Posts Tagged ‘love’

Real Love and Optimism

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

Living in New York, I’ve met my fair share of pessimistic people. Of course, they love to pretend that their pessimism is actually what they like to call “realism”– a very thin veil to hide their negativity behind.

One thing they feel particularly “realistic” about is the realm of love and relationships. I’ve heard everything from love actually being nonexistent to someone staying in a weirdly abusive and all around bad relationship purely because of what they called history.

Through all of this, I have somehow become the champion of love. I am, by no means, an optimistic person– I was voted “Most Pessimistic” of my high school class, the number one pick out of 260-something people. Granted, I have thankfully changed a lot since then, but I still don’t think of myself as a particularly optimistic person, except when it comes to love.

I, in the most sincere way possible, love love. Now, I don’t mean that Hollywood manufactured kind of love, like what we are constantly spoon fed from our media, where women are intelligent and quirky but still feminine and submissive enough to be non-threatening to their male counterparts, who are basically real life Ken dolls. That I can’t jibe with. That kind of fake idealism is what gives people such weird and unrealistic expectations about their future lady/fella in the first place.

No, what I love is the real thing. The kind of love where you can be lying in bed together at midnight and turn to ask them what they think turning Pride and Prejudice into a BDSM novel would turn out like, and they don’t even bat an eyelash before trying to think of a punny title. (Note: we got stuck on Ride and ? because nothing rhymes with prejudice. I’m open to suggestions.)

I guess to some people that probably doesn’t sound very true love-esque, but in my experience, love doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. My parents, happily married for more than 20 years, are together essentially because my mother tried to slip away from my dad after he bought her a beer, but he took it back from her and wouldn’t give it back until she agreed to stay and talk to him. One of my friends who lives in Harlem with his girlfriend of quite a few years told me he first said “I love you” to her while he was drunk and peeing on a wall in public.

Not exactly Romeo and Juliet, but even Romeo and Juliet is really about two stupid teenagers who accidentally killed themselves because they couldn’t control their hormones. And yet, you’ll still find teenagers with Facebook statuses about the eternal search for the Romeo to their Juliet, or vice versa. Which tells me one of two things: one, they have never read a word of the play, or two, they are trapped in the mentality of love as the prepackaged idea we so often see in society. People seem to think they’re going to meet that one special person for whom they will feel endless passion and joy, and everything will always be easy and fun.

That’s just about as wrong as it is potentially destructive. Things will get hard, you will fight, you will have your own special set of problems and issues that you’ll have to work through. The way you’ll know if it’s love is when all of the problems feel like they are well worth working through to be able to continue being with that person.


Alex Ritter, NYU.

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