The following are approximately the first 1000 words from Chapter 3 of Jonar Nader’s book,
How to Lose Friends and Infuriate Lovers.
I don’t love you
Keep your feelings to yourself
I’m sorry to bring canines into it, but do you know why dogs do their wee-wees on trees and posts? They’re marking out their territory. They are posting a message on a public billboard, and it reads, ‘Hey all you dudes in the district: this area is mine. Do you have a problem with that?’
Do we vertical animals do that? Yep. We are forever marking out our territory. We proclaim that a block of land is ours. The deed to our home keeps the dudes away. The copyright and the trademark do the same thing.
The ring on that finger makes me wonder, though. What is it saying and who is saying it? The message is loud, but unclear. Does the ring say, ‘I am taken, rotten luck, so sorry about that. Maybe in another life.’ Or does the ring speak for a different voice that shouts, ‘Hey dudes, stay away, this one is mine, and don’t come close! I’ve reserved all rights.’
I’ll leave you to battle through that one, because that’s only the scene-setter for me to launch the key question: what do you mean when you say, ‘I love you’? When should you say it? Who should say it first? By the way, should you play hard to get? How hard? What if you push your luck and push your potential soul-mate away?
I’ve always maintained that anyone who feels compelled to say ‘I love you’ is on thin ice. Why the urge? Is it to express a feeling from a heart to a head? Why is that feeling not getting through without words? Perhaps you say it to make the other person happy, because the more they hear it, the better they feel. Oh dear, that’s a different kind of problem, and we’ll skip it for now. Perhaps you say ‘I love you’ in order to mark your territory by saying, ‘Hey, I hereby submit my expression of interest, so consider this a deposit; like a down-payment. Don’t go making yourself available to anyone else, because I am definitely interested.’
Do you see the problems here? Having to say that you are an honest person, raises all sorts of doubt. Having to convince someone that you are ethical and loyal and in love, smacks of a Shakespearean tragedy, and methinks one doth promote too much.
Would your lovee admonish you if you don’t succumb to this ritual? Words are cheap. Anyone can say anything. Are we astute enough to sense another’s love without requiring verbal assurances?
I love you… I said, I love you!
Well, is there anything you want to tell me?
Pressure pressure. Go on, force it out. Push them into an awkward corner. Go ahead, make a scene. Don’t you realise that most people would prefer to avoid conflict? So if you push the point, you’ll get your admission. And there is nothing sweet about the stock-standard invited prompted pregnant pause that extracts and demands the obligatory response, ‘And I love you too’.
So, now are you happy? A little? Not fully? You have another question? What’s that? Now you want to know how much they love you?
Well, how much is a lot?
Oh dear. Pick away at it. Keep prodding until something happens, and then you can take all this evidence to the judge. ‘They said they loved me, with their own mouth. And now they have betrayed me.’
Try this little diabolical experiment. Next time you feel the urge to tell someone that you love them… don’t! Just express it in other ways. Do it in deed, or in kind, or in love, or be generous and considerate and… oh gosh, I was about to say romantic, but that’s a whole new topic. I don’t like the word ‘romantic’. It smothers the truth. It’s another silly word that frames most descriptions about what people are looking for in a relationship. But do you know what they really mean when they say that they want someone who is romantic?
On Internet dating sites, unless you are young and drop-dead gorgeous, you would fall into the ‘average’ band. So read what every other average person is looking for. Apart from insignificant differences in hobbies and the odd ‘I hate seafood’ and the peculiar ‘I am a fruitarian’ and all the other pigeon-hole categories, it boils down to basic needs. You, like everyone else, it seems, would admit to being easy-going, down-to-earth (whatever that means) and someone who enjoys this and that, and sometimes this and never that. But in the end, you are looking for someone to love, on the proviso that they love you back, because you will not tolerate any jerks. And don’t forget to say that you do not want anyone with baggage. That would really set you apart… not! And what’s all this aversion to those who play mind-games? It strikes me that more is revealed about people by what they say they do not want, than by what they admit about themselves. With almost everyone dreading a relationship with time-wasters and manipulators, I’m yet to see any entries wherein the candidates describe themselves as baggage-laden time-wasting mind trippers. Where are all these characters that everyone fears? (It bemuses me when I read the descriptions on cans and packets of food at supermarkets, because it seems that every single one of them uses nothing less than the finest ingredients. Go to your cupboard and read something. It leads me to wonder why they stress this point, given that none admits otherwise, and if that were all true, it makes me wonder where the less-than-finest ingredients go, and who uses them, and when they do use them, how do they advertise them?) Have you ever met self-aware nincompoops? If these nincompoops are not honest enough to plug accurate data into their on-line dating profile, are they likely to recognise their shortcomings and stay away from singles who beg for funny spunky intelligent companions who enjoy the odd good conversation — or was it the good odd conversation? And then there are those who do not know what they are looking for. Now there’s a dilemma.