How to Pick a Lover

The centipede was happy quite
Until a toad in fun
Said, “Pray, which leg goes after which?”
That worked her mind to such a pitch,
She lay distracted in a ditch,
Considering how to run.
—Mrs. Edward Craster

Every day women meet men, women and men fall in love, and women and men declare themselves ecstatically happy and walk off holding hands and smiling. Yet when you think of what goes into a love affair, it is, in fact, so complex you wonder how it is that anyone pulls it off. Perhaps like the running centipede, one should not think too carefully too often.

Love Love Love

Photo credit: Gregory Jordan

When thinking of a love affair, you must take into account two major components: the affectionate and the erotic. Then you have to think of the affair as consisting of two actors, interacting and responding to each other. From the woman’s point of view, what’s the best of all possible worlds? In the first place, a woman wants a man for whom she feels affection. She must like him; it’s even better if she loves him. Unrequited affection makes her unhappy, so in the second place, he must be a man who returns her emotional feelings. Third, she wants a man for whom she has erotic feelings, a man who turns her on. Being turned on by herself is merely frustrating, so she also needs a fourth component, a man who responds to her erotically and finds her sexually desirable.

As if all these things were not difficult enough, she also wants to feel that the relationship is balanced. Her affection for him should be returned in the same degree, her desire for him reciprocated with equal passion. Ideally, each one feels for the other exactly the same amount and intensity of love. Moreover, each one starts to love at the same time. If love dies, each one stops loving at the same time. The more you think about it, the more complex and implausible it becomes.

It’s no wonder the course of true love never runs smooth. It’s amazing that any love affairs even happen at all! Fortunately, many wonderful things can and do happen with lovers who are less than perfect and in love affairs that come complete with glitches or more serious problems.

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Comments on: "Love, Oh Love, Oh Perfect Love" (1)

  1. afteramerica said:

    Love your blog and your writing. There is another thing to consider when you are middle aged. If you have been lucky and fortunate to experience deep profound love in your life, when that part is over…it’s over, you might decide to do other things with your time.

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