|Near Stratford, Ontario|
May 13, 2013
We’ve all heard notions of falling love as the loss of oneself in merging with another, two souls and psyches becoming one. Over the years I’ve listened to discussions of whether this is love or infatuation or escapism or romanticitis extremis or psychotic delusion or horny ramification syndrome or one more tale we tell ourselves in yet another fit of self-aggrandizement.
T.R. Hummer’s poem, “Where You Go When She Sleeps,” presents a version of that discussion: being or falling in love is like being a child who falls into a silo full of golden oats, which bury the child. This isn’t agrarian ecstasy; it’s death. And it’s not just death, but the death of a child, one who has teetered on an edge, fallen, and been smothered by the oats he found so alluring.
Some friends and I were discussing the poem, and they—all females—were outraged that Hummer would, even if only in metaphor, exploit the death of a child for the sake of an image conveying the completeness of the speaker’s love as he ponders his lady’s hair while she sleeps. I wondered aloud if--Gary Cooper and Harley-gang appearances to the contrary--males might be more inclined toward such rhapsodic extremism than women. We idolize; women plan. It's the world's dirty little secret.
Evolutionary biologists tell us that it’s the female who does the choosing in the animal kingdom, of which we humans are a part. If that’s true, it seems to make sense that women respond more practically to potential partners as providers, fathers, reliable companions, escorts, future caretakers, and other unglamorous behaviors.
Does that mean women are less likely to fall into a silo-full of oats in the name of love? If so, is that a good thing?
In a related vein, over the years some female friends have agreed that most women need to experience loving a bastard, but only briefly and only once. Eventually women tend to choose mates more wisely. They want stability and security; it’s in their hard wiring, from chickadees to corporate lawyers.
Is that true? Is coital pragmatism what it means to grow up? If so, do men ever grow up, or do we just keep tumbling into the vast oat bins at the base of every pedestal?
Posted by Banjo52 at 8:23 PM