Relationships: The Fifth Paw
by Chris Volkay (e-mail: [October 13th, 2003]

Come on SING with me...All you need is Love Da...Da Da Da Da, All you need is Love Da...Da Da Da Da(keep going, don’t be sheepish, you know song). Or, turn on anything that has pixels, every show in TV land is extolling the virtues, beauty and the downright loveliness of love. Love is just so lovely. Watch any of the myriad of moronic sitcoms, what is the one constant other than the trading of inane juvenile put downs, it’s love. This is the elixir, the legerdemain, the kismet that every character on TV is scurrying after.

“Apparently unbeknownst to many of us, we are in fact the architects of our own miseries. This arises in the various expectations that we set up for ourselves that we are seldom able to attain.”

Go to the movies, watch that Pretty Woman charm Richard Gere. Wowwee that love be magic. [If you care to see the reality of prostitution, see the movie Leaving Las Vegas] But who wants that nettlesome reality! Read a book, listen to any one of a dozen of this week’s music stars, and hear their “golden” voices crooning about, you guessed it: Love. We are awash, adrift in the swirling clouds of unbridled love cascading over us making us happy, cappy and oh, so lovely. Can’t you feel the love tonight? I love you, you love me, we’re a happy family. Oh sing with big purple Barney, you know you want too.

I offer the following from writer Quentin Crisp. “The message that “love” will solve all of our problems is repeated incessantly in contemporary culture like a philosophical tom tom. It would be closer to the truth to say that love is a contagious and virulent disease which leaves the victim in a state of near imbecility, paralysis, profound melancholia, and sometimes culminates in death.” “Love” is pushed en masse in our society because it produces a high not unlike that of any other kind of drug. Sit-coms as drug pushers? Heavens to Betsy! We is....stoned immaculate! Our neurochemical balances are altered with the loveliness of “Love”. Since we already are a nation of drug users, (100 million drink, 50 million smoke, tens of millions use Marijuana, other drugs, legal drugs etc. ) it fits right in with our existing regimen of self-medication. Or, as Fran Lebowitz observed, “Romantic love is mental illness. But it’s a pleasurable one. It’s a drug. It distorts reality, and that’s the point of it. It would be impossible to fall in love with someone that you really saw”.

What revved my curiosity regarding this subject was a Gallup poll that stated 94% of women believed in and wanted to find their “soulmate”. I juxtaposed this with a meeting I had many years ago with a group of about 30 men. One by one all thirty began sharing their “feelings”. Naturally their thoughts turned to women, and then and there I heard the most hate-filled, vicious, bestial assault on women I had ever heard. Goddamn bitch this, freakin whore that. I stood up and tried to protest -- really I did -- saying things like, “what is it with you guys, sex sex sex, I like women for their finer qualities!” They asked me what those were, I sat down. I remember leaving that meeting thankful I didn’t have a sister as any of these guys had enough seething fury to blend her up slowly in a sausage grinder.

Who were they? The dregs of society, convicts, murders, rapists, child-molesters, politicians? Possibly, but to my knowledge they were a group of professionals, such as doctors, lawyers, professors and the like.

50 years of relationship gurus, “doctors” and other assorted entities offering their various fixes for relationships. Endless books, TV shows, radio programs awash with “professionals” offering advice on how to get along. After 50 years has there been remedy? Or has the state of relationships continued to take its slow-motion plunge over the embankment unabated?

In 1887 Nietzsche’s madman stepped forward to say that God was dead. Not really dead, but just an illusion we had been laboring under to begin with, the illusion dead. Haven’t what we refer to as “relationships” gone the way of Nietzsche’s God?

To state the obvious, yes, certainly yes, inescapably yes. For many have spent large portions of their lives rummaging frantically, frenetically for this mysterious love without realizing that their quest, alas, is something akin to finding five paws on a dog.

But why should this be so? Because, of course, the two principal players in this sweaty drama, boys and girls, are programmed genetically to be on two diametrically opposed garden paths. Boys are programmed to bone everything that moves and sometimes even movement can be overlooked in a real pinch, while women are both programmed (nature) and indoctrinated (nurture) to be looking for their “soulmate”. And as many women come to find, men are neither mates, nor have souls.

The term soulmate is simply something we have concocted for ourselves, to give us solace and provide that ever important commodity that all human beings are scouring for in one form or another, hope. But I say unto thee, gentle brethren, it is an illusion like so many other superstitions and canards that we have invented for ourselves.

Ah, but let the alchemy begin. We’re going to take Joey Schlongthruster and turn him into a life long soulmate. Only problem is, in Joey’s big noggin’, all women are the same, he can’t see any difference. This “relationship” is absolutely against his hardwired nature. He feels about relationships as cats feel about water. In fact, this is one of reasons for the unbridled hatred of all 30 of the men alluded to earlier. As has been articulated by other authors before me, women never seem to have a clue as to just how pervasive and searing mens’ hatred of women really is.

So what is the current state of affairs? I saw this slogan on a tee-shirt a while back, “Women Fake Orgasms and Men Fake Relationships”. Obviously meant as a bit of raillery but close to the truth. Joey Schlongthruster does what virtually all men do; not your man ladies, of course. He plays the game, says what you want to hear, listens to all of your terribly fascinating issues and then gets the goodies, that’s it. A woman has a better chance of developing a “soulmate relationship” with one of the red bricks in her driveway. Ever notice just how many of those bricks ARE missing from driveways all around town?

