Tuesday, February 19, 2013

In Which We Edit An Old Post

I originally put this up back in February of 2006; I edited the Hell out of it for this post.

Some Thoughts on Love Wimmen and Me

Joni Mitchell may have said it best when she sang:
I've looked at love from both sides now
From give and take, and still somehow
It's love's illusions I recall
I really don't know love at all
Perhaps it’s love’s illusions I recall. I don’t really know but what I DO know is this: I’ve been in love once; I think I’ve been in love twice. I’ve been infatuated hundreds of times and I’ve been in lust at least once a day for the past few years, which translates into "thousands."

My memories of my first puppy love are strong. Her name was Pam, she lived next door, and I spent the best part of a summer (read that: the entire summer) mooning over her. My affections were returned, at first, but then the girl got more than a little scared of my intensity. She withdrew. I didn’t. Both sets of parents were concerned about this infatuation; my behavior made life uncomfortable for all concerned. I was a mere lad of thirteen at the time; the year was 1958. My love was never consummated in any way, shape, or form. All I got out of my feelings was a boatload of trouble and I mean a boatload. My first lesson at love’s altar: Love Hurts. But Puppy Love isn’t love, now, is it?

Fast forward to the early 70s, to the time where I think I was in love. I’m still not sure, after all these years, which is why I say “I think I was in love.” What a sordid affair that was: we were both married, but not to each other. My first marriage was foundering and I was on my way out of it; I just couldn’t summon up the nerve to go, mainly because I had severe guilt feelings where my children were concerned. I had been decidedly unhappy for several years but I couldn’t bring myself to pull the trigger; my “keep it together for the kids” feelings overpowered any desire I had to leave. But then came that affair. The affair accelerated the end of my marriage, I made up my mind to go. The affair lasted nearly two years, and it was an “on-again, off-again” sort of relationship. We never spent a lot of time together, not near enough to develop a relationship that would stand up over time. Our time together was measured in hours, and we nearly always got together for “that” reason. The sex was great, perhaps the best I ever had; certainly the second-best.

So why do I call this affair “love,” and not the all-too-obvious alternative, lust? The woman made me feel things I had never felt up to that point in my life, and would only ever feel once again. I was obsessed with the woman. I wanted to be with her all the time, forever. I tried to talk her into marrying me. I think she was quite a bit wiser than I because she ultimately rejected me and stayed with her husband... for a couple of years, anyway. She ultimately left him and remarried. Her second marriage failed, too. I have no reason to believe we would have stayed together, had we married. As I said, she was wiser than I.

I met the love of my life in 1975, in Tokyo. She was an exchange student; I was stationed at Yokota AB. There were 11 years in between us, she was 19 when we met and I was 30. We traveled Japan together, partied together, lived together for a little under a year while in Japan, and again for a summer in North Dakota. We had an extended, three-year courtship, marrying in 1978. She left me in 1998, the divorce was final in 1999. In the mean time, we had 20 mostly good years of married life, and I say “mostly” only because the last six months were absolute-frickin’-HELL. Other than that, I was happier than I’d ever been, before or since. So, what happened? Love went missing... not on my part, mind you, but on hers. (Chase that link. Best essay on the subject I’ve EVER read.)

I used to carry a huge flaming torch for The Second Mrs. Pennington.  I spent a lot o' time trying to change that and I've kinda-sorta succeeded, to a point.   I’ve finally learned to live with it at the very least, and that ain't half-bad.  Part and parcel of the learning process is the realization that there’s no going back, even if I could.  Another part is realizing that I don't much LIKE that woman any longer; her life changes have taken her places I simply do not want to go.  We don't get on very well these days. 

As Gerard said at the "Love went missing" link:
Once gone missing, for whatever reason, it can't be just taken back as it was even if it is found. For if love gone missing is found and returns, it always remains a shattered vessel.
Yes, I know that in the endless bromides of our modern Therapeutic State Religion one is supposed to find the heart, the mercy and the compassion and the patience to pick up every little shard of what has been shattered and, with our ample supplies of therapeutic superglue, painfully and tediously put it all back together as it was. Except, of course, it can never be what it was.
The man speaks The Truth. (Again: chase that link.)

