I was round my sister’s flat and I heard a song by Kath Bloom that I haven’t heard for ages – there’s a line in it that always made me laugh out loud.
The singer spends the song talking about the painful process of getting over her ex-lover, and then she says -
There’s a boy up the road
and he wants to take me out some
well he doesn’t know
that I’m not going to be too much fun
I don’t know why it always makes me laugh. Maybe because it’s not something you hear very much in songs… whereas getting people wrong and wanting them to be something they’re not is something that happens the whole time in real life.
It reminds me of a bit in the Bell Jar - for some forgotten reason I decided to read it during a stay in hospital after an operation. Against expectation I found a lot of it laugh-out-loud funny. (Maybe it was the morphine).
The passage I remember is where the main character is allowed out from mental hospital on a Saturday evening and goes to the park. A young sailor on shore leave starts walking with her, uninvited, trying to charm her, chat her up. Walking along she can see how he sees her – who he wants her to be, a simple idea of how a fun saturday night should go – unaware that he’s walking with a near-suicidal mental patient.
Maybe that’s what love is, two people walking along in their own separate realities, and gradually, sometimes painfully, getting glimpses of who each other are.
Love is not a contract between two narcissists. It’s more than that. It’s a construction that compels the participants to go beyond narcissism. In order that love lasts one has to reinvent oneself – Alain Badiou