What You Want Love To Feel Like

You want love to feel like it does in the movies. You want a montage of you falling in love with someone, laughing for no reason when they fall down in a bed of leaves at a park (Oh my god, fall leaves. Oh my god, you’re on the ground. Oh my god, I’m in love!). You want it set to a really beautiful “This is me falling in love, bitches!” song. Maybe that Moldy Peaches song they used in Juno? That made you cry a little bit. Other scenes of your falling in love montage would include your lover drinking hot chocolate and getting whipped cream on their nose. “OMG, I love it when whipped cream is on your face and you don’t know it. I’m gonna smear it on your face and we’ll laugh OUTRAGEOUSLY cause we’re in love, duh!” There’ll be another scene of you kissing each other good-bye and  giving meaningful glances as you walk away. Eating at a restaurant and having food in the teeth would be a good one too. “WHO, ME? FOOD IN TEETH? God, I love you…”

You want love to be mixed tapes, bike rides, playing your favorite album  together on some vintage record player in your room, making a fort out of pillows together, sweet text messages. Kissing on a fire escape, going on adventures together, traveling to foreign lands, taking Polaroids on the beach, reading the paper on a Sunday afternoon, and writing little notes back and forth.

This is love with style and no substance. This is a choreographed kind of love. I’ve found that the most loving moments are typically the ones that would never actually be in the movies. I’ve felt love when taking a shower with someone and talking about the most unromantic things ever, I’ve felt love when someone pops a zit on my back or when they get really angry at me because then I know they care. If they ever get mad enough to leave, that’s when I know they’ll stay.

Sometimes what you want love to feel like is actually the opposite of love. And sometimes you can get what you want. Sometimes the right song cues up with the right moment and your life will feel like a movie. Those moments are special and sweet. They allow us leave reality for awhile, but they won’t be the defining moment of a relationship. Because the song will end and real life will come flooding back and then you’re just two people again, smooching and popping blackheads.

I used to want my love to feel like a movie. I would go out of my way to create moments with someone, moments I knew would look good in a scrapbook one day. But then I discovered that love doesn’t really work that way. The reality is that listening to records with your significant other can actually be super boring. You’re better off taking him to a family dinner. There are more opportunities for love in the uncomfortable moments, the ones you didn’t plan. So turn off Belle & Sebastian, stop flying those kites in matching t-shirts and just hand me a Pepto Bismol and rub my stomach. I love you best that way anyway. TC mark

image – Garden State

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.


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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=612928768 Samie Rose

    I didn’t really dig this until the last two sentences, those were gold.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steven-Timberman/922794 Steven Timberman

    I had a nice long substantial comment, but it somehow got deleted. So instead I will just say that this is so eloquent and evocative, mushy without being sentimental. One of the best small slices of writing you’ve done – this one’s a keeper.

  • Chels

    I blame the movie industry as one of the primary reasons our vision of ‘what love is’ to be totally fucked.  

    Here are some movies that may have fucked it for you (from 2011 alone)

    No Strings Attached
    Crazy Stupid Love
    Just Go With It
    The Adjustment Bureau 
    Jane Eyre
    Water for Elephants
    Last Night
    Something Borrowed
    Friends With Benefits
    Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn

    • pup

      Jane Eyre is a novel from the 19th century.

      • Chels

        thank you, I’ve read it. It is also a movie that screened this year… which is what I was saying

  • thedivinemisst

    It’s like you live in my brain.

  • http://flipsideofamemory.tumblr.com flipside of a memory

    Beautifully written.

  • Dom

    it was so beatiful in the end i thought i’ll cry a bit but it was not cheesy at all so i didn’t. please don’t stop writing. ever

  • Dom

    it was so beatiful in the end i thought i’ll cry a bit but it was not cheesy at all so i didn’t. please don’t stop writing. ever

  • Love

    real love = talking about poop.

  • http://www.facebook.com/grc15r Gregory Costa

    You know something, folks, as ridiculous as this sounds, I would rather feel the sweet breath of my beautiful wife on the back of my neck as I sleep, than stuff dollar bills into some stranger’s G-string.

    • Yana

      Nice simpson’s reference!! :) 

  • http://twitter.com/tannnyaya Tanya Salyers

    Oh, Ryan O’Connell, you did it again.  Thanks for verbalizing my psyche. 

  • Anikolas Orodrica

    love it!

  • http://twitter.com/astoldbyparas Paras

    ” If they ever get mad enough to leave, that’s when I know they’ll stay.” …interesting thought

  • http://twitter.com/astoldbyparas Paras

    ” If they ever get mad enough to leave, that’s when I know they’ll stay.” …interesting thought

  • Rhee

    The first paragraph made me laugh out loud. You’re great Ryan.

  • Rhee

    The first paragraph made me laugh out loud. You’re great Ryan.

  • http://karyninny.com/ karyn

    i love your obsession with lover zit-popping. this is the only thing you talk about that is foreign to me. now i’m zit-curious.

  • http://checkpleaseee.blogspot.com Checkpleaseee.blogspot.com

    Totally agree with the zit popping thing. I LOVE when he lets me pop pimples or ingrown hairs… He gets that I’m a little weird and is ok with it. Accepting the quirky traits of your significant other is a big deal because it means you are free to be yourself. You don’t have to put on an act and pretend to be this perfect representation of the female species…you can just be wild, crazy, weird YOU!

  • Guesty

    No, I always get super creeped out when stuff like that happens.  If it feels like a scene in Garden State, I’ll bail.  

  • -heather-

    I will totally hand you a Pepto Bismol and rub your stomach.  This is so cute :)

  • Brenda

    This made my day.

  • kk

    I absolutely love your work, which is why I feel compelled to share this one thought: lately, your articles have felt a bit too formulaic. Half the article talks about the problem and promises to lead to an interesting/creative end, and the second half turns around and kind of preaches. And the advice in those second halves of your articles hasn’t felt that personal or novel. I’m sorry, I really don’t like to criticize, but I was so in love with your earlier articles (I constantly share them)  that I couldn’t help expressing this thought.

    • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

      quit hating on the literary pick-me-up’s! dammit summer’s ending and i need them!

  • A-M


    It’s not “Short articles by Literary Geniuses Catalog”. It’s Thought Catalog. People write down their thoughts and it’s beautiful. Ryan O’Connell has some beautiful thoughts, and who gives a fuck how he decides to write them down.

  • http://twitter.com/yanyun92 Lim Yan Yun

    I want love to feel like its home.

  • Guesta

    what if you didn’t go out of your way to make it feel like a movie, but it did anyway?

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