Why Love is Like a Tapeworm

Why Love is Like a Tapeworm June 28, 2010
He’s ready to get back in the game.

People always say that love is an unfathomable mystery no mortal can fully understand. I, on the other hand, think love is like a tapeworm. It’s invasive, sucks the life out of you, makes you take drugs, makes you walk funny, and causes you to spend a lot of time alone 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. When it comes to love, sex can get very confusing. Especially for men. For women, there’s nothing at all confusing about the proper relationship between love and sex. They believe love and sex are — or at least certainly should be — inextricably wed. But men are … well men. Which means they’re inclined to be … 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 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 yukkels. 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 she bursts out laughing, it’s time for her lover to excuse himself, leave, and not come back until he’s spent fourteen years becoming an enlightened swami who no longer cares if his sexual techniques inspire hilarity in his partner.

Of course, it’s completely understandable why 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 TV. On the other hand, a woman who has just had sex is very often compelled to nine months later have a baby. And while it certainly can be difficult to get the perfect amount of mustard on a ham sandwich, the two really don’t compare in overall hassle. So a woman has to be careful. She can’t afford to sleep with a man who won’t take seriously his responsibility to afterward stay and feed her ham sandwiches.

And men, wanting, after all, to do the right thing, do stick around, sublimating their apparently genetic propensity for wandering by incessantly switching TV channels, being chronically incapable of making up their minds, and dying four years earlier than women from the constant stress of having to hide their porn. (Unless they’re Christian, of course. A Christian man wouldn’t know a porno movie from a nature documentary. Then again, who would these days, the way they make those things. But that’s really a whole other discussion.)

Anyway, back to the timeless allure of romance.

Ah, romance. If there’s one thing upon which we can all agree, 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 worse than death.

Unless you put in the vase that white Prolong-A-Stalk stuff that comes with 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 … putting two different shoes on, or … something.

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



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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • OK, I'll bite. "wandering": Does this explain the insistence of Biblical marriage for faithfulness between one man and any number of women?

  • MEL

    Um, I believe your quote isn't Shakespeare. I'm pretty sure it's Burns.

  • amelia

    I thoroughly enjoy Song of Solomon. Repeatedly. Now, I imagine, due to the conservative nature of your tight little blog, Mr. Shore, we really can not elaborate on Love in terms of Sex here. However, at the risk of being censured/censored: I have read TDJakes' stating that making love is a form of worship; meaning that is sacred. Shhhh, he's a man!

  • Okay, well, to repeat myself: in three years, I've blocked from my blog MAYBE 12 people. That's three people a YEAR. And it's probably only been eight people. So stop already about how ready I am to do that.

    And "due to the conservative nature of your tight little blog here"? WTF is that?

  • amelia

    Well, you mentioned that about a third of your readers are conservative christians. Sorry for being too frolicsome with the phraseology.

  • He wouldn't be the only man to equate sex with worship. That has been part of religious movements for generations. The Hindu are an example, and several ancient religions had sex as part of temple worship. Which maybe why women invented the counter religion activity of headache.

    And yep, I just went into snarky mode.

  • Matthew Tweedell

    I think amelia was joking.

    I also think men may distinguish making love and having sex to a greater extent generally than women. The principle appeal of porn, for instance, is in watching people having sex, not making love. Now there's nothing holy or spiritual about having sex—as John put, from the spiritual point of view, it's no different from a nature documentary really—but making love is what is descriped as an act of worship. For God is love (1 Jn 4:8): Deus Caritas Est—in an encyclical under this title, the pope wrote: "[E]ros and agape… can never be completely separated. The more the two, in their different aspects, find a proper unity in the one reality of love, the more the true nature of love in general is realized."

    Ms. Galloway is right: It must of been woman who turned matters of religion into the big headache that they are today! (Thank you for giving me something else to blame woman for; my supply of chauvanism was starting to run low.)

    This article is eerily topical for my life today, in more ways than one (and no—thank God—tapeworm is *not* one of them).

  • Okay, everybody who wants Matthew Tweedell to tell us about his sex life, say "Aye!"

  • If it's Shakespeare (which it isn't) he was having one of his rare off-days. If it's Burns – he wasn't just off, he'd lost all ability to spell and write in the Scots dialect.

  • amelia

    Me too, Matt. I've been single for two years and I am really trying to 'Choose God's Best'- a book I've read on how christian women should wait for the christian men God created for them. So, here I am. Waiting. Yawn. Yep, still waiting, but I also think it'll be way worth it. 🙂

  • amelia

    John, you're so damned funny. lol 🙂

  • Looks like you've got the go-ahead to elaborate on Love in terms of Sex Amie. This may tempt me to procrastinate hurricane preparation.

