Love is a many splintered thing

People always say that love is an unfathomable mystery no mortal can fully understand. But they’re wrong. Love is like a tapeworm. It’s invasive, sucks the life out of you, makes you take drugs, makes you walk funny, gives you a fever, and causes you to spend a lot of time in the bathroom crying.

Of course, there’s also much to be said in favor of love. And Shakespeare, as everyone knows, said most of it. Who can forget the Bard’s inspiring words:

Forsooth, mine own blinded love-seared crimson muscle-pump! Be still, internal idiot! Blast thee for thine heavenly, thrice-cursed flannigenans, ‘ere by my failieth gruen beaierurnaut yon glibbet! Dringlie-yay, dringlie-yay! Mort!

But that’s Shakespeare. He was a genius. The rest of us just have to struggle along as best we can.

Speaking of sex. The relationship between love and sex is very confusing. It is for men, anyway. Not so much for women. Women are pretty clear on the idea that love and sex are—or at least certainly should be—inextricably bound. But men are … well, men. Which means they’re inclined to be rude. In fact, asking a man to stop being rude about sex is like asking a bear to stop being hairy about its body. It’s just not in the cards. To men, sex is rude. You take the rudeness out of sex, and men start shrugging and wondering what’s on TV.

So, that’s a problem.

If anyone out there knows the solution to this problem—if anyone can or has figured out how to make men and women think of sex in the same way—please email that answer to me. Thank you.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

One thing I’ve learned in my many years of falling just short of being correct about pretty much anything having to do with romance, sex, or love, is that women do not think sex is as funny as men do. Men see sex as a never-ending source of first-rate yuks. There’s so precious little about sex that isn’t funny, is why. Unless you’re a woman. Then you probably don’t find sex all that hilarious. At least not in a good way. A woman laughing during sex is rarely, if ever, a thing to be desired. It usually means that she’s either spontaneously reacting to the existential irony of her current mortification, or she’s got one eye on a Will Ferrell movie. Either way, once a woman bursts out laughing during sex, it’s time for her lover to excuse himself, leave, and not come back until he’s an enlightened yogi who no longer cares if his sexual technique inspire hilarity in his partners.

Of course, it’s completely understandable why so many women take sex and romance a lot more seriously than men. After all, a man who has just had sex is very often compelled to eat a ham sandwich and watch television. On the other hand, a woman who has just had sex is very often compelled to have a baby. And while it certainly can be a drag getting mustard on the TV remote, having a baby is much messier. So a woman has to be careful. She can’t afford to sleep with a man who won’t take seriously his responsibility to stick around afterwards and feed her ham sandwiches.

And men, wanting to do the right thing, often do stick around for years and years following the Big Bond, transferring their genetic propensity for wandering into incessantly switching TV channels, being chronically incapable of making up their minds, throwing inexplicable temper tantrums, and dying four years earlier than women from the constant stress of having to hide their porn.

But back to the timeless allure of romance.

Ah, romance. If there’s one thing lovers everywhere agree on, it’s that nothing says romance like a big bouquet of flowers that stays fresh for about three days before it starts attracting gnats and smelling like death.

Unless you first sprinkle in some of that Prolong-A-Stalk powder that comes strapped to the stalks of new flowers. Then you can get about a whole week of not-dead-seeming flowers.

Of course, then you have to stand there stirring water in a vase, which is like eating a cupcake with chopsticks, or trying to conduct a philharmonic symphony with a banana. I dunno.

My poor wife. We’ve been married for thirty years now now, and not a day goes by that I don’t count that as an extremely valid reason to take pity on her.

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About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. John is a pastor ordained by The Progressive Christian Alliance. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. And don't forget to sign up for his mucho awesome monthly newsletter.

  • Paula A Ferris via Facebook

    This answers that age old question. And makes us rethink drinking from that babbling brook.

  • Andrea Claassen via Facebook

    I apologize in advance for stealing the last line of this and passing it off as my own when my anniversary rolls around.

