domingo, 27 de abril de 2008

The L-word

This might not be the place for the following entry, but I didn't get famous for my apologizing -skills.

What is up with the L-word?
I'm not talking about a bunch of lesbians occasionally making out on tv. Nothing's up with that. We're all big supporters.
I'm talking about the L-word in "I Love you".
Here's a story.

About a year ago, my mate and I were discussing the whole saying 'I love you'. The timing, the meaning etc. I hadn't really given it much thought by then. It sort of came out quite early in my case. I couldn't even remember when. But definitely early, and frequently afterwards. My friend, on the other hand, had still. not. said. IT. There was a lot of pressure riding on the L-word, he told me. I couldn't really understand what the deal was. Hell, I couldn't even remember when I had said it for the first time, so it COULDN'T be such a big deal. Yet there he was. Coming back to mind now, a little gem of a tip that someone once gave me about the right moment to lean in for a kiss, it was: "If you're thinking about kissing, then it's probably a good time to kiss".

Some time later, my friend came back to me and said "Man I told her! I said 'I love you'." It turned out he had ultimately said it during sex. It also turned out to be the perfect timing, AND definitely a greater way for setting the mood than candles. Between us, he'd say 'I love you' for the first time in bed every night again if he could :) So there you go. That same day, I made a mental note to keep my 'I love you' like a kind of super-magic-kamasutra-joker-card that I would pull out on a night when I meant business. And failed miserably. The paradox involved with preparing kick-ass surprises is that it's that much harder to keep it a secret... surprise.

Still, no real valid point has been brought up so far, so here's another piece of useless anecdote. Last night I discovered that two remote friends of mine had recently (and finally) hooked up. The girl involved had told me that last night, in a long-time-no-see chat I seem to have a lot of lately. She asked me about my girlfriend, and the things that I liked about her. It wasn't a hard question, but when I was done, she added "Is it just a "Like" now or did it already turn into a "Love" for you?". And here's what I said.
I said "excellent question!! You know, with my first gf, I didn't understand what the problem was with people about the whole 'Love' word. It had come very fast with my first girlfriend except, I now realize, might have been less... founded on strong fundaments :) now, I am a bit more experienced... but, I don't know if it's a better thing to be more careful with the love word.
We can never be 'sure' anyway, so why be careful about it...anyway, to answer your question, Yes, I consider it love, and I tell her I love her."

And she said "I think "love" includes a little bit of surrender. And people hesitate to do so."
Which reminded me of a metaphor I once came up with. I said "It might be, that we realize we're giving away the remote control to our happiness, into the hands of someone else, and that's kind of scary". I immediately felt good about myself for bringing up such clever metaphor, you understand. But she said something that only now, as I look into the message history again, I realize how clever and true it actually is. She said:
"In reality, if you think that you really love the person, you are already bitten. You already gave away the remote control. But admitting it to that person only helps that person to know it. If you don't admit it, you have the space to pretend to still hold the remote control in your hands".
Ok, read that part again. I decided to leave it pretty much as is, so take another second to read it again. The scary part, it seems, is to commit oneself to one's own vulnerability.

Last but not least, I shall bring to court my last piece of evidence. Which is the reply I got from my gf, after sending her the same list of things I liked about her. She said:
"I've just realized that if you care about some one or something, there's really no reason to hold back. no reason not to jump up and squeeze and kiss and write notes and send songs and cook for your boyfriend. There's a pleasure in the gesture - as much, if not more, than being at the receiving end. And putting yourself out there, gloriously and wholeheartedly, there's beauty in that as well. :)

What's the point of this blog entry?
In answering the original question: "What is up with the L-Word", I came to conclude that nothing is up with that either. We can never be 'sure' of our love. There's no point waiting for the results of some DNA-test of love, before we can make any statement. Relationship after relationship, we become more careful with it. What kind of crap is that? So the more we live, the more we should become careful about living? If nothing else, experience should teach us that we're still standing, still happy, and living proof of both. So, let's stop pretending like the heart is the weakest link of our body, and that it can only be put at risk once. Otherwise, we'll miss a whole lot of occasions to have been gloriously and wholeheartedly alive.

Tal Benisty

martes, 15 de abril de 2008


5.41am and you find yourself at an airport, thankful for the wifi, one step closer to what internet will inevitably be: ubiquitously free. 5.41 has a long story to tell. On how the distance from your house to the metro station in town is not 45 minutes of boozed up euphoric walking home, but rather can be a 21 minute walking race on the soundtrack of Daft Punk Alive. Still, that left you another 15 minutes to find the Red Nest Hostel you've been walking by so often, and ask if they would be so kind to print out your boarding pass. You tell them you couldn't find a printer, because really, do you wanna start explaining to the sort-of-cooperative desk clerk that just 4 hours before, you tried to take out 20 euro's from the ATM and it said NO. Not in those words of course. More of a 'Go fuck yourself' kind of way, but then more cryptically polite. That, and you rushed back home to check what you already know through your online backing service. That, and transferring a random total of 5.43eurocents from your savings account (if you can call that) to your current account, reaching just about 21.43 euro's on what you hope will later be functioning ATM machine at the airport. So of course, I don't tell the clerk all that. He says 'help yourself' and I sit down behind the pc and sure, the cool internet-time-pressured-email transfer-external-hard-drive-on-line-booking-boarding-pass situation hasn't escaped your mind while you mac away bit and bytes for a noble cause. Press print, run, welcome on board. Talking to my mate Youri up until 4am was probably not a genius idea either. Pack, run, repeat. Looking back, it wouldn't had been a bad idea to take a bigger sip of my apple juice. Not forgetting my keys on my desk would also make things nicer. Check bag, curse, repeat. Exactly one hour later, you get on board of what you thought was the earliest metro at the closest station from home, but asking the two security guards will inform you that tramline 3 starts way earlier and way closer to where you just ran from. Thank, curse, repeat. Thank the security agents for not taking away your 75cl deodorant. Ask politely for the latest security measures, receive pamphlet while she nags about how the rules are the same still 1997. Shut up, turn around, repeat. 5.54 am, priority boarding will commence. 20 euro's should get me all the way to delft. Finding a dutch student whose discount priced trainticket applies to me as well would make things nicer. I wouldn't mind a bottle of apple juice. But I'll make it one way or another. Save, reboot, repeat.

Tal Benisty