What is love?-A A +A
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
IN HONOR of Valentine’s Day, Sari-Sari rests from its Pro-Life campaign to focus on the question: What Is Love?
According to my late father, Nimrod Suarez, “Love is sex.”
To his young daughters’ raised eyebrows, he’d clarify: “Do you really believe that those boys who call you, send you roses and chocolates, and flatter you love you? They do not. They just want to go to bed with you. True love is when a man has a stable income and he offers you a house and lot when he says he loves you. Anything less is baloney.”
Echoing this opinion, there was a Cebuana mother in the ‘70s whose daughters attracted many admirers. This was not surprising: The daughters looked like movie stars and all were beauty pageant queens.
However, they were not “approachable” as beauty titlists ought to be. Suitors were welcome on the first visit at home. But on the second visit, Mama would interview, “Tabi, unsa man gyod ang imong tuyo sa akong anak? Naa kay trabaho? Pila imong sueldo? Kanusa nimo pakaslan akong anak?” Those who could not pass Mama’s inspection and interrogation were banned from seeing her daughters again.
Because of this, all the daughters married well, and all were virgins until the wedding night -- except one.
According to an “expert of Cebu’s alta sociedad chismis,” this particular daughter had top secret trysts with the unworthy lover and continued seeing him even after marrying a “good catch.” Ah, romantic love!
What does Criselda Buenaventura, an environmentalist who claims she has not read a single silly romance in her entire life, have to say to this? Here’s her opinion: “There’s a lot of embellishment to romantic tales. I know about this one. The fact is, the lover eventually borrowed a huge amount of money from Rebellious Daughter -- it was her husband’s money of course -- and never paid the debt. He was an expert user of women! The story only serves to prove what you always say, that you only believe in one love: the love of that guy hanging from the cross. All other forms of human love are cheap imitations, and the poorest imitation is the so-called romantic love between a man and a woman.”
To be exact, what I always say is, there are too many conditions in romantic love, especially in marriage, such as: I will love you for as long as your waistline remains 27 inches; I will love you more if you make more money; I will love you if you become like my mother.
Frankly, to me, attending weddings is a form of penance. Most people dress up in party clothes at a wedding; I dress in business attire and wear dark glasses during the wedding ceremony. Behind the shades, you’d see my eyes closed -- I’m semi-asleep as I mentally chant my wedding prophecies: Baloney, baloney, mag-away ra mo kon maputlan mo’g kuryente sa Cepalco.
Baloney, baloney, ipalayas nimo imong bana kay he would begin acting like a child a year from now. Baloney, baloney Nimrod Suarez was right: There’s a business aspect to matrimony, and the relationship between a man and a woman is like a series of boring business meetings in the boardroom which gets alleviated with matings in the bedroom which also become boring. Try different positions and settings, the marriage counselor tells you.
Baloney, baloney, you’ve already done trapeze, and you’re still bored. You begin to think that Augustine of Hippo was probably mostly referring to man-woman romantic love when he said, “Our hearts, O Lord, are restless until they rest in Thee.”
Thus, you explore higher definitions of love:
A relative who has requested anonymity says, “True love is friendship. A man and a woman can love each other truly minus what you call conditions if they are true friends. If there is no friendship, even the legendary love story starring the Duchess of Windsor would have ended early on. Princess Diana and Prince Charles were not friends. That’s why their marriage was doomed from the beginning.”
“Love is self-giving. Love is a mystery as God is,” according to Fr. Celerino Reyes, S.J., Rector of the St. John Vianney Theological Seminary. You can argue “self-giving” (are you sure it’s not “self-investing”?) but not “mystery,” for why would a priest like St. Maximilian Kolbe volunteer to be tortured and executed by the Nazis in place of another man, a total stranger?
To Fr. Cel’s fellow Jesuit, Fr. Jose Dacanay, love means you read the New Family Code before you apply for a marriage license so you’ll know what you’re getting into legally speaking.
“Love is when two people bring out the best in each other.” Corazon del Fierro, Grade School Principal of Corpus Christi School.
“Love is a joyful sacrifice.” Gloria Abrogar, Religion Teacher.
“Love is the presence of God in our lives.” Karen Lluch, former Miss Cagayan and founder of Thrive, a support group for breast cancer survivors which also campaigns for the early detection of breast cancer.
However love may be defined, one thing is sure: It’s what we all want and need most in this world, whether we admit it or not. So, enjoy Valentine’s Day. Be whimsical and nonsensical for a day. Even my cat will get a special treat on the 14th for making me feel she loves me, even though I know that the reality is, I am just a big can opener to her.
(Ms. Ametta Suarez Taguchi teaches Home Economics and Livelihood Education. She also writes and directs plays and have won the Palanca Awards for Literature seven times)
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on February 13, 2013.