In "The Power of Everyday Missionaries", Clayton Christensen discusses some of the religious questions that people Googled. At the top, by a long shot, was "what is love" with 226 million searchers a month, including 45.5 million in the United States. When we discussed this chapter in Sunday school, people talked about how beautiful this is and how it speaks to the soul of what people really value and crave out of life. And I just sat there and thought, Surely I can't be the only one who realizes that most of those people were looking up the song. Really, it's a very famous song, and if I want to look up the definition of a word, I just type in the word and usually the first thing that comes up is a dictionary entry.
But it is a legitimate question. I got into an argument with a coworker over it. He insisted that love is a biochemical reaction designed to make sure our genes get passed on, and isn't real. I tried to explain to him what I'm about to write here, but we just talked in circles a bit and I gave up. Of course love is a biochemical reaction designed to make sure our genes get passed on. So what? How does that make it not real? Brain chemicals are real, they're measurable, you could touch them with your fingers if given the opportunity. And they have certain noticeable effects, and some of those effects are what we call "love". Now certainly, one could argue that the common understanding of love is flawed, but that doesn't make it nonexistent. Maybe he just meant that science makes it not magic and therefore ruins it. I think that's the wrong attitude. Do flowers and bird songs cease to be beautiful when you realize they're weapons in a battle for sex? Are humans worthless if you understand that they share a common ancestor with apes, that they grow from zygotes, and that their appearance is determined by mixing genes together?
People with ideas about love that don't conform to reality (aka most people between 8 and 30) are setting themselves up for a lot of disappointment. I'm not like a love expert or anything, but I get a great deal of perverse satisfaction from shattering people's fairy tale nonsense about it, so there's that. I feel like shattering this post that annoyed me.
"If yelling at her in an argument doesn't make your throat burn like you just downed 6 shots, you're not in love with her."
(Aside to everyone else - if you have a partner and this partner thinks that yelling at you is acceptable behavior, dump him/her faster than a hot potato with Ebola.)
"If her eyes can't make you stop in your tracks and think about what you're about to say next, you're not in love with her."
"Honey, we're out of toilet p-buh-buh-buh-buh what continent am I on?" Okay, so, this is a symptom of what we call infatuation. And this is often a component of love to start out with. But the giddy swirly twitterpated feeling is scientifically proven to disappear after a year or two, and this is why that's a good thing. Interference with your ability to function normally gets old after a while and is not something you want sticking around for your whole life.
"If her laugh doesn't make you tense up your knuckles thinking about never hearing it again, you're not in love with her."
So... when you love a woman (you said "girl" but I'm saying "woman" to appease my feminist friends), you don't enjoy hearing her laugh? You hate it, in fact? You must have some really fun dates trying not to make her laugh. But if you really loved her, you would just want her to be happy, with or without you. Ohhhhhhh snap.
"If her voice can't calm your worst anxiety attacks and makes [sic] you want to listen to anything she has to say, you're not in love with her."
Wait, what? Her laugh causes you anxiety, but her voice calms it? Isn't her voice part of her laugh? Or is she one of those people who just laughs silently and gasps? Okay, for the sake of simplicity let's assume by "voice" you just mean talking. What if she laughs, and then says something, and then laughs again? What if she laughs while she's talking? This seems like it would be rather detrimental to your mental health. And speaking of mental health, I'm 100% sure you don't know what an anxiety attack is. Let me guess, you think a walk in the woods is a cure-all for depression too? And unicorn farts heal schizophrenia, amiright? Look, I'm sure a loved one's voice can calm some anxiety attacks for some people, but this all-or-nothing sentence is ridiculous and perpetuates mankind's idiocy about mental illness.
"If her smile doesn't make your chest quake and your lungs shrink but feel refreshed all in one motion, you're not in love with her."
That's very specific. Hear me out for a moment - is it just possible that any of however many of the 3.7ish billion other men in the world are heterosexual and/or heteromantic, which is most of them, might experience their emotions differently than you? I admit I'm extrapolating from my religious training here. I have been told that the Holy Ghost feels different to different people, and I just assume that more standard-issue emotions can work the same way. Not everyone's brain chemistry is identical. It just strikes me as the height of arrogance to presume that any experience deviating from your very specific one is invalid. And again, this is the sort of thing that vanishes after one or two years. That doesn't mean you've fallen out of love. A lot of people make that mistake and get divorced to go find someone else, wrongly expecting that the same thing won't happen again.
"If her taking her clothes off is when you pay the most attention to her, you're not in love with her."
This is literally the stupidest - wait. Oh my goodness, this is accurate. This is true. This is good. If you just deleted all the other sentences in this post, it would be a great post. But you shouldn't be watching her take her clothes off anyway, you sick shmuck.
Now I'm posting this clip from "The Red Green Show" for the third time because, well, I love it.