  • christina

    I had a whole comment prepared, guaranteed to make one wipe off the tears of laughter, but it was lost somewhere between the cynicism of a 30+ christian, single woman, and the realization that my lover comes wrapped in a duracell package, so amelie, welcome to my world. The cynic in me wants to say we will not find the love of our lives before the chin hairs protrude, but the romantic in me says, give it time…

    15 years of crazy boyfriends, and ham sandwitches will do that to you too! Just saying…

  • Been married 45 years and think I'm starting to get the hang of it. Or more likely, my wife is. I think she started trying to keep me in my place about 45 years ago.

  • nelma e.

    Just to chime in, I know a few Born-Agains who have not had sex in over a decade. It's been about 12 years for on , and over 14 years for the other. FOURTEEN YEARS. 14 years. One of them has not even kissed anyone in 14 years. No dates. No temptation. No sex. Believe it or not. I think they are categorized as "born again virgins"….which is not technically true.

  • meant to say 25 years ago. damned keyboard. no wonder they only taught this to girls.

  • amelia

    The most important action you can take before Hurricane Alex arrives is take the time to be prepared and cover all your bases. Don’t assume that Hurricane Alex will make landfall elsewhere. What can you do in advance? You can create a plan with your family and have decisions made before this hurricane becomes a problem. You can create your own “Hurricane Alex Survival Kit” (especially if you are “riding it out”).

    Got that, Don? COVER all your bases (especially if you are "riding it out"). ~ http://www.HurricanePreparednessCenter.com

  • Appalachiana

    Christian, shmishtian — who cares what the guy calls his religion, when it comes to romance, find someone you like and care for, who makes you laugh, who is kind, and who at least can and will heat a can of soup for you when your sick. As for me, I aim to see if it's true that Antonio Banderas heats one mean chicken gumbo in that Zorro suit.

  • amelia

    Hey, no cynicism on my end. I said it would be "way worth it." 🙂

  • Appalachiana

    And I know several celibate atheists. I think they are categorized as "horny"….which is definitely true.

  • amelia

    Well, as mentioned earlier, it's been two years for me; no dates, kisses, etc. And I really question the "no temptation" especially after 14 years of celibacy.

  • Holy cow! I turn my back on you people for twenty minutes, and what do I come back to? Women fantasizing about Antonio Banderas cooking chicken, mussel porn, kinky fish voyeurs, born again virgins, horny atheists, battery-operated … stuff, and who knows what all else?

    What am I going to DO with you people? And why am I afraid to even ASK that?

  • Appalachiana

    After that much time, some men may be sense you would be so overly receptive to advances and passionately responsive that you would feast upon them in the aftermath of lovemaking instead of just smoking a cigarette. Worry not, that mate who will test the strands of your web is likely out there, and there should be no need to wrap him in silk and extract his juices to keep him around either.

  • amelia

    I don't smoke.

  • Appalachiana

    Really now, let's not bring the Hindu faith into it. Anyhow, anyone who can go from tapeworms to Shakespearean erotica in less than four lines should reconsider calling the kettle black here.

  • Appalachiana

    Oh my, I've got to go. A Zorro rerun is on t.v.

  • Appalachiana

    LOL…Good one!

  • When bad things happen to good remotes.

  • DR

    Oh come on, John. Everyone knows you're conservative. It's clear you're running a militia and resent all the welfare queens. Put the assault rifle down and let's start getting a little Dr. Phil in here.

  • DR

    Christina is my favorite.

  • DR


  • AboundingJoy

    You never cease to amaze me, John Shore. I have spent more than my share of hours on bathroom floors crying because of the "wonderment" that is love. Thank you for the reminder that I am not alone.

  • nelma e.

    Amelia…The meaning was that if they weren't going out on dates with actual people, there would be no overt temptation, no one nearby to get them sizzling. (!!) So, they nip it in the bud. Stay away from the stable… and avoid all (the) wild steeds! But I am betting they have inner temptation, some downright sinful fantasies…and alot of frustration!

  • nelma e.

    Idea! Maybe the born again virgins and the celibate atheists can throw aside their differences and meet halfway…could be fireworks!!

  • Ew.

  • Appalachiana

    Hey! Could you bring an alfalfa sprout and bean spread sandwich to me? Can't be pulled away now. Stupid Catherine Zeta-Jones is about to leave Zorro. Poor Zorro looks like he has been hit with a case of tapeworms.

