Thursday, July 23, 2009

Oh, Yes, You Can Help It

Out of late-night, tax-widowed boredom, I watched a biography of Natasha Richardson, whom I developed a particular fondness for after viewing her warm portrayal of the mom in Disney's newer version of "The Parent Trap" (which is oh, so much better than the original, by the way). She seemed like a nice woman, the sort of person whom you would be happy to be seated next to on an airplane if you were experiencing weather delays.

But something she said irritated me (and it's something I've heard many times before): "You can't help who you fall in love with."

I'm sorry, but in the words of Christopher Plummer as Captain Von Trapp: "Oh, yes, you can help it. You must help it."

I'm not sure how the idea has persisted that love is this accidental thing which decides to flit down to the earth every once in awhile and rest on some unsuspecting soul's shoulder. Just how is love something that can come about without a person having to give full consent to its development? I mean, I can understand an attraction between two people as being the sort of thing that "just happens", but love? Love is a choice, not an unavoidable destiny.

And besides that, the oops-I-fell-in-love-and-didn't-mean-to thing is just silly. Falling in love is about as accidental as teenagers having sex in the backseat of a car. In other words, it's not. (I'm sorry, but no matter how many girls say, "we didn't mean to", if you take the time and effort to configure your body into the circus positions required for a backseat rendezvous, you meant to. You really meant to).

If you can't help who you fall in love with, I suppose we should all be checking over our shoulders to make sure Cupid doesn't have his arrow pointed at us at an inopportune time or when we're with the wrong person. But no matter how ridiculous the idea of being stalked by a diapered cherub may sound, is it any less ridiculous that people really believe they are so incapable of controlling their feelings that they can't avoid falling in love with someone, even if that puts them on a path to an affair or divorce?

Well, perhaps this little I-can't-help-it excuse is the reason why so many people end up getting divorced these days. I mean, how many times have you heard someone say, "I just don't love my husband anymore" as if it were a completely random, unfortunate turn of events that has no remedy? Does anyone ever say, "I just don't love my children anymore?" No. No one "falls out of love" with their children (though I suppose there are many jerks out there who don't care about them in the first place or just don't want the responsibility any longer), so why can't the same be said for love between married couples?

Well, it may have something to do with the fact that most people spend a lot of time sacrificing for and serving their children - something they often forget to do for their spouse. And you simply can't care for another human being day in and day out without that service nurturing your love for them.

Love may be a lot of things, but accidental is certainly not one of them.

1 comment:

Katie--the amazing one, not your other friend named Katie. She's amazing, too, but not the same Katie as me-- said...

You are right. I did enjoy this post. Especially this parenthetical statement: (I'm sorry, but no matter how many girls say, "we didn't mean to", if you take the time and effort to configure your body into the circus positions required for a backseat rendezvous, you meant to. You really meant to).