• Posted: Aug 10, 2013 17:24:12
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Back in the late 1960's, the word "love" was bandied about so often by so many for so many different reasons it more or less lost all coherent meaning. Even today, 50 years later, people tend to avoid using it because it includes so much potential for misunderstanding. Yes, parents love their children and children mostly love their parents, aside from times they hate them. And, of course, Christians say they love Jesus and pet owners say they love their pets. And art, music, and literature lovers say they "really love" their favorite works. But it seems strange that so many pairs of lovers these days hesitate to use the word "love" at all within their relationships. Has it always been the case? Or, is the case that since the late 1960's use of the word "love" within a romantic relationship has become taboo, something to be avoided least the relationship fall into the same old traps of misunderstanding that have so often plagued romantic relationships since the 1960's? Both cases may be true, but I tend to think the latter is especially true, and I'll tell you why.
That thing about misunderstandings is the crux of the matter. Linguists working in the field of semantics at one time developed the theoretical notion of features. Using that theory, if one were to describe the word "man", one could say it is [+human], [+male], [+adult], where as "boy" would be [+human], [+male], [-adult]. Try doing that with the word "love" and you are likely to quite rapidly uncover just where your notions of love differ from those around you. For instance, is love [+obligation] or [-obligation]? Is love [+something you receive] or [+something you give]? Is love [+joy] or [-joy]? Is love [+freeing] or is it [+confining]? Is love [+now] or [+for the foreseeable future] or is it [+conditional]? And if it is [+conditional], what are the conditions? You see how things can get messy very easily. Our culture, and here I'm speaking primarily of the U.S. culture, just does not do a very good job of clearly defining what is meant or implied by the word "love". Even so, people still do fall in love and carry on love affairs. The man pictured above could very well be one of them.
Considering that man above, it's interesting to note what he is carrying. He is carrying freshly prepared carry-out food, an ample supply of beer, and a bouquet of flowers. He is, in fact, carrying an offering of sustenance, leisure, and sensuality. Plus, the flowers, the fragrant genitalia of plants, include the suggestion that the enjoyment of genitalia and their functions should be included in any fully engaging relationship. Whether the lady to which he is on his way to visit will agree is still a matter to be negotiated. But, his cards are on the table, along with his hopes and dreams for their encounter. In a way, all those things he carries with him are outward expressions of the [+features] he would include in the way he would define a fulfilling relationship with the woman he intends to visit. Whether that coincides with how he might define "love" is immaterial. It is how he would define a meaningful relationship with her. It is open. It is direct. It is clear and unambiguous. And, it implies no hidden agendas or obligations. It is simply his wish to spend an enjoyable day with a woman he respects and adores. Whether she is receptive and will agree remains to be seen.
May the confusing word "love" never frustrate your attempts to negotiate a mutually meaningful and fulfilling relationship with the person you adore.
Thursday, July 4th, 2013
48.7 mm 231 mm