A married woman who had children once confessed her love for me. She said she wanted to wake up with me, eat with me, walk in the park with me, sleep and wake up with me.
After a while, sex came up.
– Oh, sex is also very important to me, she said. Although I never think about it separate from these other things when I think about you.
Sex is often separate from those other things. Those things, on the other hand, are inseparable from the idea of love. And, as she was describing it, she craved love, not sex. But even though she chose not to mention it, it felt like it was silently there, behind those named activities. Intensely, actually. As if all of those other things were there to remove any vulgarity from the idea of sex and make sure that this sex will be in fact love itself.
I was trembling a little afterwards. I did not know this woman very well but I always felt strongly attracted to her whenever I saw her. She apparently did a good job hiding how she felt about me and so an extraordinary world was suddenly opening within the common world.
In the following days of communication with her I said I was in love with her too. She didn’t ask how come at all. She just said that she is very happy that I feel that way. I asked her what were we going to do with this new reality.
– Enjoy it, peacefully, and for a long time, I hope.
I came to realize that this meant that she saw our relationship as her extramarital affair. Although she said she was in love with me “for quite some time now”, she did not intend to leave her husband and “strip her kids out of a normal childhood”. That would be “very selfish and should be avoided if possible”. So, our love was to be consumed in small doses and often enough.
In fact, having two children, a husband and a career, I was guessing the only thing she could realistically find time for was a quick form of the unmentioned sex from before. It was probably those other things that she did mention, like waking up and taking long walks together that were supposed to be imagined. It was up to sex to be the full embodiment of love and the rest should just be thought up by each of us as a fantasy following up the sex .
This was new, strange and exciting for me. Every previous relationship of mine has failed with me being the one that is walking out. So, no obligation this time? No drama? No scandal? Just the good parts? Could I have actually wanted a better arrangement? Well, I was in.
To Dig or Not to Dig?
Years later, I am watching Yorgos Lanthimos’ THE LOBSTER and think: I don’t want clichès, sure. It may be that I just prefer them.
This is how the THE LOBSTER felt as well. And what the married woman was suggesting our affair should be felt like, also. The thing is – and this is a very disappointing and, at the same time, shamefully freeing notion for me – clichès might suit me just fine. I concluded this after waiting for Collin Farrell’s character “David” to decide whether he will be committing to his new reality with a steak knife. And feeling that I would probably not. Not for that woman . Or Rachel Weisz. Or anybody else.
So, I want something with managable, deletable consequences even. A pattern with a few variables at disposal so as to escape the dangers of boredom. When it comes to the authentic experience it may be that I prefer the cliché of it. I do not want to cross any real point of no return and like to leave all options open. This is, apparently, and sadly, life’s sweet spot for me. To be living in beginnings. If possible, to be forever living in the beginnings of love.
THE LOBSTER, a metaphor – world of the Kafkaesque type, was showing just how easy it is to live like that. One should always be ready to leave any of life’s games with a bland, passionless face like the film’s characters seem to have constantly on. It seems THE LOBSTER suggests that there is social consensus on apathy as an attractive trait, as if the capability to detach yourself on demand increases your appeal of strength. Signals of real involvement, on the other hand, reveal weakness and those that are not able to uphold the norm of fakery should be pointed out, hunted down and sanctioned, as it happens when “David” breaks down because his brother/turned dog is brutally murdered. (If you want more bland faces doing unspeakable things, check out Lanthimos’ DOGTOOTH. He also co-wrote that with Efthymis Filippou).
Is that why the married woman I declared love to years ago never bothered questioning it? Or I hers? Was the statement of mutual love purely a step needed so she could proceed with adultery? Was this love preferred to be fake, as this is more manageable? Was the cliché of love chosen over the original?
I want to write something beautiful about commitment now. Something that is equivalent to digging my eyes out for something or someone bigger than me. But I cannot find the insight, nor the courage to acquire it.
I don’t want to die for love. I want love to die for me, periodically.
As for the woman. Although I can say she really made an effort, things between us sort of waned off as she appeared not being able to make time once even for the sex part. It was either that or me not faking it enough.
Maelzel’s chess player