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Friday, June 14, 2024

Column: Got love?

If today you find yourself innocently lingering on your beloved’s Facebook page, tomorrow you might just be sitting on the ledge of his or her third-story window, hidden by the darkness of twilight. However, it’s important that you learn to display the right amount of infatuation. The rest should be locked in an impermeable safe and buried in a sandy wasteland.

So what is the “right amount”, anyway? Sadly, there is no quantified range of infatuation that is socially accepted, and even if there were, it would not reflect the preference of your dream man or gal. For these reasons, it is usually best to keep the crazy to a minimum. If you are determined to follow your darling 24 hours a day and log his or her actions, friends, potential lovers, etc. on a minute-to-minute basis, guard that notebook with your life and do not get caught!

While it is flattering to receive undue amounts of attention, an extended period of this will only cause recipients irritation, then frustration, then anger and finally an all-consuming, sanity-threatening panic. Keep in mind that by emotionally distressing your love, you are reducing your chances (by 99.9 percent). So again, if you’re going to stalk, I suggest you invest in an invisibility cloak and do it the right way – with zipped lips and in tip-top secret.

Now halt. Many things in addition to stalking might disenchant your purported soulmate. Though I have never been an honored victim of serious stalking, I have on occasion been frightened by certain hair-raising, chill-inducing wooing techniques practiced by guys who would have been great catches had they simply left the surplus gusto at home, tied, chained and completely confounded.

My first encounter with the dark side of love (aside from Shakespeare’s tragedies … or Star Wars) occurred one charming college day. The sun was shining, birds were singing and for some reason my imagination insists on implanting a couple rainbows into the picture. Upon arriving home, I threw my belongings unceremoniously onto my desk when I noticed my roommate had company…

We chatted for a bit, became friends, and for a while he remained in the periphery of my vision, in the fringe of my existence. I interpreted his incorporation into our lives as a means to get closer to my roommate, but after weeks of oblivion, a friend disclosed the shocking truth: he fancied me! Since I’m the type to immediately doubt any confession of like or love, I smiled and told myself she was kidding.

A dozen phone calls, a fancy poker set, a scented sonnet and a bouquet of artificially colored flowers later, I realized how wrong I was.

Though his attention was flattering and welcome at first, soon it wound its way around my neck like a noose, progressing into something that made me extremely uncomfortable. While this man was a perfect gentleman who abided my stalking bylaws, I am sorry to say he ruined his chances by getting a bit too ambitious in the game of love.

Thus, please remember not to force any zealous feelings on your darling. It may work for some, but most will squirm under the pressure and close their hearts and minds to your prying advances. If you’d rather not watch your love wilt like an old rose, call just once, leave only one voicemail, save the gifts for later, and either disguise your jealousy with an expensive set of acrylic paints, or toss it from the roof of the Empire State building.

“Now that I know what not to do, what exactly should I do?” you might ask, twiddling your thumbs while your thoughts twirl and tangle into an incoherent mess. The world of romance is not as romantic as it may seem – its grounds are speckled with shards of broken hearts and its dumpsters contain the recently rejected, buried among tons of flaccid flowers. If you steer clear of those dark corners where the heartbroken weep, this world will fascinate you with its glitz and glamour.

Don’t be fooled.

So how do you navigate tricky love? How do you avoid the dismal streets of depression, the ensnaring traps of jealousy, the waste bins of rejection? How do you gallop into the sunset with your dearest, wearing the smug smile of success?

Fear not, triumph is certainly within reach. There are many fish in the sea, and though some may taste sour and others may slip away or be stolen by gluttonous seagulls, you can still make a lovely catch if you keep your courage and keep on fishing.

ZENITA SINGH would love to hear what pesky problems plague your minds at zensingh@ucdavis.edu.

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