My advice to girls is: first, don’t smoke—to excess; second, don’t drink—to excess; third, don’t marry—to excess.
As I patiently weed in the secret garden, a young, handsome couple chatting with me suddenly link arms and say to each other, “Let's get hitched.” Turns out they’d dated only three weeks, but “sometimes you just know.” Hugging her, he proclaims, “You’re gorgeous. We’re in love. Nothing else matters.”
Huh. Is it love, or lust? Only the “L” is shared. Lust is inadequate glue. Feelings often fall away because lovers try to bond forever using its cheap adhesive. Do these two really know each other? A chemical reaction—thumping heart, shortness of breath, weak knees—merely signals an overwhelming need to possess. (I sometimes wonder if people take longer to choose their cars than their mates.)
“Wait a minute,” I joke. “What’s his favorite color?” Startled, she thinks hard, then gives up. “What is it, Jack?” We three laugh, but I’ve made a point.
Today, as I line up at the grocery store’s checkout aisle I spot that rag mag, The National Inquirer, lying in wait amid candy and fluff, for bored shoppers to gasp at- and take home- its latest riveting news: a plump-lipped, paper-thin, top-heavy movie star has chucked her third husband for another, richer man.
Marriage is really the only legal form of pickpocketing, I guess.
Immediately after perusing that pronouncement I read that a hunky male rock star has traded in his current wife for a younger model with a more pleasing arrangement of facial bones, and—very important—longer leg bones.
Fans avidly follow these peoples’ confused lives via TV, the Internet, and similar tell-all magazines. Plastic surgeons around the country are busily re-sculpting perfectly good bodies to more closely resemble a star the client envies— a star who makes millions pretending to be someone he or she’s not.
A visiting E.T. alien would throw up his tentacles in confusion.
And why do folks wish to read about what he/she had muttered when dying, or which one has chucked whom for new ‘love,’ anyway? What’s happened to embracing some semblance of privacy?
Lee Marvin, an oft-married actor, once commented that “if your house burns down, you gotta rescue what’s important: the dogs. They know all about loving, and are unconditionally faithful.”
Unconditional love is allergic to “or.” (You’ll do this, think that, be this, gimme that, or, I won’t love you.) Most parents I know are experts at truly loving. (A few though, confuse mothering and smothering…)
People today seem so cynical about relationships. “Never waste time crying over a divorce or dumped lover,” one wag commented wryly: “just yell ‘Next!’”
A friend once commented that the only difference between a man and a municipal bond is that municipal bonds eventually mature.
And how about the guy who wasn’t a bit impressed to learn that swans mate for life. “If you’re a swan,” he said smugly, “you’re probably not gonna find a swan that looks much different from the swan you’ve got, so why not mate for life?”
The rules seemed so much clearer way back when. A half-century ago, fifty-year-old women wouldn’t dare have babies because they’d probably set them down and forget where they left them.
Today, fifty- and even sixty- is the new thirty. Boundaries have faded. (Inseminated grannies have successfully given birth to their barren daughter’s baby...)
Oh, boy... I read over my musings, ruefully. I’m a pontificating old dear who still likes to recall one of (ageless) Zsa Zsa Gabor’s outrageous comments: “Of course I’ll return the ring, dahhhling—but I’ll keep the diamond.”
But hey: when toupees are removed, when our teeth are in a jar and our busts come off with our bras, what then? Does love remain?
Rising, I brush myself off. Lots of weeds are banished, the temperature’s down a bit and- I may finally have sorted out what’s really important:
I shall pursue and happily lust after flowers, and promise to love every single one I bed. Forever.