Tuesday, June 17, 2008

“What all the ads and all the whoreoscopes seemed to imply was that if only you were narcissistic enough, if only you took proper care of your smells, your hair, your boobs, your eyelashes, your armpits . . .you would meet a beautiful, powerful, potent, and rich man who would satisfy every longing . . .make your heart skip a beat (or stand still), make you misty, and fly you to the moon (preferably on gossamer wings), where you would live totally satisfied forever.

And the crazy part of it was that even if you were clever, even if you spent your adolescence reading John Donne and Shaw, even if you studied history or zoology or physics and hoped to spend your life pursuing some difficult and challenging career – you still had a mind full of all the soupy longings that every high-school girl was awash in."

Fear of Flying – Erica Jong

The world my daughters are growing up in is full of princess stories, Barbie Dolls and dreams of future romance – and they don’t even know what romance is. They are however being taught that love is important and romantic love a dream to wish for. This is everywhere –not just in toys and movies but on the covers of magazines on the grocery shelves, in the newspaper, on bus ads, even watching mommy and daddy kiss and flirt while making dinner.

What is this fascination with love? Above it feels like a marketing ploy designed to make us desire to spend money changing ourselves but what instinct are we following that makes the idea of love so powerful? Why do people crave love, acceptance and connection? It isn’t always easy and it doesn’t always work out but we are undeniably attracted to the idea of romance.

The quote at the top was written in 1973. Has the world changed at all in all these years?


Anonymous said...

Great reading, thanks!

Anonymous said...

If you are a believer in evolution and natural selection this makes total sense. The end goal is best chance survival of a species, your species. It's all about reproduction, and selecting the best mate.

Miss said...

That implies that looks signify the merit of the mate. That might work with peacocks but I'm not sure about humans.

Anonymous said...

peacocks? peacock's intelligence is somewhat smaller than the human, the latter being able to look for other "attractive" features other than the "fantail of colors".

Anonymous said...

To say that you do not choose your mates based on their outward appearance is a naive statement. Leads me to believe that you're not speaking the truth.

Miss said...

Re-read what I said. I didn't say looks were not a factor when I chose my mate - I do not think looks alone signify the merit of the mate. As you said, as humans we can rely on other factors as well. I feel as if you are trying to argue with me when in fact we are in agreement. Perhaps I am only naive because I believe people can discuss issues without turning it into an argument (for example calling me naive and saying I do not speak the truth)?

Steely Dan said...

Missy, I feel your pain on these comments but loved the post. I don't know if my answer is any better than those already given but it strikes me that "evolution" or "natural selection" is too big an answer for the question. It perhaps inputs too much stuff where a simpler explanation would be sufficient. I would say we instinctually seek love. Instinct could perhaps be explained by evolution or have been honed into natural selection.

But there might be another answer as well. (Or it could be both.)

We might also be creatures who are designed for loving. We might be seeking out romance and love to fulfill our purpose. Our attempts to love could be as inevitable as a a clock's attempts to reflect what time it is. We might do it poorly or have love wrong if things have gummed up the works. But we may be more suited to love or try to love than any other activity. Just like a watch is suited to tell time, no matter if the gears are busted or it is set wrong.

Anyway, even if we get love wrong, I love that about us, that we are fascinated with love.

sach said...

Hi, nice blog. Just came across it while googling an erica jong quotation. I wrote something on a similar vein based on the same quotation. Do leave your comments.