“Go, if you want to / I never tried to stop you” sings Robert Smith, lead singer of the soul-searching, alternative mood rock band The Cure, as wistful guitar lines wail over eerie distortion effects. I’ve listened to this song, “End of the World,” many times before, however I’ve never been able to relate to the content of its lyrics. They tell of a boy declaring his love to a girl, who reflects his feelings of love and connection, but for some reason it just doesn’t “work out.” Now he must suffer through chipping off the residue of love from his soul, while she sadly looks on and suffers through fear of commitment and the unknown future.

Many of us deal with that fickle emotion we classify as love. Shakespeare transformed what could have been inwardly brutal love affairs into hilarious and often disastrous love comedies. Society dresses up love in tight fitting clothes decked out in butterflies, candles and romantic music, and those without love are “missing out.” Better pick up that chick or guy quickly before the season is out or you won’t be able to buy your valentine Hershey’s chocolate! However, in the end, love boils down to the dense sense of confusion: what are we feeling?

Of course, with schoolwork, family issues and the daunting prospect of venturing into the real world, this love can be seen as not only a burden, but also as an escape. But what do you do when you want to express your feelings and are met with rejection? Some people learn to be more self-reliant and not depend on others for feeling acceptance and self-worth. It can be argued that love is only a self-assertion, a validation that you are worth something more than just a bag of skin and bones.

This issue is merely the surface – we haven’t struck gold yet. Why do we need to be in relationships? Where is this pressure coming from? In fact, you could argue that relationships are just another irrational formation to help us deal with this need to be with others and physically and mentally connect. As said in the dark comedy “Little Miss Sunshine,” “Life is just one fucking beauty contest after another.”

Here’s a little mind-warp: imagine there are two people standing next to each other, but one is more aesthetically pleasing than the other. Which would you talk to first? The gut reaction of humanity is to talk to the better-looking one first. What makes a “more attractive” person morally superior to a “less attractive” person?

Relationships are not easy. They take determination, hard work and loyalty, so kiss your sanity and common sense goodbye. Many people are stuck in the future of uncertainty – can I love this person now? What about tomorrow? What if I don’t love him then? Other people are stuck in the now – I can only love this person, and if I don’t, it’s the end of the world as I know it.

It is extremely difficult to reconcile these two mental perspectives and to peel yourself away from the way “love” should work: two people immediately feel a connection and all works out for the best. However, what about long distance? Loyalty is a crackerjack term. When you’re surrounded by many sexually charged teenagers, it’s hard to conceive of anything long term.

This doesn’t give full permission to recreate the hedonistic orgies of Greek and Roman fame – “emotional and physical exploration,” also known as fooling around, can only carry you so far until you end up on the side of the road, out of fuel and food and with a horrible itch. It is a good growing experience, but there needs to be a balance between substance and experimentation.

With all of this energy pent up within us, when we present it on a silver platter to the one we want to grow with and connect with but are denied, what do we do?

Think about it. If we were all happy and content, nothing would ever get done. But in the end, ‘Tis better to have loved and lost… n’est pas.

So put yourself out there.

Fishman is a member of the class of 2010.



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