On the truth of romance

One of my favorite romantic comedies is The Mirror Has Two Faces. It’s about Rose, a nerdy English lit professor, who marries Greg, an equally nerdy math professor on the agreement that their relationship will be purely platonic, and then hijinks ensue. It’s an interesting, adorable movie, and I highly recommend it if only because Barbra Streisand and Jeff Bridges act their asses off, but one part of it has always stuck in my memory: Rose’s lecture on the nature of love and romance. It speaks to me as an aspiring writer, and I want to share a little of it here with you.

Experts, scholars and my Aunt Esther are united in one belief: True love has spiritual dimensions, while romantic love is a lie. A myth. A soulless manipulation. And speaking of manipulation, it’s like going to the movies and seeing the lovers kiss… The music swells, and we buy it, right? So when my date kisses me, and I don’t hear strings, I dump him.

The question is, why do we buy it? Because, myth or manipulation, we all want to fall in love. That experience makes us feel completely alive. Our everyday reality is shattered, and we are flung into the heavens. It may only last a moment, an hour, but that doesn’t diminish its value. We’re left with memories we treasure for the rest of our lives.

I read, ”When we fall in love, we hear Puccini in our heads.” I love that. His music expresses our need for passion and romantic love. We listen to La Bóheme or Turandot, or read Wuthering Heights, or watch Casablanca, and a little of that love lives in us too. So the final question is: Why do people want to fall in love, when it can have such a short run and be so painful?


I think it’s because, as some of you may already know… While it does last, it feels fucking great.

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