Love. A word used often. A word misused often. Perhaps in this society we are too set on the end all and be all as "love". Though I could get into other aspects of love, such as that between family members, an all too often obligated love, or the shallow usage in everyday life. "Oh my god! I love her hair!" No, I shall stick to the plain and simple romance type of love.
Plain and simple, now there is a joke. If it were plain or simple, there would most likely be more people happy. However, it seems that Hollywood has dashed any dreams of finding an attainable love. We find ourselves comparing actual life to what is on a big screen, and that is our first problem. It's unattainable. And that is plain and simple.
We see romances such as any romantic comedy. Dirty Dancing, for example. The two lovers come out victorious in the end, overcoming social diversity and parents. Aww! Of course all movies must have a small twist. The American President, he's the President, she�s a lobbyist. Ooo...scandal. Return to Me, woman has man's dead wife's heart. There's a twist for you. The Truth About Cats and Dogs (a favorite), woman is ashamed of not being the perfect model types, so she gets her model friend to masquerade as herself. Though I could go though several more films (all of which I own on video or DVD), the fact is that the woman and the man end up together at the end and blissfully happy. It's a fairy tale ending. Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, and Cinderella. They also had their obstacles. But in the end, it's happy.
There are plenty of films to break this cycle, of course. Shakespeare in Love (another favorite), she ends up married to a man she doesn't love, and he is left alone (well, he has a wife and kids, as well as a drinking habit and his writing to keep him company). But alas, it does not end without hope, for it is suggested that Viola's ship to the Americas sunk, and she was a sole survivor...strangely the beginning of "Twelfth Night". No one said it was historically accurate. Another example of love not conquering all...alright, not in my video collection. Those are the dramas. The beautiful stories of love and loss that usually end in death, or separation by unavoidable circumstances. Those are the stories you watch once and adore, but they aren't the ones you watch over and over. You want a feel good movie. I couldn't even list off all the ones I own. Pretty Woman, The Cutting Edge, Miss Congeniality, Notting Hill, Ever After, The Princess Bride. Namely, chick flicks. For some reason, the mushy love crap appeals to women and their emotional sensitivity. All I know is that I have a shelf full that I never hesitate to watch, with a few Kleenexes in hand.
Real love? Eh, I'm probably not the best judge, but I would say that it doesn't exist, or at least, not in any way resembling a movie, book, play, fairy tale. Taking my own family as an example, I've sort of lost faith in marriage and relationships that last. I've seen too many relationships dissolve to believe that it's a fluke. And with half of the nation failing at this picture-perfect happiness we see in movies, it seems divorce rates agree with me.
I suppose I'm being a little harsh and one sided. Even if 50% of the nation is divorced, there's still that fifty that's making it work (or who are too lazy to file for divorce). But where does the fault lie? This is something that several people have tried to figure out, I'm sure. It's rather simple, though there are several factors. One, those damn movies that we keep watching, and filming, and buying, and crying while watching. We see this amazing connection between two people, and get the hunger to find it. We want so bad to be that happy. But it can't happy. That's not real, and there are no loves in this world like that. It will never happen. But we see it. We feel it. It touches us, and we assume that it's real. It's a magic trick that people fall into, not because they are gullible, but because they want to. They want to believe that it�s out there. That Holy Grail; that embodiment of everything wonderful in the world.
Perhaps it's unfair to blame everything on media, just because it's an easy target. What's even easier is blaming it on the people. Though I would never ask to go back to the turn of the century, I'd have to say that liberation did a lot to destroy "love". Rather, it built up on the idea of love, it destroyed marriage. Back in the 1800s, and early 1900s, people did not get divorces. It was just not done, and if it was, the woman was left with children, and usually poor. So why is it that things changed? Well, freedom. Freedom, the ultimate in personal power and it makes you feel unstoppable. Women, all of a sudden, were getting rights. They could vote, and choose things based on their own ideas, and not the ideas of their husbands. This could only lead to trouble, because then they decide that they want something more than what they are getting. They realize they have options. They can choose. It's a fantastic thing, that leads to the eventual downfall of lasting marriages. It's like a trial and error thing. Start here, if you don't like it, move on to the next. Obviously it was a gradual decline. It wasn't until the 60s and 70s that divorce was really popularized and somewhat accepted. And now it's a social norm. Though I suppose that's the pattern of any socially accepted practice.
I feel the need to quote a song here, to clarify my point. These are 21 things that I want in a lover, not necessarily needs but qualities that I prefer, I figure I can describe it since I have a choice in the matter, these are 21 things I choose to choose in a lover. Appropriately titled "21 Things I Want in a Lover", it�s a new Alanis Morissette song from her recent Under Rug Swept album. "I figure I can describe, since I have a choice...these are 21 things I choose to choose." Choice, freedom. We take advantage because we are given the option. The logical answer to any question of "why?", is a simple, why not?
So how does this all tie together? Well, with the liberty to go from one place to the next, we do. And all the while trying to find that mythical "love" that we have heard so much about and are trying desperately to find. But in the meantime, we have reduced the word of such feeling down to talking about shoes and a cute pair of pants, rather than a relationship to withstand time. Perhaps there is that fairy tale, though. Perhaps you can find the one and only. Perhaps it's just all in the timing. And I suppose we all hang on to that dream or perfection because it gives us something to live for; something to work towards. And eventually, perhaps, there will be a Prince Charming to sweep me off my feet, but in the meantime, I'm staying grounded, and looking for something less than "love". Something more real.