By Jacey Gibb, Assistant Editor
Seven months ago, I took a co-worker’s phone number off of the staff schedule and sent her some dumb text message saying that her dry cleaning was ready for pickup. Four months later, while sitting in a vehicle in front of her apartment building, I told her that I loved her.
Whenever a couple decides to take the committal plunge and send their first couple of “I love you”s back and forth, it’s usually seen as a milestone. As if to say, “This is it. This is the first checkpoint (out of many) along the way towards us having a healthy and lasting relationship.”
So why is it that I cannot comfortably use that word?
I’m not some Dexter-esque serial killer who’s unable to psychologically develop emotional relationships with anyone around me. And I’m not a serial womanizer either, who after years of one night stands has learned to detach himself from the idea of trust and intimacy. In fact, I like to think that my aversion to the word doesn’t come from a deficiency in humanity, but rather that I simply don’t agree to the world that comes with it.
Love has acquired so much tertiary baggage for me over the years that I find the word doesn’t carry as much meaning as people think it does. Stupendously terrible ballads by Taylor Swift, an assembly line of romantic comedies forcing Jennifer Aniston to somehow remain relevant, and even that upcoming holiday that people love to fucking hate, Valentine’s Day. The whole subculture of love is such an over-romanticization that I find it hard to see how any of it relates to me or the way I feel towards people I care about.
I’m not known in any of my social circles as a guy who’s bubbling with emotions, like a pot of feelings that’s been left on the stove for too long, unattended. Chalk it up to stereotypical male gender roles, but I’m not a hugely expressive person when it comes to the emotion department. I love my family, my girlfriend, my friends, and my cat, but I don’t feel the need to tell them this on a daily basis—except for maybe the latter of those. I care about all of these people and hope that my interactions with them is enough that they don’t require constant reassurances on whether I still love them or not.
I guess what I’m getting at is that love is a dated term for an otherwise indescribable feeling. No two relationships will ever be exactly the same, so it’s impossible for the same word to accurately encompass what two people are feeling. Love has multiple interpretations for everyone and it always will.
For you, it might mean romantic getaways together and saying “I love you” anytime one of you leaves the room. To me, love means being able to puke in front of her after a night at the Biltmore before we walk to get chicken nuggets, striding hand in hand.