It will come as a surprise to exactly no one that I regularly exchange “I love yous” with the Mystery Man and his Family, none of whom I’ve seen in person. At first I wondered if maybe this wasn’t going a little overboard, but as a reader and a writer I’m quite used to adoring people I’ve never physically met. The stakes are a little higher, but it feels natural nonetheless.
Back when my best friend Angel Face and I were almost a thing for five seconds, he admitted to feeling overwhelmed at the amount of affection I sent (Those who balk at “Call Me Maybe” may be glad you missed my Ke$ha-ful “Your Love is My Drug” phase…) but as friends we talk like that all the time. Getting to say it romantically to a guy, though, is new, and every time I read it or say it, it’s like a little more of me gets repaired, like I’m a little closer to getting to express my true self.
In the movies, (and in last week’s New Girl episode) the trope is that the “I love you” should be withheld until the big reveal, some big dramatic moment, but that isn’t how it feels to me at all. I love easily, instantly, and thoroughly, and that’s always made me feel a little bit out of sync. But what if there’s actually a place in the world for people who see life that way, for whom love is like breathing, like weather?
“I love you” is both momentous and ordinary. Or COURSE I love you, why wouldn’t I? My time on this planet is limited and I’m choosing to spend some of it with you. It’s obvious, it’s easy, it’s who I am. If I wasn’t loving everyone wholeheartedly, my job would eat me alive, divorce would have kicked my ass, and nothing would ever get done. All of it is running on love, all of the time.
It wasn’t until that really terrible casual sex with a random OKC guy right after Christmas that I realized I hadn’t really been having any casual sex these past two years. In some way, I’ve loved every person I played with, and every person whose person I’ve played with. I loved Cute Master and Pretty Slave from the moment they walked into that Kinky Karaoke party glowing with good sex (and probably good weed.) I loved the Cutest Boy at the Party as soon as he sat down and started chatting me out of my party tears. I loved Old-Timey Guy from the moment he smacked my behind with that godawful hurty ceramic star. (As a side note, I think it’s the romance that attracted me to BDSM in the first place—all the outfits, special names, and secret whispers, how lucky are we that that’s real to us?) I loved the Steampunks from the moment I sat down at their table, would have done absolutely anything for them. Fireguy’s paternal gaze, The Man’s first bus stop kiss, the rope-compersion I felt for the Boss of Me and Her Boy before I even met them—all of it, love.
Most of those folks wouldn’t say they’re in it for love, or they had enough love already when I came along, and that’s easier to accept now that I can just go ahead and admit to loving them. I did, and I always will, no matter how the story ended.
And the ones who’ll take the “I love yous” and give them back, too? You’re changing the way I see the world, the way I see my place in it. You’re helping me to settle into my real self and guess what? I love you for it.