If Moving Be the Food of Love

*even though there are no actual characters in this blog entry, I would like to assert that all implied characters and scenarios are entirely fictional.*

One thing I have discovered recently is that if someone announce that he/she is moving across the country, lots of people will become romantically interested in him/her.

I have a few theories about this:

1) As Orsino in Twelfth Night has made us aware, hyperbolic and flowery declarations of love are a blast. They are what made Dawson’s Creek so painfully popular. They are what make (some of) us cry during previews for romantic comedies. They are what make us take advantage of the open bar at weddings.

However, pledges of love are risky. Sometimes, when you pledge your love to someone, they turn around and say, “great! I feel the same way.” This kind of response could get you into a dangerous situation, like a relationship.

So clearly, if you like the sound of your own voice or the rush that comes from making a very intense confession, you probably have the urge to pledge some love. If you are an Aries like me, or someone in your 20s or 30s who lives in NYC, you love to start things but hate to finish them. Solution: pledge love to someone who is moving 3000 miles away.

2) It’s all about The Selfish Gene. When I was a senior in college, I took this class called the Evolution of Behavior, in which we used Richard Dawkins’s book to excuse all of our behavior. Basically, whatever you do, it’s just because you’re trying to get something with your genes to live on to the next generation. As we all know, the goal of all men is to fertilize as many eggs as possible, to increase the chances of their genes living on. When it turns out that there is an egg-carrier that might be taking all of her eggs 3000 miles away, the man jumps like it’s a going out of a business sale.

Or if the man is leaving, the woman makes it her goal to get her egg fertilized by the man before he leaves, because she can say, “you can’t leave, I’m pregnant.” Then they can live happily ever after.

3) The moving-person in question might be looking for something, and putting out those piercing but erratic “you are exactly what I need!” vibes. The image I have (on behalf of this hypothetical moving-person) is that of the River Styx, and ferryman Charon. For every great transition, you have to have a ferryman. You might even have to carry a gold coin in your mouth to pay him, but no matter what, if you are, or ever have been mortal, it’s simply impossible to cross the river alone.


6 thoughts on “If Moving Be the Food of Love

  1. Innnteresting. I pondered this very thing when I learned of your imminent departure because there are so few women who make me think 'wow'. And being an Aries, like me, it appealed to my sense of the impulsive and quixotic. Though it would not have been a pledge of love, but more an expression of interest, but you have to start somewhere on the road toward fertilizing those eggs.

    I remember sometime in the late 80s, long before I'd ever heard of Dawkins, in Ethics class, I wrote what the professor termed a spirited defense of 'psychological egoism' and the myth of altruism. Self-interest seemed to be the only motivating factor in any human endeavor, certainly was for me, even if the payoff was merely a good feeling. I'm not sure much has changed in 20 years except “acting as if” altruism exists works better than not doing so.

    From the male perspective maybe these professions of love/lust/interest/awe come just as you're taking your basket of eggs to go play somewhere else because there's very little risk involved. There's not much chance of rejection when the fact of this hypothetical person's departure makes everything implausible from the start. I think women often fail to appreciate the psychic risk men go through in crossing that boundary. Or maybe it has something to do with regret. Even people in their 20s and 30s, even dare I say in their 40s, can feel that if they don't act, they will regret it. So when the potential pain of the inaction is greater than the fear of taking action, then it makes perfect sense, much like Bentham's felicific calculus. 🙂

    Best of luck crossing the river…

  2. the best relationship i ever had was with a guy when we both KNEW a) I was moving 2500 miles away and b) he was going home to New Zealand in a matter of weeks. We both had no expectation of marriage married, and knew there was no possibility of a forever, given our certain circumstances, and that took ALL the pressure off…we really enjoyed the few months we had, and remain friends to this day.

  3. One observation: if a bona fide, well-respected, handsome, single dentist begins to profess love for you…either stay in New York or see if he'll transfer his (thriving) practice to SF!


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