And boys and girls are continuing to drift further and further apart, like astronauts whose tethers broke and are now slowly drifting further and further away from each other in cold dark space, hands and legs flailing wildly. Men with piping hot porno delivered to their doors via the airwaves, and women with their relationship, dating, talk show relationship shows, fall deeper and deeper into the abyss of relationship land. Women with electronic lovers in hand waiting for Godot and boys watching girls take it in and on the face, and then high-fiveing each other over the “victims” humiliation. “Soulmates”.

Solutions? First realize that the traditional concepts of marriage, nuclear family, long term relationships and what has now devoled into soulmates are ideals that are seldom realized -- realized successfully at least. Millions of people play the game, don’t ya know.

Briefly, what has happened to us as a species is the following. We have invented all sorts of illusions and ideals for ourselves that have nothing to do with natural law, or at least, in this case, or our own human natures. In endeavoring to invent us as something different and apart from nature we have succeeding only in crippling ourselves, slaves to endless fantasies as to what is right and wrong, what should and shouldn’t be.

Monogamy, family, nuclear at that, are a combination of religious and political notions that both serve and enable the power structure of religions, governments, and corporations. And where does psychology weigh in on all this? Where they always do, as the lap dogs and benefactors of the views and interests of the power structure. Marriage, or even long term relationships have never been inherent or natural to man. This is why they are pushed so hard in our society.

Mammals, all that man really is when you strip away all of the nonsense, are not by nature monogamous, faithful, or soulmates in any sense of the word. Various articles I’ve read state that anywhere from 95, at the lowest, to 100% of mammals are not monogamous.

My modest proposal? Realize that we are animals born and bred of this earth and nothing more. Our natures were defined by biology and evolution millions of years ago. The only real differences in us from that of other animals is that we have somewhat larger brain capacities and have developed language. Our destiny is in our biology, not our fictions and superstitions.

One caveat here. Love is real, but of course, fleeting. Romantic love is destined to die. But other forms of less lethal love certainly do exist. Love of family, friends, etc.

Rather than trying to find these Bigfoot-like soulmates, how about this: find a half a dozen people to fill the various needs in your life without trying to tie them all together in one person. And besides, I’m not available. As it exists now, we try to find that one person that will be a good husband, father, lover, money maker, bowler, movie buff, ballet companion etc. But these divergent qualities probably don’t exist in one single person. So find six different people to fill the bill. With one you go to the ballet, with another you have sex, etc. A circle or group of friends and companions in which you can find and fulfill all of your needs at different times, in different ways.

Apparently unbeknownst to many of us, we are in fact the architects of our own miseries. This arises in the various expectations that we set up for ourselves that we are seldom able to attain. Chasing this mythical soulmate is one of the best ways to add dollops of dolor to your dole. Finding different people with only one aspect in common is far easier and sets up far fewer tree-branch hanging expectations.

“Love” has become a marketable product that the mass media peddles like Corn Flakes. My objection is that, in reality, this further serves to weaken and maim people. People feel that they must have this relationship to be whole, to be complete, to be satisfied, to be happy, to be living up to their supposed potential. Nonsense!

My experiences are as follows. In my lifetime I have both had relationships and not had them, at least of a romantic, soulmate nature. I have felt little if any difference in my life one way or the other. Of course I have a personality somewhere between a Russian General and a mob hitman, but my life has gone swimmingly either way. If my life were described as a cake, the “relationship” would maybe be a little extra icing on the cake.

But how many millions (tens of millions?) of people go around with these cavernous craters in their hearts because they don’t have someone, that soulmate? What happens when you market love in this way is the same thing that occurs in other aspects of our lives. The religions do it. You are weak, small, sinning and in need of salvation. Psychology does it. You are troubled and in need of “our” therapy to get well and reach your mythical “potential.” Our Society at large does it. You are nobody, nothing, squished road kill until you make the grade financially!

All of these institutions and more are industriously instilling in you a lifelong sense of weakness, want and inadequacy. And, “you must be in love with your soulmate,” does the exact same thing. It serves to weaken and de-empower people throughout their lives. Then, once you’ve created the need, the inferiority complex, the want, then you can step up and pitch whatever you happen to be selling (God, materialism, living up to your potential or finding your soulmate). It’s all the same, just different products.

In your lifetime you will gaze numbly at millions of television commercials. Every single one of them, whether overtly or tacitly, is selling you on the idea that you lack something, are missing something and by buying their product you can overcome these depressing feelings. It’s the same with this love and soulmate business. In a lifetime you are inundated with endless mass media messages of the wonderment of love and soulmates. It’s good for business. It sells millions of screeching records of “love”, sit-coms, movies, books, you name it. And it keeps you always, always chasing. The big secret in all of this? You’re fine just the way you are, all this lack you feel throughout the many aspects of your life is simply the product of the illimitable indoctrination you’ve been receiving since birth. We are the architects of our own miseries, but we can also be our own saviors. No supernatural saviors are needed.

Soulmates, long term relationships and marriages have always been the ideals, but not the reality. Or as Lenny Bruce said, “The “what should be” never did exist, but people keep trying to live up to it. There is no “what should be,” there is only what is.” Anytime you have a species going against its own genetically generated impulses you will have nothing but endless discord, suffering in silence, play acting and faking it. Or better yet, try interesting your cat in water, or find that fifth paw on your doggie. Can’t you feel the love tonight?

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