I’ve dated more than a few women since my divorce and have lived with two. I’ve been open to love. But, love is strange, to invoke a well-worn cliché... and here's another: you don’t choose love, it chooses you. I have serious doubts if love will ever again “choose” me, and that’s OK. I’ve been around that block at least once, maybe twice, and the experience and memories from those times are enough to see me through until the end.  If I had the power to change the past I would have chosen to remain in love, as I knew it.  Which means...

It’s love’s illusions I recall.


  1. I understand the bearing of the torch bit...
    ...and boy, do I ever remember puppy love, having experienced it from both directions.

    I have become a firm believer there are more kinds of love than we can even contemplate, we can experience more than one at a time and that's a good thing.

    It lets us know we're alive.

    1. There most definitely are many and varied kinds of love. My love for friends and family hasn't diminished at all over the years, but we're flat-out of romantic love. There are aspects of romantic love I miss but on the whole? I can live without it.

    2. We're on the terminal glide-slope of our lives, Buck. If, God forbid, my wife were to be killed in a car accident tomorrow at our age it's almost too much trouble to learn new tricks. ESPN, good booze, a great sound system, hi-speed internet, good eyesight , Chinese & Tex-Mex take-out and a working barco-lounger...that's all I need, I'm a man of simple tastes...lol Now if they could only ever perfect virtual reality porn...

    3. @Virgil: I'm with you, especially when it comes to virtual pr0n. ;-)

  2. I consider nostalgia an evil. Like a good bottle of booze, I sip from it, I don't chug it. I would never inject it.

    That bottle should never be emptied, and last a lifetime, as it can never be refilled.

  3. Love is a lot of frickin work. I've told my wife (With whom I am still married) that I will never get married again. What a pain in the freakin ass that was, the whole wedding planning, and money spent for one damned day...

    Definitely the most stressful time in our relationship. A whole year of "What do you think about this color" "I don't care about the color anymore, you've changed it seventeen times" "You never care!" "That's right, I just don't bloody care!" sorts of conversations.

    I told my wife if anything were to ever happen, and she and I were for some reason no longer together, I'd keep myself together long enough for the kids to succeed, and then it's just me and my TV, and my infatuation with beer and video games. Perhaps a strip club or two each month.

    1. I never went through the wedding planning/prep thing. My first marriage was in a judge's chambers... in and out... for the second one TSMP did ALL the planning, seein' as how she was in Indiana/Michigan and I was in North Dakota. We did talk about the wedding on the phone every so often, though. Other than that? All I had to do was show up and get fitted for the tux.

  4. I think lots of people mistake lust for love. Lust is a good start on love, but to really love someone, you have to like them a lot and want to be with them (and not just for the sex). If there are things you want to change about a person, you better think long and hard before you marry that person. Real love makes you have to want to step up and do whatever for that person - a willingness to lay your life down over and over. It is a constant work - a constant growing. Love is definitely a verb. If it is a noun, it is a decision you make every day.

    I've seen people kill their love, their marriage dead. It starts with one little feeling contrary to giving and loving - one little idea of hate, or selfishness - and it grows into something ugly. It is what us religious people call hardening of the heart. Whether it is the heart or not, that marriage is dead. Move on.

    Matt, weddings are way over-rated and way over-done. Short, simple, and sweet - that is the way to go. Well, maybe a really great party would be nice.

    1. I pretty much agree with everything you say, Lou. There came a time in my second marriage where EVERY thing I did was wrong (everything SHE did was wrong in my first marriage - insert smiley-faced thingie here). Funny, things are pretty much still like that. I just haven't found another woman who makes me feel like the things you describe, nor have I met one that I want to work that hard for.


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