  • amelia

    The 4th is only days away… 🙂 Although, I highly doubt God would put me through another athiest, no matter how celibate.

  • Don Whitt

    If you smoke after sex is a sure sign of not enough lubrication.

  • Don Whitt

    See, Yukkels.

  • Matthew Tweedell

    wow… deep.

  • Thanks Amie. Although I can't get that particular link to work, I've been in Brownsville for almost 10 years now. Tomorrow I'll stock up on water, tie the awning down over the front window of our trailer home and if it looks like more than category 1, Ill probably head toward San Antonio with my wife. Many friends here don't feel free to evacuate due to "papers". But those closest to me right now have a nice solid house and 4 working men. My "family" here is more likely to take care of me than vice versa. Thanks again!

  • DR

    (copying and pasting this for a friend)

  • hmmmm, you mean Wednesday, Thursday, Friday right? (Doesn't make sense… think harder, Beth)

  • amelia

    Ten bucks says that's the SHORTEST COMMENT EVER posted by Matthew… 😉

  • amelia
  • Robert Meek

    Speaking of Salmonids, http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/06/28-2


    Frankenfish, anyone?

  • Robert Meek

    Oy, fireworks, or Armageddon, eh? 😉 (Nothin' like a little "WW III" to make one's day, eh?)

  • Robert Meek


  • Robert Meek

    (I win!)

  • Robert Meek

    Heathen! That should be a Hummus and baby spinach sandwich!!!

  • Robert Meek

    "…what do I come back to? Women fantasizing about Antonio Banderas cooking chicken…"


    Uh … ya THINK!? (Duh!)

    That's some MAJOR competition there!

    Oh, well.

    Back to, ….. NERDVILLE.

  • Appalachiana

    Ahhh! You think we humans have it bad? Consider the love life of the freshwater mussel. Although the male mussel can live for 50 or even 100 years, he exists as a benthic organism, shifting only up and down, sometimes round about, in the sediments with colossal slowness. He filter feeds on detritus carried in the flow of water. Often there’s not a female around for many miles upstream or downstream. Then one day something changes. The light and the temperature seem right. That male mussel is downright aroused. Even Christian freshwater mussels feel it. Suddenly, seemingly out of the blue and with no audio-visual stimuli, the male ejects all his sperm into the water column. The sperm drifts miles downstream with dead bugs and bits of leaf. If perchance it passes over a female filtering water into her gills, she takes in that sperm and her eggs are fertilized. Talk about your one night stands. The male and female never even meet.

    But wait it’s not over yet. After the fertilized eggs mature, the female has to find and lure a host fish into close range, usually by displaying a wavering mantle flap that looks like a tasty minnow. Some females store their young (glochidia) into a packet at the far end of a string of slime they extrude into the current like a fishing line. In either case, along comes an hungry fish who is sprayed with glochidia or who bites at the packet and is infested with the babies. Some female mussels actually snap closed over prodding fish snouts and pump their young onto the the host fish. Glochidia attach to the host fish for a few weeks, hitching a ride, until they are mature enough to drop off. How else would the sedentary mussel distribute itself throughout a river system?

    And you thought people had kinky sex. Male and female mussels alike laugh about how they reproduce. So do biologists. Fish, however, do not laugh. They may laugh at what they’ve seen human couples do while skinny dipping down by the river or even at Salmonids who can’t focus on anything but getting upstream…getting upstream….getting upstream. But fish take it very seriously when they become the kinky third wheel in the interspecies games that freshwater mussels play.

    If you want to know more about the love life of freshwater mussels go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URHTrAAkpr0&feature=related. This is the sort of porn even a Christian can watch.

  • Appalachiana

    It's the eyes, the accent and…..the boots?

    The secret of the obsession with Antonio can be found here….. .http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wL9zIpgy3Vk&feature=related

  • Ace

    God may have created a perfect husband for me, but I'm pretty sure he got lost in the mail.

  • Ace

    I know athiests and non-christians who identify themselves as largely asexual. (not celibate, in that they are denying themselves something they want, just that they aren't interested).

    There are a whole variety of reasons for people to not want to mate, and they aren't all religious.

  • Ace

    For a second I read that as "a Hummus and baby sandwich" and was a bit troubled. 😛

  • Tanager

    Men and women will never think of sex in the same way in most cases. I sort of tested the theory. I say "sort of" because really I need more data but, you know, I have a really big headache. Maybe permanent.

