One of my entirely-too-infrequent brainstorms produced the idea of an organization called Love Anonymous. It's simple enough: if your attitude toward the cutie across the hall has suddenly shifted from "Um, good morning" to "I want you," and you're sensible enough to realize that you're just asking for trouble, you call an 800 number, and someone dressed as Cher shows up at your workplace and gives you a dope slap.

Certainly I'm due for one. If my existence has a bane, it's the fact that it doesn't matter how expertly I contrive to devote my life to maximum contentment and/or distraction, sooner or later I'm going to look to my side and see no one. No one at all.

Officially, I've made my peace with the situation: my dance card is empty, and since I can't dance worth a damn anyway, it's just as well.

I must, of course, consider the possibility that I'm asking too much. A friend of mine came up with this the other day:

Would your true love do any, or all, of the following?

Use that special look to draw you into a bath overflowing with bubbles and serve you a wonderful glass of wine.

Sit beside a fountain and cast pennies into the falls and make wishes in between kisses.

Waltz around a swimming pool filled with candlelight, under a full moon, while listening to the string section of an orchestra play softly as if just for you.

Recite Shakespeare to you, with a silver tongue, on a Sunday's morn, after having made love all night long.

Make you laugh until you cry.

Look at you like you are the most special person in the entire world, and kiss you in such a way as to convince you time can stand still.

Write you a love song.

Hold your hand while walking along a leaf-strewn garden path on an autumn day. The scents of the coming winter fill your imagination with dreams.

Hold an entire coversation with you just by looking into your eyes ... lips never speaking a word.

I have enjoyed all these experiences and each with a different man. I never considered any one of them to be the one for me. The pleasure is in the moment; the moment we allow ourselves to live right now. Many people get so tied up in what they think a relationship is supposed to be. My relationship with life is lived by sharing beautiful experiences. The human heart has so much love inside to share. Why limit your possibilities?

Perhaps I might have found this more persuasive had I ever experienced any of these myself.

I admit, though, that I'm emotionally wedded to my concept of what a relationship is supposed to be, and one irreducible component, I think, is exclusivity: "forsaking all others," while perhaps harder in practice than in theory, still strikes me as the proper approach.

And there's this, from the Occasionally Asked Questions file:

Q.  What's she like? The woman of your dreams, I mean.

A.  Barring information to the contrary, the most pertinent word is "nonexistent."

Unspoken is the question of how close someone would have to be to my existing template to justify the description. Obviously 100 percent, or within shouting distance thereof, is out, and if she did exist, there arises a second question: "What would she want with me?"

But if 100 percent of what I'm looking for, whatever that may be, does not exist, and if zero percent isn't worth the bother, where does one oh, hell, where do I start paying attention? Fifty percent? Sixty? I once met someone who actually made it past seventy. Nothing came of it, of course; I'm a big fan of honoring prior commitments, even when they're not mine, and there were a few other obstructions besides.

In that case, there was clearly no need for Love Anonymous; nothing was going to happen, there was no need to dissuade me from actions I wasn't going to take, and all was presumably well with the world. But the really scary word in that paragraph isn't "seventy," "obstructions," or even "commitments."

It's "once."

Heaven or someone dressed as Cher help me when (as distinguished from "if") it gets to "twice."

The Vent

  17 November 2006

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 Copyright © 2006 by Charles G. Hill