Learning to Sit Still
A look at how love is structured in society and alternative suggestions.
“Ball, milk, juice, mama, dada, more” and “mine” are all recognized as words primarily said by babies. Each word represents a specific want for a moment in time. None of these demands are regarded as selfish, or excessive when a child cannot form complete sentences. However, as we grow older we are taught to stifle our natural desires and possible needs. When we were young we had dreams of becoming James Bond and Wonder Woman, but as we grew we were convinced that a white picket fence with a couple of kids and a dog would be a better idea. For what purpose do we suppress those greater goals and replace them with routines? Mature love- stable, permanent, predictable, companionate but passionless, boring love (Kipnis 34). Oh the things we’ll do for love—even love we don’t have any fun being a part of. In this paper, I argue that love and boredom are not synonymous and do not need to go hand-in-hand by utilizing Laura Kipnis’ polemic, Against Love, and Audre Lorde’s essay, “Uses of The Erotic: The Erotic As Power,” to put forth renovated ideas of what love has the potential to be.
As love is structured in the couple form, there is a huge possibility of becoming bored. In fact, it is entirely implausible to not experience boredom in the couple form at some point in time. The importance we place on relationship stability as a society is to design marriage in such a way that people become criminally jaded by their relationships (Kipnis 191). In monogamous relationships people are supposed to fulfill all of their emotional and physical needs, but it is nearly impossible to find it all in one person. However, this is not the only way love can be structured.
How then could love be remade into something remotely enjoyable? Unfortunately, “we have been raised to fear the yes within ourselves” (Lorde 57), making it very difficult to relearn want, once so instinctual to us. Say we try adultery, but we are overcome with guilt? What about polygamy? Well our options are pretty slim. We’d be ecstatic about an open relationship, but not many people are into that… Why don’t more people think about love the same way we do? There are so many different types of love and we could never have two of the same, but for some reason our mates feel inferior when discourse of our cravings arise. “We social citizens have a constitutive lack of skill at changing things. Understandably—who gets any training at this?” (Kipnis 47).