    I have dated a few men in my life and all but one of them were fabulous individuals whose first thought in every circumstance was NOT about sex (in that one exception, everything was about sex.) But, it was apparently their second thought, every time. The last relationship I tried was with a fabulous Christian man and still, thing often really boiled down to sex for him: getting it, hinting at it, and – because he's a Christian – hiding it. I really thought things would be different with a committed Christian guy but it wasn't. And he's still a fabulous guy; I just don't want to date him.

    I hear that at a certain point in life a woman's libido ramps up. I'm still waiting. Maybe then I'll consider dating. Because at this point I can't think of "dating" without thinking "a million hints about having sex." So, my solution to having men and women think of sex in the same way is to develop some device that keeps men's jewels surrounded by ice water, say, 6 out of 7 days a week. Hey, it could work.

  • He came to my house. Sorry, but I'm keeping him. 😉

  • amelia

    but you're not Matthew…I meant HIS shortest comment. 😉

  • Berkshire

    "It’s invasive, sucks the life out of you, makes you take drugs, makes you walk funny, and causes you to spend a lot of time alone in the bathroom, crying."

    I don't think love does that. I think that's probably something else. many things masquerade as love. Desire? Ego? Or maybe you really did pick up the worm somewhere . . . . drink from any streams lately? Run barefoot in the cow pasture with your true love, in soft focus slow motion? Shoulda worn shoes. . .

    The differences in relating to sex/romance can, at least in my experience, best be overcome with empathy and compassion. A man empathically listens to what his partner wants and needs, and responds out of love to do his best to meet those needs. A woman empathically listens to what her partner needs, and responds out of love to do her best to meet those needs. It helps if both can acknowledge the differences that may exist between their perspectives and needs, and not expect the other to apologize for being male and having "male needs", or being female and having "female needs". I think it's negotiation, akin to all other such negotiations between partners. Respect is key, and if both can do this, and be clear about their boundaries/limits, then you stand your best chance of making it flow, making it work, and not ending up curled up on the bathroom floor.

    If your differences (including with boundaries) are insurmountably extreme, though, that's another story. You might not make it work, and have to acknowledge that. The relationship might have to change, even while love remains.

  • Elizabeth

    Children, avert your eyes.

    Instead of 33% conservative Christian / 33% liberal Christian / 33% "none of the above", a more useful analysis of John's fan base might be just how many of us are 30+ Christian single women. And frustrated. As Tanager alluded, women hit their sexual peaks at 34 while men hit theirs at 18. What kind of Divine Planner okayed that discrepancy?

    I'm not much for Antonio Banderas, though. Did anyone see Al Pacino as Satan in "The Devil's Advocate"? Now that was hot.

    I'm totally on board with hearing more about Matthew Tweedell's libido as it applies to this blog. Then again, y'all know how I feel about Matthew. Especially when he quotes Latin. *swoon*

    Like Matthew, I find this post eerie in its relevance to my life. I can only attribute it to a Higher Power. Having spent yesterday soaking up the AC at museums, and this morning reading these comments, I can't get this song out of my head:

    "Mr. B is out of town, and I can't find anyone to have an affair with, so I just mosey on down to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to look at all the satyrs with hard-**s… And how 'bout those plump maidens, those hot cherubic babes being presented to Apollo, Dionysus, Neptune or one of those other well-hung gods?… That guard looks cute. He has a look of studied melancholia and distraction that reminds me of my old Greek boyfriend, the Al Pacino look-alike I called my 'subtle gigolo' who broke my heart in a hundred places and caused my nervous breakdown that resulted in an unsuccessful suicide attempt involving 42 phenobarbital where I slept for two days, but woke up and luckily lived long enough to reach my sexual peak. I wonder whatever happened to him?"

    "Obscene and Pornographic Art" from the unfortunately-named band Bongwater on their even more unfortunately-named album "The Power of *****" (a crude scatalogical term, or a feline).

    Amelia, if anyone's getting censored here, it's gonna be me.

  • Elizabeth

    Shakespeare had nothing on those guys.

  • Gina Powers

    My fellow commentators, you rule!! Hey Matthew….deep is good…..;). Ahem…no, Elizabeth, if anyone gets censored here, trust me, it'll be ME….I'm all for and highly advocate premarital sex (Gina now runs away ducking whatever produce her fellow boardies chuck her way…).

  • christina

    'Women hit their sexual peaks at 34 while men hit theirs at 18. What kind of Divine Planner okayed that discrepancy?' Lol

    It's called cougarville.

    Men never grow up, they just get older. Therefore, require attention akin to parenting from their female counterpart.

  • God, I hope you're kidding.

  • Ace

    "What kind of Divine Planner okayed that discrepancy?"

    One who's a fan of "cougars"?


