Monday, February 21, 2011

Love bits

Valentine's Day might be over, but I still have a few cynical thoughts about love up my sleeve, and I'm sure as shootin' (that was a Cupid joke, get it!?) not waiting a full year to air them.

Deep thoughts first

This work of art appeared on the board
where my housemates and I
leave each other messages of great import.
I once read in a teen magazine (I was a teen at the time, really!) an Interview With a Cute Guy. One of the questions was, "How do you know when it's really love?" I've been thinking about it ever since.

The Cute Guy's answer was, "When I stop eating." Which is a valid answer, I suppose, except that it sounds more like an indication of infatuation than love. I daresay even Cute Guys of the hopeless romantic variety start eating again once the initial thrill wears off. How can you grow old together if one of you dies of starvation three weeks after meeting? Cute Guy is excused for calling infatuation love—sometimes I use the terms interchangeably. But he has done nothing to help us answer the eternal question: What really is love?

A significant other once told me it was love if he would "take a bullet" for the lovee. Well, he never took a bullet for me, so I dumped him.

In all seriousness, though, there must be some real-life test that's a little less suicidal to determine whether you love someone. Sometimes I think, if I loved someone enough, I might be persuaded to move to a colder climate to be with them. For me, that would be a big deal, a torturous decision that would definitely require a huge incentive. But even if I were really enamored, I think I might elect to have a long-distance relationship part of the year, rather than join my sweetie in the frozen tundra. Or even New England.

I think the truest definition of love for me is one that gets to the heart of my phenomenally reclusive personality. Social interaction is always a huge drain on my emotional energy. Even when I have a great time with someone, and even when I've been starved for companionship and really need some company, I am always happy when I get to be alone again. Love is the one thing that can break through that introversion. Love is the one thing that can make me not want to say good bye, and the one and only reason that leaving someone could ever cause me pain rather than relief. Aww, how romantic.

And Now for Some Decidedly Unromantic One-Liners

  • Some people chase after Sasquatch. I chase after love. I don't know which chase is more futile.
  • Being in love is eerily like being high on decongestants.
  • If all the guys who joked about marrying me actually did marry me, I'd be a polygamist.
  • If I had a dollar for every time I saw someone else having a better love life than mine, I'd still be lonely, but at least I'd be rich.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Bad Romance

Since last year's Valentine's Day post on broken hearts went over so well, I have also decided to start an annual tradition: The Bitter Valentine Blog.

Today, I'm slightly less grief-stricken and pitiful than I was this time last year, but I'm still just as single as ever. My solution? I'm going to purge my music collection of all sappy love songs. Eat that, romance!

Fortunately, sappy love songs have never figured very strongly in my music library, but to the few I have, I say "Yer outta there!...But I'll keep you on my backup drive just in case I ever change my mind."

The following songs will no longer get any playtime in Valerie-land, but will be relegated to a deep dark corner of my hard drive along with crappy live recordings, songs that sounded a lot cooler in their 30-second sample, and other unliked music that I'm afraid to delete.
  • Gym Class Heroes - "Cupid's Chokehold" Oh, so you've got a girlfriend, do you? Well, you won't be rubbing it in my face any more! Yer outta there! (The dance version, "Girlfriend," by Darren Styles and Whizkid, may stay, because it's catchy and doesn't say anything about "the one.")
  • Cutting Crew - "Died in Your Arms" I don't even know what you're singing about, but obviously it involves hugging and even a kiss. Unacceptable.
  • Tim McGraw - "I Like It, I Love It" I got this song when I was making a conscious effort to like country music. Obviously I was trying too hard. It's outta there!
  • Brooks & Dunn - "My Heart is Lost to You" If there is one sappy country song worse than "I Like It, I Love It," it must be this one, which isn't even upbeat! Maybe I thought it was cool because it had some Spanish lyrics. How's this for Spanish: ¡Tú eres perdido de mí!
  • Natasha Bedingfield - "These Words" How many times can you say "I love you" in one song? Ms. Bedingfield seems determined to find out. But no, that's not OK. She's outta there!
  • Lange - "Sincere for You" One of those dance songs that sounded a lot cooler in the 30-second sample, but ended up being vocal-heavy sentimental slop. I'm surprised I kept it as long as I did.
I strongly encourage all readers of this blog to do as I have done, and free your lives of romantic music. But if thumbing your nose at the love song industry isn't enough for you, I have some suggestions for songs that will vindicate you and/or assist in the process of wallowing in bitterness. The following selected songs are all about love gone wrong. I have no shortage of those!
  • Sinead O'Connor - "Nothing Compares 2 U" Somebody broke up with you? Why don't you cry about it?
  • Fool's Garden - "Lemon Tree" Somebody broke up with you? Obsess about your loneliness!
  • Lerner & Loewe - "Without You" (From My Fair Lady) Somebody broke up with you? You don't need em!
  • The Airborne Toxic Event - "Sometime Around Midnight" Somebody broke up with you years ago, and you're still thinking about them? This is the song for you!
  • Cake - "Never There" Ah, love unrequited. My favorite topic for a song!
  • Nine Inch Nails - "Only" Featuring the mantra of every spurned lover: "I just made you up to hurt myself."
  • OAR - "Love and Memories" Should be self-explanatory.
  • The Raconteurs - "Steady, As She Goes" Finally, a critical portrait of the married life, just to remind you it's not so bad to be single.

    Friday, February 11, 2011

    How 'bout the power of flight!

    Air travel always gives me good fodder for blogging, but I never want to do it again!

    Every airplane trip requires so much preparation! Searching every travel website you know to find the best deal takes up hours of your time, and you haven't even gotten to the actual flying part! Then there's that panic-filled period about 4 hours before your flight when you are absolutely convinced you have appendicitis and will have to cancel all your travel plans. Wait, that doesn't happen to everyone?

    Although I'm a seasoned flier from a lifetime of vacations, every time I fly, I get a little more nervous when the plane takes off. I feel like I've used up all my luck, and surely this will be the time that I die. Yeah, you can say I'm more likely to die in a car crash, but try telling that to me when I'm looking straight out my window at a spinning propeller and thinking about what will happen when it dislodges itself, smashes into my window, and then tumbles a mile to the ground below! I just don't know if air travel is worth the cardiac stress.

    And, though I mentioned this in my last flying post, once again I issue the plea for more sensible refund policies! Why are tickets nonrefundable and non-transferrable, other than to ensure the airlines make tons of money off their passengers' misfortunes? It's not like we're security-screened before buying our tickets--it shouldn't matter who actually flies using them! If you run an airline and a person can't make a flight, and if you do refuse to issue a refund because you're greedy, you should at least let them sell their ticket to someone else. You still get your money and you haven't lost anything.

    I just don't know if I can continue flying on airlines that want to exploit their customers in such a way. Nor would it really be practical for me, anyway. My recent trip to Toledo by air took me 8 hours, and in that amount of time, I could have driven almost all the way here, saved hundreds of dollars, brought more stuff, emitted less carbon, and probably cried a lot less. Next time, despite the temptation to fly, I think I'll just harness the power of ground transportation.