Sougata done Carpet Bombed me with a question.
Brief Introductions are in order:
Sougata, (Whose blog is a must read, if you haven't by now..) poked his head into my comments section, wrote something cryptic, and then stopped short, leaving K~ and I with a bad case of questionus interruptus.
Puzzled, we asked him to elaborate.
So..You think of yourself as an intelligent person? Heheh..Your self-image will suffer a radical upheaval after a dose of the Bengali Brain Trust.
Oh, sure- When we first started trading comments, he kept the meter turned way down, and I thought of him as this nice, agreeable Indian person who spoke and wrote the King's english better than I. However, time has progressed, and he's been turning up the wattage on me. It's like running on a treadmill that picks up speed just as you start sucking wind.
There are times when I just sit back and shake my head... He's just that damn good.
So, without further ado, I give you his question, which was probably tapped out in a quick stream of consciousness.
[Here's the question that I threatened to ask in the comment to your previous post. Light a cigarette, this is gonna be long.]
Humans do a lot of strange things. One of the strangest among these, is this: From time to time in our lives, we walk up to a particular person, and for no apparently good reason, inform them that we love them.
I'm sure that most people take this practice as quite normal; but there is a certain thing about this whole deal that I find totally bewildering.
What puzzles me is not so much that we choose a particular person to be weak for -- there may be a host of physiological and psychological reasons for that; what puzzles me is the difficulty we face in finding an acceptable substitute for our Chosen (TM), should the need ever arise. And sometimes the difficulty is a lifelong one.
There are many ways to look at this, but from a purely demographic angle, it makes no sense to me. There are damn near six billion people on earth. From this seething mass of humanity, why do we tag a particular, exclusive person to be in love with? Why, pretty please, do we miss the sound of a particular voice? Why do we miss saying one particular name out loud?
That is the question.
Personally, if I were asked what I see in a particular person, I would maybe rattle off a list of adjectives. In a mildly reductionist sense, it is possible to describe a person by a set of attributes. Therefore, perfunctory logic would suggest that if we discovered a person with the same set of attributes as our Chosen, we have also found an acceptable substitute for him/her, true? Sounds plausible, but simple observation tells me that in a distressingly large number of cases, it ain't so. Why?
Let's talk a little about these attributes. We can describe a person a million ways, but let's distill all those descriptions into two sweeping categories.
First, there are the Broad Characteristics. Things like intelligence, integrity, physical beauty, family values, social values. I call them broad, because it would seem that these would carry a lot of weight in the evaluation of a person.
And then there are the Little Things. Like how she used to turn and hold her head a little to the side when she was paying attention. Like how her eyes used to first flash and then narrow when she was mad. Like how her lips used to purse into a thin but delicious line when she was merely annoyed.
Oh you know, stuff like that. Unimportant, minor stuff.
... An exquisite, delightful, thin line.
Now here's something that is really mysterious. Let us say that I set out to find a substitute for my Chosen. I could, if I really really tried, meet perhaps a couple hundred women over my lifetime through the regular process of social networking. I don't think this is an exaggerated number in today's connected world. And as noted earlier, I will still find it very difficult to find a substitute. But why the heck is this the case? I find it very hard to believe that it is impossible to find -- among several hundred persons -- a person with a set of Broad Characteristics that is the same or better than our Chosen. Is it so very difficult to find someone whose intelligence, beauty and integrity match or exceed those of our Chosen? I don't think so.
[Note that I am making the rash assumption here that most folks' Chosen ones are not a cross between Einstein, Zeta-Jones and Lincoln. That WOULD be difficult to match.]
So what are we saying here? That it is not the broad characteristics that we seek when we seek to find a substitute? That we are, horror of horrors, shallow? That Love itself is shallow? Because it always, always, seeks those Little Things? Those Little Things which are impossible to find duplicates of. Is this why we cannot find her?
[P.S. I ask this question of you -- Rob and ~K and whoever else indulgent enough to read this -- only after asking it of myself. And I don't have the answer. So this is not an indirect sermon or hidden message of some sort. Far from it. Please let that be known and understood. And quite frankly, it is a pointless question. A pointless or content-free question is a question that when you have an answer to, you are no better off or enlightened than you were before. This question satisfies that classic definition quite nicely ;-)]
Well, let's see here. I've loaded Joe Ely in the background, because nothing says 'existential' like Texas Honky Tonk...