  • Ace

    I know plenty of men AND women in their 50's-plus that still act like middle schoolers. Childishness and selfishness is pretty common in both sexes.

  • DomainDiva

    Shore, that picture of the guy whose ready to get back in the game has me howling. What a great lead in to one of the funniest posts I have read in ages. I hope you make your wife laugh as much as you make me laugh. You need to take this act on the road.

  • Elizabeth

    @Ace and @christina: I'm a big-time fan of both of you; I've enjoyed your comments immensely over the past few weeks. Please don't take this too seriously as a reaction to your most recent comments, which I believe were made in good fun.

    I'm not just crazy about the recent tendency to call women cougars. It seems to me to be another convenient handle to oversimplify and thereby diminish a woman's relationships. It's the modern iteration of calling someone an old maid, a slut, a hooker with a heart of gold, frigid, a tease, a prude, or whatever.

    You'd think we'd have grown out of it by now, but when I hear "cougar", I hear society's ancient fear of a woman's sexuality sublimated as name-calling. Sorry to go all feminist on you, but there it is.

    To be crystal-clear, I have no problem whatsoever with older women dating younger men. It's never been my thing, but I salute anybody expressing themselves sexually any way that works for them, provided, of course, that it is mutual. (It should also go without saying that this presupposes both parties are old enough, sane enough, and sober enough to give informed consent.)

    Sorry to be a downer. Back to the silliness!

  • amelia

    Very well said. Thanks for being way more positive about love between two people than most of the comments on here. 🙂

  • Ace

    Eh, you can have him. They eat too much and make messes anyway.

  • Betty

    "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."

    I have sat here for a long time rereading this paragraph over and over again, trying to make sense of it. Maybe I'm just odd (some people would say there isn't any maybe about it), but I have never felt sex was such a serious event that you couldn't laugh. There is laughter because it was fun, there is laughter because sometimes my husband and I are not as graceful as we would like to be, and sometimes there is laughter just because we are alive and life is good. I have been married for 30 years to a wonderful man and we both recommend laughing as much as you can, even during sex.

  • nelma e

    Yes, cougars make sense. The 48-year-old women should hook up with the 28-yr-old men. It makes sense!

  • nelma e

    Aren't REAL Christians- those truly devoted to Jesus & purity & integrity & honor- supposed to resist and NOT PARTAKE in non-marital sexual activity???

  • nelma e

    I like the U2 version…http://youtu.be/lA0krVJeszE.

  • nelma e

    U2’s Wild Horses! This link may be faster. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lA0krVJeszE

  • amelia

    I didn't know U2 did a version. Thanks so much for this! 🙂

  • amelia

    Actually, it's a different song, but way cool all the same. Thanks!

  • amelia

    Betty, that was great! Eros leads to philos which leads to agape (hopefully) and then we can all find joy in all things (even clumsy bedroom antics). 🙂

  • Appalachiana

    Sorry, but I'm just not into that spanking thing.

  • Sarah

    I think it depends on the woman and her sense of fun. Women can laugh during sex and not as a reflection on the instrumentation nor a comment upon its application, but I will admit that it isn't really a standard for most women and while we all like romance some of us do enjoy humor just as much. Everyone sees men and women as so different. I think that is mere conditioning and have often heard complaints/comments from both sexes about the same things. We are really a lot more alike than we know. Most women are at taught that it's bad form to make jokes about personal things, but I think if they are comfortable with themselves and their partner/husband then there's a lot more openness and humor and not so many differences in the end. Fear of judgment does harm to everyone in that it keeps them from being themselves and this is a shame. We need to be a lot more accepting of each other and that includes women giving men a break and women not having to worry that will be judged negatively if they loosen up and laugh at things. Love and sex are just crazy. When we relax and don't take it and ourselves so seriously it becomes a lot less worrisome. Just my opinion.

  • I still haven’t met him, I not longer use mayo on my ham sandwiches ’cause maintaining my girlish figure is still important, but this article did force me to assess my position about datiing and sex. Mr Shore, you are truly my hero. 🙂

    You put into words all the little tid-bits that a pure Gemini could never elaborate. Probably because we’re too busy starting projects that will never get finished.

    Your post, ney, your writing provided me with the right inspiration to actually complete something that every single woman should have to elaborate her position on love, dating, sex, etc.

    Here, for your enjoyment, is my “dateing agreement”. Hope you enjoy reading it, as much as I enjoyed writing it! 🙂 I work for a legal firm, so it has of course been reviewed by a professional lawyer.


    (I actually completed something!)

    Your devoted Canadian fan.