November 5, 2009

eyes open, lights on






Looking at these photos, can you tell which couples are genuine and which are not? I don't think I can. Nothing strikes me as artificial as seeing people kissing. Eyes closed, hands everywhere, hair everywhere, in varying stages of undress... I have the same reaction to watching a horror movie, which is that initial compelling glance followed by lukewarm insouciance. You stare for a moment and then you move along.
You could say I've become desensitized to romance, the same way people become desensitized to gore and violence. When you see so much facsimile of it, it becomes another fabrication of some hopeful sentiment.

Sitting next to B at some bar in the neighborhood with her boyfriend and his bartender friends, I find myself awkwardly with nothing to say to anybody and nothing in common. I hate that I must appear to be very boring and sullen. Instead I concentrate on concentrating on a baseball game, or else I eavesdrop on strangers' conversations.

A rumply-haired lanky type, who at any other time when I'm feeling more exuberant I would've triggered him some sharp-shooter bedroom eyes, is catching up with a pal and she asks him about his current status.

"... yeah so basically she's on tour til April," he responds.
The girl says something incomprehensible very close to his face.

He replies, "Well it's not like... it's not an emotional thing, I mean it's hard but we never discussed where we left off."
More muffled back-and-forth.

"I just really like having her around me. I like being around her. I want her around a lot," he simply puts it.
This seems to appease his friend. I guess that's all there is to it, isn't it?

What is romance even? I don't even know anymore, or possibly I never did. If you say it enough or think it enough, it loses its meaning. All I know is that there's nothing floral about it. It doesn't stand for anything, nor is it committed to your ideals of love.
It seems to me that you should just tell people you fancy that you are into them and you like having them around. Anyone and everyone who's declared me in their affections, whether I've returned them or not, has made me flustered and nervous and I feel embarrassed and foolish. In a good way, I guess. Which is how romance should make you feel.

Now I see people kissing and stuff and I feel something weird and disquieting. The same feeling when there's a test today you didn't study for even though you knew there was a test today. You don't feel good, but you knew you wouldn't anyway. And yet there's little comfort in that knowledge.
There is no comfort in the knowledge of your own aloneitude. I don't think I'm lonesome too often, I just spend too much time in my apartment by myself. I spend too much time on my own two feet, in my head, and always upright. I can barely remember the last time I was head-over-heels, a year or a year and a half ago, and kissing came natural and felt awesome.

In that time, it feels like my blood's been settling to my feet like some sort of silty sediment, and my veins are moving water instead. I could use a good shaking up.

3 comments:

adam said...

people only kiss because that is what they have been told to do as a display of affection.

if a couple did headbutt or something that might be more fun

probably just looking at the other person is now more meaningful

Simone said...

i don't think that "romance" is something that you can define. i think it's whatever makes your heart flutter or feel like you and the other dude are the only people in the world. i think that's more like romance? i don't know.

i definitely believe in love. maybe romance just comes along with it.

ryan manning said...

Romance is a general term that refers to the attempt to express love with words or deeds. It also refers to feelings of excitement associated with love.