  • Anne

    Put a splash of bleach in the water/vase before you put in the flowers. You be amazed at how much longer they last.

  • http://www.BuzzDixon.com buzz

    If you can PhotoShop a papal mitre on the bear it would be perfect.

  • LSS

    I liked the Fakespear. Surprised more people don’t try that. It sounds kinda like when my husband (who is bilingual but not including French) speaks French.

  • ~ Sil in Corea

    Oh, John! I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time. Here I thought you’d be defining “caritas,” “philos,” “agape” and “eros” for us all. (That was the big discussion on Valentine’s Day in my advanced English class, i.e. how English has not enough words for Love.) :-D

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Oh, right, Sil: the title of the piece WOULD look like that. I should really someday write THAT piece. Well, you know. Or not.

  • http://kingmaalbert@hotmail.com Al

    Ah, Valentine’s Day! It really is the most romantic of all the commercially-inspired holidays.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      HAR!

  • Jill

    I am SO roping in my commentary about sex right now, mostly because this is often ‘a family show’, and I usually say other, softer, gentler things out here.

    I will just say for now that some of us women… like rude sex. And think it’s pretty damn hilarious too. That’s all I’m saying.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      And I know you know I know. (Well, I don’t know you know I know that. But … you know. I’m sane. Plus 55.)

      • Jill

        And I know that you know that I know you know. That’s why I think you’re wonderful… ;)

        • mike moore

          Be really careful with “roping” … on more than a few occasions, I’ve found it cuts off the circulation in my hands.

          • Jill

            I knew I could count on you–always helpful, with the Dear Abby advice!

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

            I see. So on the “wild side” they apparently don’t sell waxed rope. Something to bear in mind.

          • Jill

            And this is what I thought men’s neckties were for.

          • mike moore

            like Jill, I thought this was a family blog … but I can see I’m working with a woefully under-educated crowd here, so here are some pointers that should help you out … or so I’ve heard

            1) waxed rope doesn’t help if it’s still tied too tight.

            2) jute or hemp rope is too scratchy and leaves rope burns.

            3) nylon rope is, well …. nylon. (equivalent to wearing a polyester leisure suit)

            4) NO duct tape. I can’t stress this enough. If you want your hair painfully ripped out by its roots, go to a salon and spend $150 on a professional.

            5) hand cuffs chafe and scratch the wood posts of your 18th C. Chippendale bed.

            6) silk rope is for girls.

            7) gay men spend too much on their neckties and don’t want them wrinkled.

            Which leaves you with cotton rope. Somehow, no matter the topic, it always comes back to natural fibers.

          • Jill

            Excellent summary! I will only add that the neckties of most straight men I’ve ever dated (if said man actually owned one) were ONLY useful for ‘getting wrinkled’.

            There was only ever one man with amazing neck wear, and he of course wasn’t straight. (and now, we circle right back to the title of this blog post…)

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

            Ah. It’s so cute when gay people think they understand kink.

            Hey:

            Family blog!

          • mike moore

            jeez, you didn’t have to get all Big-Font on my ass … you realize, of course, this does mean I’m now scrapping my “S&M, It’s Not Just for Saints & Martyrs Anymore” column.

  • mike moore

    Most importantly, Mr. Shore … I cannot un-read “Love is like a tapeworm” … thanks, buddy.

    And in response to your column as a whole … if the straight sex thing is getting you down, take a walk a wild side, dude. At least you won’t get in trouble for shagging another woman.

    (and, for the record … laughing sex is Awesome. Clown sex, on the other hand, is SUPER CREEPY.)

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Really? You’re talking about the “wild side”? Do you forget I’ve seen your dining room?

      • mike moore

        remember, a gay man’s home is like his clothes … you never know what kind of inked and pierced wildness you’ll find under his Tom Ford suit & shoes.

  • Don Rappe

    All I know about this subject for sure is that if I put the powder in the vase first and then run the water full force, I don’t have to stir it. I do have very good water pressure.

    • Don Rappe

      and I wish i could get away from that moment of thinking I see “many sphinctered” in the title.


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