Thursday, February 2, 2012

Easy Lover

"Do you fall in love easily?"

I'm not often rendered speechless, but this question threw me for a loop.

I was on a lunch date at the Yard House in Summerlin outside of Vegas, with a local who I'd only known for less than three days, who'd offered to take me out hiking and to feed me first.

He really cut to the chase. He asked a lot of questions and listened to my readily-provided answers.

But with this question, he waited patiently while I stammered.

"Do I. Fall in love. Easily?" I recited back to him, considering each clause individually.

Do I fall in love...at all? Yeah, I guess so.

Do I do it...easily? I don't know.

What does "easily" mean? Quickly? Often? With little resistance? Of the people that I have loved, or think I've loved, or do love, in some way or another I resisted at first. In one case, it took years before I felt love. And in no case was loving them ever easy.

Besides, the question felt like a test. Falling in love easily doesn't seem like a good thing - if I said yes, I might seem so capricious to also fall out of love easily - but admitting not falling in love easily might suggest an impenetrable fortress not worth pursuing. If I won't fall in love easily with you, why bother? And if I will fall in love easily with you, how can you trust it?

I'd mentally wedged myself into an inescapable mental conundrum, so instead of answering, I dodged the question.

"Well, I can say that I've never loved anyone who's loved me back." Once I'd said it, I realized that my admission might be ever so much worse than answering the question that had actually been asked.

"It's tough," my date said. "Because you can't choose who you love --"

"And you can't --"

"--Force someone to love you," we said in unison.

I didn't fall in love that day, on that date, despite all of the attention he paid to me and all of the affection he bestowed on me.

And he didn't fall in love with me, despite how refreshing he said I was and how passionately he kissed me goodbye before I drove back to LA.

And now, he knows the answer to one of the first questions he ever asked me, the night we first met: "Why aren't you married?"

Because it just never happened. No one ever fell in love with me easily. No one ever wanted to marry me.

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