I’ve always been behind the curve when it comes to love. Most girls are stealing their first kiss when they’re 12 and letting boys get to first base by 15. I didn’t have my first kiss until I was 16, my first boyfriend until I was 17 and my first fuck till I was…that’s a different blog post.
But I do remember thinking I was in love at 17. Thinking is not feeling, and when real love finally replaced the hormone-fueled obsession of firsts, I would reminiscent on my idealistic, romantic notions with compassion. One memory in particular is vivid.
My history teacher shared that he had gone to his 20-year high school reunion. I asked, “Did you see your high school girlfriend? How was it? Did feelings come rushing back?”
He said that yes, she was there…and married…and while it was good to see her, there were no feelings.
I was appalled and told him so. Didn’t you love her? How could you not love her still?
He smiled and sighed. To be so in love with love, he said. I had forgotten.
That’s the beauty of young love—why we are so drawn to stories of young lovers like Romeo and Juliet but belittle young love when we see it in front of us. Young lovers aren’t just in love with each other…they are in love with love. And as we grow older and fall out of love with love…we find it more and more difficult to fall in love with another.
I am currently living with an 18-year-old model. She has an adorable 24-year-old boyfriend. He is her first…in every way, if you know what I mean. They’ve talked about going all the way with this…as long as they possibly can. From my bird’s eye view they are sweet to each other, kind to each other, speak nicely to each other…are better to each other than are the older folks I’ve seen in relationships. The more “mature” relationships I’ve encountered are quite wicked, mostly dull, outlined in sarcasm and resentment, and…well, brutish…if not near the start, then eventually.
It’s as though we no longer know how to love purely because love shines only intermittently, obscured by shadows of past relationships we carry within us. Young love has no shadow…only brightness.
So, why don’t we take it seriously? And by “it” I mean any love between individuals younger than 25. It’s not as though an 18-year-old cannot feel real love. Who are we to say they don’t know what to do with that love? We don’t grow the ability to feel love like we grow boobs or a baby-breeding vagina. And I would argue that our ability to love may just be stronger when we are younger…and less wicked.
Yes, statistically the odds are stacked against them. But those statistics are shaped by socials norms and expectations that shout, “Do not get married too young!” “You have to experience life, multiple partners, lots of sex!” “You do not know who you are when you’re so young!” What about all the thirty- and forty-somethings out there who know themselves so well they can’t get past two months with a partner?
My brother got married at 24; twenty-four years later and he is still happily married, according to him. He wishes his wife would wear thongs like mine, but other than that, I’ve never heard him complain. (He’s seen my laundry, people; let’s not get crazy.)
My other brother…well, let’s just say he revisited his 15-year-old crush and it almost led to the disintegration of his marriage. Why revisit such a young, lost love? Perhaps because we aren’t trying to fall in love with someone else so much as we are trying to fall in love with love again…and if that’s the case, why not go back to the source?
I guess I’m still a bit of a romantic. I want to believe that the young love between my new roomie and her man will last forever. And then I think…My God! That means she’ll only have sex with ONE MAN her ENTIRE LIFE. Of course, there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel…this one being polyamory…but that’s a different blog post too. Cheers—to young love!