How serious is serious?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo I just got back from this wonderful road trip with my, uh, guyfriend. To visit his mom. In California.

I say this, and people give me this peculiar piercing look. Then they ask me, is it serious?  And I am flummoxed. I mean, what is serious? Liver cancer is serious. Babies are serious. Anything involving lawyers is serious. But love—how serious is that?

I just can’t sem to take serious seriously. Serious seems to imply some major sacrifice. But I have no money to lose; no career to change or forfeit. I’m too old for babies (to which i can finally, silently, add thank god). When I was 25 I was all too ready to throw myself into romantic fixation, but the truth is that now i know myself too well, and I like my own company too much, to sacrifice much of anything.

I suppose agreeing to share the rent can be serious, especially if the accommodation has only one bed. I’ve done that before, a couple of times—but it didn’t seem particularly serious then, and in restrospect, it wasn’t. It was mostly just convenient, and fun to play house for a while. I really thrive by having my own space. I’m not totally ruling out cohabitation as a concept, but splitting the rent doesn’t seem all that serious to me.

Maybe the seriousness implies legal entanglement—i.e, marriage. The funny thing is, I offered to marry Daniel even before we’d done the nasty. I proposed to him in a coffee shop. I explained that although I am opposed to marriage on principle, in his case, I would be willing to make an exception. My objection is that I am convinced that the state really has no place in the bedrooms of the nation, and whose business is it anyway, what parts of our bodies we may or may not put into each others bodies and how often? And why would anyone ever want to pay the government $100 for a licence to love someone (or $125 if you get it framed)? I think legal marriage is stupid. But I told Daniel that for him, I might be willing to throw down. Because, he is a lovely man, and it is a damn shame he was born American. And I think Canada would be all the better for having him in it. So I offered to bend my principle and offer my hand in marriage, if it might ease his legal entry into the country.

Daniel was a little taken aback by my proposal. He sputtered and said really?! I said, sure, if it would help. He gave me this look, this funny kind of shy and hopeful and miffed all at the same time look. But … he said … I would want it to mean something. There was something honest and grave in his voice. Something just a little bit serious.

Love is breath, it is buoyant. Love keeps me aloft. It keeps my head above water, and holds my feet to the ground. Love has levity, but also gravity. I guess it is the gravity of love that makes it serious. Serious, maybe. But not chronic. Or at least, not terminal.

<photo: Daniel’s mom’s very serious antique watering can collection>

3 Responses to “How serious is serious?”

  1. Tony Golding Says:

    Great blog, you certainly covered the territory. I happen to be in Sequim Washington home of a wonderful girl friend from over forty years ago who really loved me but unfortunately I couldn’t respond enough to offer her marriage , and eventually settled for a women who hadn’t the same commitment to the relationship. Whereas my friend , who is away with her husband but I met her son who runs a cycle shop here so I’ll be with her in spirit , we may even Skype or something tonight as I’m invited to be at her house . That was a long sentence, a bit like a bad relationship I guess. So I’m a bit like you, in as much I’ve settled for aloness, which isn’t the end of the world is it ?

  2. Linda LaForte Says:

    I’m having mixed feelings about this blog. Many thoughts at once: you are a strong, confident woman. . . you were honest about why you wanted to marry Daniel. . . but I get the feeling that he hopes for a declaration of genuine love also . . . marriage is soooo “legal”. . . it’s really just a contract that parents need to protect their children. . . my partner and I had a commitment ceremony 17 years ago and this is enough for us . . so I ask what’s the big deal? I really don’t get it. Kahil Gibran described a love relationship so eloquently. Wish I could remember exactly what he said! Bottom line, do whatever feels right for you.

  3. Linda LaForte Says:

    Something about being two people and one person at the same time.

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