(I'll play "Bob Hope" to Sougata's "Einstein".)
To condense Sougata's flawless prose into idiotese so that I can wrap my brain around it-
His question appears to boil down to this: Why, oh, why- Do we pine for a certain individual? When this person is no longer suitable or available for a variety of reasons, what do we look for in our next emotional adventure? Are we merely looking for an emotional placebo of sorts ever after? Are the inevitable comparisons fair, and do we actively seek a clone or at the very least- A reasonable facsimile?
Based on my extensive research in the field, I can only offer these observations, and- keep in mind- They only apply to me.
I've always chosen my objet d'affection for various reasons- This is due, in large part, to my mental/emotional state at the time. One should also keep in mind that it's cumulative starting from your first "Real Relationship". You are starting to form ideas in your head about what is attractive, what makes you feel funny down in your tummy, and how you handle all the things that putting your eggs in someone else's basket can bring.
There were women that on paper- Were all but perfect. Smart, cute, willing to dote on me endlessly. Needless to say, they never went anywhere, because- Where's the challenge in that?
It would appear that the ones that affect us deeply are the ones that challenge us- Not just emotionally or mentally, our standing in society as we perceive it. What about the woman that is a little out of our league? Your mental state, or self-image comes in to play. Eventually, the novelty wears off and you move in to another territory, taking with you some of the likes and dislike accumulated from your fling with the debutante.
Now, let's say you fall for the rough-around-the-edges, sassy type- The sex is better, but on your feet, you can't get along to save your lives.
What have we learned?
So far, we know that we like a challenge, wether that be socially, or in the day to day interaction, the struggle for control that happens in every relationship.
I think Sougata is wondering why one person works their way into our hearts, creating a standard that we use to measure all others against.
There have been those in my life. There was a woman that I had fallen hopelessly for, but I was unwilling to yield to certain conditions that she demanded be met. Later, after both of us had acquired a few dents in our armor, we were able to date briefly. I say briefly, because the idea of her had been replaced by another, who had made the biggest impression on me to date. (See what I mean by "cumulative"?)
I think everybody has that someone. The memories that float up while you're driving, or that gut-feeling you get when you see them even after time has passed. If you're lucky, you deal with it as a passing of an era, an event whose time has passed. If you're not, you live in the shadow of that relationship. You try to fit others into that ideal, like trying to screw new bulbs into a lamp whose switch is broken, saying to yourself- "This time it'll work".
It never does.
In essence, a little wistfulness is okay- Fun, even.
If you find all others pale and tepid by comparison- Even if you have vetted them for all of the aforementioned charactersitics as defined by Sougata- You have to come to terms with what it is that pushed all your buttons.
If you're like me- Usually it means that you have some baggage to cut loose.
I had felt this way about one individual who tore me apart. I allowed this person in and thought my life was going to change for the better, as it turned out, it was not. I think these feelings are mostly chemical, though we mistakenly think them to be "True Love". I have a hard time buying into the LOVE thing. Only knowing it is to exist as it is in The Bible. Having had my fair share of heart ache, I refuse to go through all that again. ~Commending Rob for the effort~ This feeling in my opinion will now be viewed as something to run from. It is a feeling of doom, the "feeling" to warn you of the total miss match you two are for each other.
Remember that old song "Hurts so good"......yeah not for me.
K, never-ever give up on love. Just find the right person to share your love. You have a lot to give.
I think you are perhaps placing too much emphasis upon the extent to which we allow that comparison to affect our current relationships, or lack thereof.
In my case? If I went completely the opposite direction, I couldn't do much worse than if I sought out another one like I had prior.
All I have is a deep and abiding sense of.. "I never, ever want to do that again".
What does this mean? It means I will do my utmost to be selective..
I can afford to be...
I have no biological clock, I am learning the fine art of being content with myself. I'll be damned if I torture myself with my own dysfunction, if can do anything at all about it.
Whatever it takes not to repeat myself, I will do.
Praise is nice, but unfortunately it sets expectations. Do not send me up a road I cannot return from :-)
For the record, your posts are extremely interesting. In e-commerce circles, they talk about the "stickiness" of a web site, i.e. how many people return to the web site a certain number of times. Your web site is, among other things, sticky.
[Only those with their minds firmly in the gutter will be snickering at this point.]