"Oh, that wasn't what I meant to say at all
From where I'm sitting, rain
Falling against the lonely tenement
Has set my mind to wander
Into the windows of my lovers
They never know unless I write
'This is no declaration, I just thought I'd let you know goodbye'
Said the hero in the story
'It is mightier than swords
I could kill you sure
But I could only make you cry with these words'"
Get Me Away from Here, I'm Dying (1996)
by Belle and Sebastian
I'd quote the entire song if I can. It's one of the most beautiful songs ever written, and I wrote this post listening to it on loop.
"I don't know what commitment means," I said and felt the immediate need to add a qualifier to it. "That's not a joke, by the way: I really have no idea what that is."
The most wonderful thing about Phoebe is that I can speak my mind to her without ever feeling the need to censor anything. Are there girls who would instantly pounce on those words and hold their boyfriends at tongue-point with them? Yes, and I know at least one. I keep no secrets from my lovers; and that's a policy I can finally truthfully uphold to the letter with Phoebs. Last week, an outlandish notion crept into my mind (and these things happen very frequently to me because I always leave my skull ajar) and I asked her if she would drink her own breast milk when she lactates. Her hilarious response was to pause a moment and then asked me in turn, "Have you been watching porn again?"
Oops, I ran off-topic a bit there. Let's get back to commitment.
"Yeah, what's that?" she replied unexpectedly, but it's hard for me to tell if it was spoken in seriousness or in jest - that's always a bit tricky with Phoebs. "Wait, I'll go look it up at Dictionary.com!"
All it took was a moment before she returned with some definitions, non-definitive as they were.
"Hmmm, according to Dictionary.com, commitment means 'the act of committing' or 'the state of being committed'" she read ponderously. "Guess, they don't know what commitment means either." If voices have shoulders, hers just shrugged. What she said and the way she said it drew a pretty big laugh out of me.
I've heard the C-word get thrown about a lot in relation to relationships, in marriage to the M-word, and in league with the L-word (hint: not lesbian). I question the last one (not lesbians). Are Love and Commitment really two bananas in a bunch? I'm not quite sure what being committed to a girl really entails, but I have this vague idea that it's some sort of a pledge to um, stick to someone? I've been dating Phoebe exclusively for the past two and a half years now - does that necessarily mean I'm committed to her?
Then there's Marriage, which is a lot more at home in bed with Commitment - and both are concepts I've filed away in the parts of my brain for stuff labelled 'don't get it' right alongside quantum physics and the bewildering feminine need for even more handbags. I have a very clinical idea of matrimony: to me it means getting the state to officially recognise you and your mate as a pair. It conjures up images of domesticated adults, rooting two persons in a pen called a home, and siring offsprings who will mostly disappoint them. I make no pretensions that I think Marriage is a lot like Failure in my mind, though I must stress that I don't think them the same. It represents the death of dreams and the identity of an individual - more so for women who take on their husband's surname, allow all their kids to do the same and are dependent on the Men of the House financially. Not to disparage people whose dreams in life are to fuck and multiply, but what sort of a dream is it to give in to your programmed biological imperatives?
I'm not saying that it's mandatory to attempt to pass on one's genes in marriage, or that only two members of opposing genders should marry. I'm merely describing the
The hive mind of society is still obsessed with the illusions of respectability, legitimacy and chastity; of fallen women and bastard children. Are the love between two fornicators any less powerful than the love between two persons who can 'prove' it with a witness-countersigned piece of paper? Are love children any less potentially disappointing than those spawned within wedlock? I am honestly quite tired and disgusted with everyone's obsession with meaningless things while losing sight of what really matters: the L-word (again, not referring to lesbians but they matter too).
To marry always sounds like the defeatist approach to relationships to me. It's admitting that you need more than just love to sustain a bond between two human beings. And like Phoebs and I, how many people can actually say they know the meaning of commitment, and how far can we trust them when they say they are committed to someone? Is commitment some sort of industrial strength adhesive which holds two persons together when the passion and romance run out? Sounds masochistic.
Do you know what I think? I think commitment sucks all the human elements out of a relationship and replaces them with a flimsy construct of mundane responsibility. It's like a comfort blanket for the insecure and it does absolutely fuck all for anyone (and is in serious need for a wash). If you love someone, you'd treat her right. You won't cheat on her because you know that would hurt her. You'd stay with her because you really enjoy her company; because she makes you feel great about yourself; and because she can make you laugh like no one can. Love guarantees all that. The instant you start talking about "commitment", it's a sign that the love between the two of you is at its last gasp for air.
Commitment, it seems, is something for couples who don't have Love. Discuss.
P.S. Everything I believe about being human was inspired by the Gom Jabbar Test of Humanity in Frank Herbert's sci-fi classic Dune. Everything I believe about love and relationships comes from Murakami Haruki's South of the Border, West of the Sun. I am what I read.
Not committed but in love,
k0k s3n w4i