Sunday, November 19, 2006

A Companion for Each Occasion

A French correspondent to whom I write about the nature of love and related matters assures me with feminine infallibility that "to be in love is passion."

Pour moi, la passion, c'est un amour très fort. La passion, c'est un amour déraisonné et un peu possessif.
(For me, passion is a very strong love. Passion is a love without reason and a little possessive.)

This unbridled feeling is focused on the one person, she says, whom one cannot stop thinking about, dreaming about, one cannot imagine life without this person.

So far, I imagine, my correspondent has plucked every heart in the house. I hear the sighs and ever the trickling of slow tears of recognition down the cheeks of some (predominantly female) readers.

Let me risk rotten tomatoes from the peanut gallery, if you'll excuse the mixed vegetable kingdom metaphor (and yes, purists, peanuts are legumes but legumes are still within the vegetable kingdom), and ask:
  • Must one person be the be-all and end-all of one's existence?
  • Is it realistic to expect one person to be the favorite conversation partner, the best dining companion, the most practical and helpful chore mate, the most leonine bed partner, the profoundest fellow philosopher of life and so on and so forth?
  • Aren't such combined, overblown and unliveable expectations or fantasies the cause of all our misfortunes in love?
Again, as I wrote in an earlier post (here), there doesn't seem to be any solid foundation for monogamy other than in the necessities of childrearing and patriarchal inheritance.

Why can't we opt for varied companions for different occasions, instead of single mates for every season who must perforce disappoint us?

We accept that certain friends bring certain gifts and others something quite different. Yet we can't, somehow, accept that there are men or women suitable for a night at the opera and different men or women suitable for a romp in the countryside.

Is there only one for each one? If so, why do at least 50% of those who choose ecclesiastical or legal means to express such a notion end up divorced?

These are just questions. I don't claim to have an answer. My experience just tells me that the conventional, sentimental answers don't work particularly well.

There's just got to be a better way.
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