LOVE OR LUST?
The search for love will never end, and even when we find it, we look elsewhere. Are we going about it the wrong way?
It is said that flattery wins friends, but truth begets hatred.
I guess it is easier to accept the blissful myths that comfort our ignorance than the truth that brings true joy.
There comes a time when we must question the answers in order to answer the question, but when it comes to love we just take things at face value.
The search for love is a human preoccupation that has puzzled us for centuries.
From Shakespeare to Steve Harvey, Maina Kageni to Caroline Mutoko, a mic or a pen seems to qualify you as a love doctor.
The one thing we all agree on is how hard it is to find love in a world saturated with lust. So, how do you find love at an address whose inhabitant is lust?
A common cold is a nasty little thing; it will make you — as it did me — do weird things like watching a ridiculous amount of romantic chic flicks.
This over-exposure to sappy love tales got me thinking; How realistic are these things? Have these fictional works of entertainment become benchmarks for what we expect in reality?
Can anyone really live up to the standards of a big budget chick flick? Could we be missing true love and happiness because we are looking through tinted lenses?
Television and the arts are primarily a mere reflection of reality, but can these depictions also affect our outlook?
These works though fictional, are based on some form of reality, mixed up with a little aspiration of an improved reality.
But the million dollar question, then is, why does Hollywood (the capital of happily ever after) have such high divorce rates?
Is it not strange that the very makers of epic romantic drama never find true love? Do they preach water and drink wine, or do they drink wine, preach wine, and try to convince us that it is water?
Most men would probably vote for a ban on all cheap Mexican soap operas, but contrary to common belief, it is a woman’s world, after all.
I am of the humble opinion that this overdose of romantic epics has encouraged unrealistic expectations and benchmarks, a classic case of too much of a good thing.
We do not do it consciously; it is more of an undertone, an unspoken rule that enforces certain love myths.
Of course every society has a set of those; the mystical nature of love inevitably leads us to develop myths in an attempt to understand the incomprehensible.
Traditionally it was arranged marriages, and after spending a fortune dating frogs and deadbeats I bet we are all beginning to miss the good old days.
Myths change with time, but it is shocking how we so easily accept common beliefs without doubt or question.
In a twist of fate, it is the very chick flicks that established the myths that have now began questioning the reality of the fallacies they created in the first place.
It is with a great dose of courage and safety of anonymity that I dare challenge the modern myths of love.
1. Love at first sight: This is one that I wish was totally true. I mean girl meets boy, boy meets girl, they instinctively know they are meant to be and fall madly in love with each other.
Unfortunately, the truth is a little more complicated; that shady chick next door will love you at first sight and you will be running like the devil is chasing you.
Or that high school nerd who grew up to be a big boss at Microsoft and all of a sudden, they are not looking too bad. Lust at first sight is kind of believable.
Some hot chicks look good from afar but are far from good; you spend a little time with them and they get on your last nerve.
Anne Hathaway, in One Day, managed to totally burst the bubble on that one when she dates her love interest 15 years down the line, and then dies three years later.
2. Soul mate: Talk of a hard nut to crack and this one tops the list. It is so deeply rooted in us that the thought of questioning it seems taboo.
Is there just one person for us, the love of your life? What if we find that person but they die?
What if that person fails to recognise us? Are we then doomed to perpetual loneliness?
And if I do find my soul mate but they beat the heaven out of me or treat me like trash, do I stay or do I leave?
The problem is, we never ask these questions, we just spend insane amounts of money, time, and energy searching for that soul mate and hope it works out, somehow.
Then again maybe soul mates do exist, at least according to The Vow, featuring Dear John’s Channing Tatum.
The movie was actually based on a real life story, but the creators had to twist the story to fit Hollywood clichés.
3. We are meant to be together: A truly philosophical dilemma, if you ask me.
Is life predestined or do we have a say in the matter. Does it work out because we are meant to be together or because we work to stay together?
If we are fighting all the time, is it a test of love or a sign that we are not meant to be?
If we break up, is it because we screwed up a beautiful thing or we were just not meant to be?
4. But I love him: If you ever punctuate your description of your “sweetheart” with these four little words, then know that you are in trouble.
After a successful trial of the female version, there is a male version that has hit the market: But I love her.
It is a big hit. It is the everlasting cat fight between your mind and your heart, your mind is saying dump his sorry behind, your heart is saying but I love him/her.
Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man By Steve Harvey attempts to balance this out for women.
Is love just a feeling or are there rules of engagement and consequences? Does love license every degree of stupidity?
What should you tolerate in the name of affection, and when is it time to hit the road like a Johnnie Walker?
5. He loves me, he loves me not: The discrete nature of dating rituals has made love a game of signs and wonders; the woman throws in a sign and the guy is left wondering, what the hell was that?
Again with the advocacy for gender balance, it seems sign throwing is no longer a preserve of the fair gender.
Greg Brehrendt in his book/romantic comedy (He’s Just Not That Into You) seeks to decipher women.
The problem is, sometimes, the message gets lost in translation. I would suggest that we just cut to the chase, but it is generally frowned upon.
Playing hard to get is widely accepted as a woman’s expression of modesty. I, however, wonder.
Is it not just simple power play, a high-stakes poker game where bluffs are called and the pecking order set?
At the bottom of it all I think love is a scary thing, so we play games to hide our true emotions to save ourselves the trauma of rejection.
The games actually make things interesting but when they become a little too much, it is time to start asking some questions.
Last I checked, dating does not qualify as an Olympic sport.
6. Dating rituals: If ever there was a practice that we have all accepted with unflinching loyalty, it is that of a date.
The sanctity of the dating ritual is not to be interrogated. It is enshrined in the Constitution and enforced with absolute brutality.
It is mandatory to find a date, report to designated romantic establishments, and spend a substantial time, money, and effort in search of perpetual partnership.
However, I wonder how you are supposed to really know a person if they are perpetually covered in makeup and designer suits.
If it is about really getting to know me, should we not visit the places I usually visit or is it just a show-and-tell for the Monday morning office gossip?
I mean I am classy, but trust me, five-star restaurants are for dates and product launches.
I am sure I will be crucified for even attempting to bring this up, but is this truly the most effective way of getting to know a person?
7. The checklist: I must admit that a checklist is an essential guideline when choosing a mate, but I do question the contents thereof and the weight each carries.
If they look really hot and behave like douche bags, do they get a pass?
Will you date an absolute air-headed blonde if they show up with six-inch heels and a killer pink little skirt?
You cannot date a deadbeat, but does finding a rich Prince Charming guarantee blissful romance? Should women look for God-fearing men when they party like Vegas in summertime?
Is it fair to find a perfect mate when we do not even attempt to be half the things on our own checklist?
Should we be walking around ticking our lengthy checklist or turning them into to-do lists?
8. Happily ever after: At least Shakespeare got a head start on discrediting this one in his timeless classic, Romeo and Juliet.
I would not say that the tragic death of two love birds is necessarily realistic, but neither is happily ever after.
Is love truly a blissful bed of roses, petal soft with no thorns therein? Should we not expect a few bumps on the road or are we to bail out at the first sign of trouble?
What about compromise, understanding, sacrifice, and all that other mumbo jumbo self-help books recommend?
Intuitively, we know that blissful affection is a dream at best, but we unconsciously expect it and throw a toddler’s fit when we do not get it.
By BONIFACE NYAGA