Recently, I wrote about the five best places to say “I Love You.” In that essay, I expressed a fear that I would blurt out the big three words in a venue that was either inappropriate, unpleasant or both. I hoped that when I said it to my current girlfriend, it would be under romantic circumstances.
I am here to tell you that I failed miserably. After two months of dating, I told my girlfriend that I loved her after around six hours of drinking at a house party in West Los Angeles. At the precise moment that I admitted my deep feelings for her, we were watching the Angela Bassett/Lawrence Fishburne feature film entitled What’s Love Got to Do With It? in her bedroom.
For those who are not aware of the plot of the movie, Angela Bassett portrays pop superstar Tina Turner. Tina Turner, of course, sang such classic hits as “Simply the Best,” “Private Dancer” and “We Don’t Need Another Hero (Thunderdome).” Early in her career, she sang in a duo with her then husband, Ike. Ike beat Tina mercilessly, and the film version of her life tells the story of Tina’s struggle to overcome the abusive husband/ Svengali that was ruining her life and career.
There are a few less romantic movies to watch with your girlfriend. Schindler’s List and Shoah come to mind off the top of my head. Pretty much any Holocaust movie is the complete opposite of romantic. What’s Love Got to Do With it? does happen to be explicitly about spousal abuse. As such, it exists as a particularly unsavory film to experience while expressing undying affection for a mate.
Despite this, there are a few particular reasons why I haven’t been dumped after being so oblivious.
I cook for her. I don’t make a lot of different meals. I can do omelets, burritos, lasagna, various and sundry sandwiches, and something that resembles pizza. If prodded enough, I might even learn to make a dish that’s healthy. Cooking anything, even some sort of ready-made Trader Joe’s meal that comes in a plastic bag, requires effort and time. I do my best to make sure my girlfriend knows that I will make time for her.
I can admit when I’m wrong. I have a college education from a decent school, but most definitely don’t know everything. I don’t know the most ideal way to mop a floor. Apparently, you want to start from the front of the room and work backwards. I don’t really have a major grasp on ironing khakis efficiently. I don’t always use the word “imply” properly. I have a significant other so that I can learn how to better myself. If I didn’t listen to her, I’d still be brushing my teeth left-to-right rather than up-and-down.
I said “I love you “ in the first place. It’s difficult to get any man to say the magic words, let alone actually mean it. There is a legitimate disconnect between the intrinsic human need for intimacy and the mostly male desire to remain unencumbered. There’s a fear in a lot of people that saying anything sincere alludes to a weakness in character, or worse, ties a person down before they are ready. I know that I’m ready and I want my girlfriend to understand that. I refuse to pretend otherwise. I am beyond the point in my life where I think I can or want to function independent of other people. On the contrary, I understand that life is cold, sad and dire inside a vacuum. She makes me feel as though I am not alone in a world that so often appears hollow. I’d never hold back how I really feel, because not expressing a feeling is like lying to yourself.
I mean it. Regardless of if you are drunk, high, sleepy, disoriented or under the influence of physical coercion, if you are sincere in what you are saying, nothing else matters. The morning following my first utterance of the “Big Three,” I pulled my girlfriend close to me and simply whispered, “I’m serious.” What I’ve learned is that saying something is not nearly as important as living something. I hope that as time goes on, she sees me acting on the things that I tell her. We may not have said “I love you” under a rainbow in front of the Eiffel Tower, but the bond we’ve created will last long after I’ve sobered up and the movie ends.
In the question of “What’s love got to do with it?” the answer is “everything.”