, the pain! Oh, the humiliation! Did he have an aneurysm? Did he just freeze? Did his brain lose the connection to his mouth for a full minute?

Apparently, yes. That is what happened. This boy--who had been seeing this girl socially for some time now, who had been partaking of her affections, who had probably been TELLING HIS FRIENDS THAT THEY DID "IT" (when in fact neither of them, according to her, has ever done "it"--thank goodness)--this boy could not think of ANYTHING to say to her.

For those of you still in the dating pool, perhaps a list of possible responses would be helpful:

1. "Thanks."
2. "That's really nice."
3. "Wow! Sweet!"
4. "ZOMGWTHROTFLMAO!" (Totally.)
5. "I love U2!" (It doesn't mean what she thinks it means, but AT LEAST IT FILLS A MOMENT, YOU INSENSATE BLOB OF DUMB! Also, Joshua Tree still rules. Woot!)

"Wait, what about the poor girl? Does she still date him?" No, they have broken up recently. "Was that the night that ended things?" No, although apparently it was--according to the girl--a "big sign" that something was wrong. ('Yes,' I was thinking in my car, 'sort of like the old shut-down screen that said "It is now safe to turn off your computer." That kind of sign.' I suppose it was like looking at him and seeing written in his eyes the words, "It is now safe to see other people.")

At the end of this radio-phone-call-confession-story, I was moved by two things:

1. The offhand way in which the girl told the story ("I will survive! I will survive!" she was singing inside, I imagined); and

2. The dawning realization that there were hundreds--nay, thousands--of other girls out there listening to this brave soul talk about her experience. What did they think? What were they learning? What did they go away with?

I asked myself--not as a girl, though sometimes I have to admit I feel pretty, oh so pretty, I feel pretty and witty and ... where was I?

No, I asked myself, "If I were a teenager again, what would this caller be teaching me?"

Is it a warning? [Don't put yourself out there, because more than likely she'll just pull the rug right out from under you. Remember GREASE? The Drive-In?!]

Is it a commiseration? [We've all been there, soldier. Scared, alone, a handful of bullets between you and grisly death--but you just KEEP AT IT! When you need it, the courage will come.]

Is it an indictment? [The next time you look at someone of the opposite sex, you remember this: Men are from Mars, and Women are from Venus--and right now they are PLANETS AT WAR!]

It sounded like she had grown a little aloof, a little guarded after this experience. Is that how it sounded to other girls? So, maybe the next girl, like Tina Turner, goes all cynical and surgically removes emotion from the equation altogether--after all, what DOES "love" have to do with it? Who really needs a heart ... when a heart can be broken?

Well, I'm with Tina--by which, of course, I mean I WISH I was with Tina. Oh, Tina. Leggy, leggy Tina. Mmm. What was I saying?

Oh, yeah--I'm with Tina on this one! Telling someone you love them is just like handing them a weapon that they can use against you! It's no wonder people are nervous about their love being returned! I know if I gave someone a gun, I'd want to make sure I got it back--and not just the bullets!

So, here comes adolescence with all its pitfalls, foibles, and fairy tales. What do we do? We play-act at being adults in every social interaction, pretending to a sophistication and self-confidence that is a delicate facade covering innocence and vulnerability. Inevitably the day comes when we are confronted with a very scripted situation--straight out of the movies or off of TV--where her line is, "I love you," and our line (your line, my line) is to say, "I love you, too."

What are you supposed to do? Do what is expected of you?

Perhaps this boy--this jerk who put the callous on that poor girl's heart--perhaps he should be COMMENDED for his actions. Inactions. Inaction. Whatever.

Maybe we should just be glad that he DIDN'T say, "I love you, too." Isn't that called honesty? In a situation like that, isn't honesty the lesser of two evils--one being his utter silence and the other being something, I don't know, like the dread lord of darkness rising amid the howling winds, surrounded by his flapping minions and cloaked in the icy half-light of a waning moon--

Lost my place again. Sorry. But seriously, didn't you feel angry at the boy in the story at first? Didn't you sympathize with the girl? Didn't you really FEEL the words to that Haddaway song? But you can see where this guy was trapped, right? Personally, I think it's amazing he DIDN'T try to play this scene out, looking for some kind of pay-off for mouthing words he wasn't really feeling. Boys are all perverts, aren't they? It's no wonder there are girls out there who really believe that every guy who says "I love you" is just after one thing. You know what I mean. (I mean sex.)

So, I've had a change of heart. Maybe the best thing that schmuck could possibly have said ... was nothing at all. Maybe it hurt for a while; maybe it never stops hurting. At least they moved on with their lives, found other love, and earned a little hope for better things in the future. Possibly the most valuable thing to come out of all this is the knowledge that there IS life after love. Sing it, Cher.

Whoo! Finished. Okay, back to manly crap like guns and drills. (I swear, one of these days they'll rename this the GayCast.)