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3.16.2005

Why is the measure of love loss?

When I was in college, my best friend, Betsey, wrote, "The List." It was posted on the wall of her freshmen dorm room. "The List." consisted of characteristics that Betsey desired in her ideal man. Eventually, we collaborated on a list that numbered in the hundreds, things like: "Pronounces 'library' correctly," and "Has a job."

Some men found this to be offensive, objectifying. The idea, though, was not a list of demands. It was a list of reminders about the mistakes we had made and the compromises we didn't want to make someday. Women often try to change men or create them into this ideal in their minds. Eventually, they learn that it is best to just try to accept the other person for who they are. However, when love involves making so many compromises, a person can forget that it is not wrong to desire something unattainable, to hope for something greater. Love should be transcendant; therefore, should not our lovers be as well?

One of the most important characteristics on my list was: "writes my name in the margins of books next to meaningful passages." This was something I did/do for people I have loved. It is the pinnacle of admiration to me, to think of another while reading. This feeling came to me from a gift I received from an old friend. The gift was a copy of my favorite book, Written on the Body, by Jeanette Winterson. My copy has been read by many people. People I have loved. In the margins are notes and asterisks, other's initials. There are underlined paragraphs and circled words in black ink, pencil and blue ball point.
I circled this paragraph. Sometimes, it is all I know. . .

I am thinking of a certain September: Wood pigeon Red Admiral Yellow Harvest Orange Night. You said, 'I love you.' Why is it that the most unoriginal thing we can say to another is still the thing we long to hear? 'I love you' is always a quotation. You did not say it first and neither did I, yet when you say it and when I say it we speak like savages who have found three words and worship them. I did worship them but now I am alone on a rock hewn out of my own body.

link * Miss Marisol posted at 1:20 PM * posted by Miss Marisol @ 1:20 PM   |