It’s not about the overwhelming numbers of available women and men staring back at you from your computer screen.

It’s not about a person’s details or profile pictures which are not always, and almost never, representative of whom that person really is or what they are looking for.

It’s not about waiting for someone to message you or text you; or call you…just to let you know that they were thinking about you. You know that they were definitely thinking about someone, somewhere, somehow because you saw them online only moments earlier but not with you. Definitely not with you.

And it’s not about, almost certainly not, never a doubt in my mind, not for a million years about love.

“But he’s also looking for love,” my girlfriend’s man says to me, trying to encourage me to let something happen between me and this man standing before me, looking at me with that look in his eyes I have seen oh too many times before. He thinks he is looking for what he mistakenly calls love, and which I know only too well is lust disguised as a version of what was once known and referred to as love.

And I walk away knowing that there was no reason for me to stay.

And while we’re on the topic of lust, I wonder if there is anyone out there who in their right minds truly wants to have a going nowhere relationship, that might burgeon into going somewhere, even if it’s only to the convenient store for a midnight snack, or maybe just for a moment, that moment, that one night that is thinly disguised as what forever should have been. I sincerely doubt it but it happens all around me and I can’t for the hell of it figure out why.

You see, there is a great unrest amongst people because even when they are interacting with one person, their inbox rings (ring) and another message comes in and they become distracted and wonder if this person could be THE ONE. And as the original object of their attention begins to wonder why the response time has slowed down and why it takes two minutes to answer the question, “What do you do for a living?” they lose hope (ring) and eventually give up.

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And even if you are not in front of your computer or phone, listening to the constant ringing and influx of what might be that something or someone better than what you have in your lap at the moment (ring), there is still that constant glancing over ones shoulder looking for what we think we truly deserve, because everyone knows that each one of us is oh so special. After all, Barney told us so.

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I watch that guy kissing her because there has always been something mesmerizing about a kiss that makes me stare shamelessly. This kiss is different though because even while he is kissing her, I notice that he is looking over his shoulder at someone else, and that someone else is looking straight back at him. No shame or remorse in her eyes because she is ready to make a move when the opportunity presents itself.

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The assembly line of relationship possibilities keeps flowing and if you pause for a moment, (ring) you will miss it, whatever “it” may be. And you begin to wonder if you will ever be able to take a chocolate bar off the conveyor belt and be at peace with what you have, savoring the sweetness of what you are holding in your hand, trying hard not to look at the constant flow of what you could have had and what seems to be the exact same chocolate bar over, and over and over again.

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So where is love in this whole hubbub of messaging, lust and relationship window shopping?

It is nowhere to be found.

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Until one day you do find love, and you know now for sure that you have never felt like this before. It is different than that lone chocolate bar moving across the conveyor belt. It is the all-encompassing feeling of stripping off all of your clothes and jumping naked into the entire warm and creamy vat of chocolate, absorbing it as you feel the warmth encompassing your entire being.

You see it in his eyes.

And you know that he loves you, not because of how you make him feel when he is with you but because of how he feels when he sees that you are happy. You don’t have to make excuses for your idiosyncrasies (ring) or your crazies because it’s those crazies that make him love you so. You don’t try to hide how (ring) you look in the morning or that bulge that you usually conceal with a tuck or a fluff before leaving the house.

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And you each look at each other every day and wonder how you merited to love each other so wholeheartedly.

And you know that what you once made an effort to achieve now comes so easily without pretending. But nothing is simple or easy like it is in the fairy tales. Damn you fairy tales because in the real world, even if he whisks you away to his castle in the clouds, you can’t really stay for very long because you have kids and a visitation agreement and work and a family who won’t come to visit and so on and so forth.

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And one thing you figured out for yourself is that love is not as disposable as life seems to be. And you look around you and wish that someone had taught you useful things about life other than the Pythagorean theorem, during all of those years of sitting in school such as how to change a flat tire, what spoiled milks smells like, how to keep a budget and what to do when you fall in love.

So maybe the fairy tales were onto something (ring) as I look around me wondering if one of the only ways to love and be happy is to be hidden away in that castle in the clouds (ring). And the thing is that once you have visited the castle in the clouds, it is close to impossible to go back to the village on the ground and to feel the same, to be the same person and to rejoin the life you once knew with the same familiar faces you still love who are waiting for you there.

And so I keep wondering and searching and asking: doesn’t anyone know how to love anymore? (ring)