This is about a theory leading to an experiment that I have run with my life over the past seven years. It was supposed to run indefinitely. I have since seen reasons over the years to suspect that my theory might not be the best way to continue. Before an important and impending milestone, my next birthday I am carefully considering the evidence for and against the position I took up in the year 2007.
Sometime in 2007 I had an intriguing conversation with a female friend and schoolmate at a recreational garden on “Love”. It was my first year in university and already I had noticed how ‘couples’ littered the campus. Love was in the air, everywhere you looked or so it seemed. People were constantly falling into irresistible; stirring ‘love’ but the majority of these relationships lasted only briefly: a few weeks, or a few months.
As my friend and I talked sharing our individual perceptions and experiences, we came to the conclusion that something crucial was clearly lacking and missing in the popular romances. I went a step further to emphatically state that the short-lived, infatuation filled encounters erupting all around us were too shallow and too weak to be regarded as expressions of genuine love. I thought I was innately a lover – I had previously written (now) embarrassing poetry for a girl ,my heartbeat raced whenever I looked at a girl I liked and I felt overflowing satisfaction on the few occasions when I actually managed to talk to my crushes – so I was quite hurt to see the emotion I so treasured, depreciated and demeaned.
Still not content, I told her that I would only say the words “I love you” when I was absolutely sure that I meant it, and that I intended to say it to only one girl, ever. I wonder if she still recalls that conversation, because I never forgot it. Those two simple statements unassumingly set the stage for a lot of what would later unfold. They meant that:
- I would not rush into declarations of love. I would have to patiently wait to distinguish my – at that point – endless crushes from feelings of a much more permanent nature.
- If I was going to exercise severe restraint and be sparing in my use of the word ‘love’, if I aimed to not say it until I had found the girl I would happily spend the rest of my life with, I’d clearly have a tough time finding a girlfriend. “I like you” only gets a guy so far.
With my competitors (other guys) promising undying love at every corner, whether genuinely felt, genuinely imagined, or genuinely contrived to deceive, my choice would put me at a significant disadvantage. And I did not mind. Because I was fiercely independent and it goes without saying, sorely, crazily idealistic.
This is one, of a planned set of three posts.