What's Love Got to Do With It?
Warren Adler E-Sheet 55
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Finding Love: the Last Great Mystery
I have searched for an answer all my life. The
characters in my
short stories and
plays have contorted
themselves looking for the answer. Authors,
philosophers, psychologists, psychiatrists,
psychics and scientists from all disciplines
have beaten the bushes for the answer.
The question is:
Why does someone
fall in love with one person and not another?
It baffles everyone, including
authors like myself who have been exploring
this phenomenon in novels, short stories and
plays for five decades. Scientists have
theorized that it must have something to do
genes, our DNA, or our senses; something
deep in the
brain that gloms on to a compatible
something in another person.
Others theorize that it is the
life force, whatever that is, which motivates
us to find the perfect mate, one that will
provide the incandescent match of yin and
yang, keeping the human race in play.
Love is a tangled web of illogic, a human
puzzle with no resolution.
Of course, there are partial
truths to be found everywhere. People continue
to thirst for that condition known as "love."
The search itself has become an act of
desperation and a huge enterprise has sprung
up to exploit this totally baffling human
condition. Hell, people will do anything to
find love. The condition itself is the
ultimate high, the nearest thing to paradise
on earth. It is no wonder that the condition
is celebrated, acclaimed and exalted.
Indeed, not only is it the
ultimate high, it is also the ultimate
subject. Almost all of the great books deal
with love from the Bible upward and onward. No
great novel is without it. Few great plays are
without it. It is an overwhelming subject
matter because it is the ultimate mystery.
Love is the most ubiquitous subject in the
Tennysonís immortal lines in
Locksley Hall, "In the Spring a young
manís fancy lightly turns to thoughts of
love." In todayís gender conscious,
politically correct world, make that "young
woman" and the target of either gender. Never
mind. The condition, I have concluded, is not
Nor is it physical. Fat people
fall in love with thin people and vise versa.
Tall people fall in love with short people and
vise versa. Black people fall in love with
white people, as well as every racial shade in
between and vise versa. Dumb people fall in
love with smart people and vise versa. It is a
tangled web of illogic, a human puzzle with no
Love is the most ubiquitous subject in the
In my own personal explorations
into this mystery, in my real life, not my
fiction generating life, Iíve calculated that
I was conceived on the cusp of spring and born
on the cusp of winter. My wife on the other
hand was conceived in the height of summer and
born at the end of winter. It is doubtful that
a computer program would have matched us. Nor
can I find anything psychological, scientific
or otherwise to unravel the mystery of why we
fell in love and why we have been together as
husband and wife as long as memory serves,
meaning as forever as it gets. One wife, one
husband, one enduring lifetime, swanlike
matchmaking industry has spring up on the
internet, pulling out more dollars from
mate-seekers, make that love-seekers,
than pornography. This in itself is no odd
comparison since, in an obvious way, the two
enterprises are related. The idea behind this
matching phenomenon is that intelligent
people, searching with dollars in hand, can
narrow down their potential pool of mates
through a computerized compatibly index based
on common values and like interests.
Actually, itís not a bad
commercial idea, since it eliminates the
bruising rat race of bar hopping, blind dating
and hit-or-miss flirtation. It matches up
like-minded individuals in a perfectly
logical, calculating way to determine the risk
level involved in actual mating. Does it have
anything to do with love? I doubt it. Some
people might get lucky and actually fall in
love, which leaves only the longevity factor
to deal with.
Russian dolls that fit together and get
smaller and smaller, love is a mystery within
a mystery. Why doesnít it last in its most
pristine condition? Why so many false
positives? Why does love wither? Does
familiarity breed animosity, loathing, hatred? Is
love merely a temporary high, a fragile
condition easily contaminated and destroyed by
the nitty-gritty business of coping with
Iíve used myself as a kind of
guinea pig to test and contemplate the various
manifestation of this phenomenon.
The War of the Roses is a
case in point. While it is only one of my
28 novels, it has defied time and, after
25 years, continues to resonate. The
movie plays somewhere on the planet about
three times a week and is now having a third
life in live theater and a fourth life is
contemplated in musical theater.
Its longevity baffles me, but I
think itís because the story deals with the
direct opposite of the ultimate high, loveís
exhilaration and joy, through hatred, dark
deeds and even death. People must enjoy tales
of destruction, especially when it comes to
marriage, either as a cautionary exercise or
the sheer excitement of seeing the damage
unfold. It does not even matter what side
they choose in the war between the parties.
It raises the question: Why is
the ultimate end of the ultimate high so
Forgive me, but everything gets
pretty much convoluted when dealing with the
mysterious love question. People go round and
round trying to understand it. Considering its
consequences as a life-changing experience,
love certainly deserves our attention and our
most ardent investigative effort. Unfortunately, it leads nowhere. I can attest
that the search for answers leaves only more
questions. One canít even take comfort in the
Shakespeare quotation, "it
is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and
fury, signifying nothing."
Actually, love signifies
why people will move heaven and earth to find
Divorce Story Contest
It's the silver anniversary of
The War of the Roses and at Stonehouse
Press, we want to celebrate. You've read our
divorce story; now we want to read yours. So
get to writing and give us—in 1,500 words or
lessóyour juiciest, meanest, and veracious
divorce story. For those of you who were never
married...well, youíre lucky. But you can
still apply, tell us about a bad break-up.
The person whose story makes us laugh, cry, or
squirm the most is going to win a top-notch
prize, with second and third prizes also
forthcoming. Just to show thereís no loser
(aside from those alimony payments and painful
memories), we're going to put up the entries
on the website for the rest of world to
cherish your heartache. In true loveís
fashion, weíll announce the winner on
Valentineís Day, 2007.
Deadline for the contest is December 31,
get writing. Follow the
rules on the website,
then send your stories to
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