Monday, May 4, 2015

There's No Time For (Puppy) Love

When I was in fifth grade, a classmate ended up mortified when the teacher read a note the kid had written about his secret admiration for two female classmates; it reportedly ended with, "Oh, how I love _______ and ________!" He actually got off easy; word around the school was that, a previous year, another fifth grade teacher had read a similar note over the intercom, presumably to the entire student body.  After my teacher finished reading my classmate's note, he said, "The reason I do this is: This is fifth grade.  We don't have time for this..."--and then he "thumped" his chest three times--"...puppy love."

Despite the fact that it occurred over 1.5 decades ago, that incident has been bouncing around in my head over the past few days.  Why? Only because I seemingly still engage in puppy love, despite being twenty-seven years old.  This was actually a point I was going to make in the previous post, but forgot to; however, it's complex enough that it deserves its own post.  I may have talked about this a while ago, but, I've had some new insights that give me a better view of the issue.

First question is: What exactly is puppy love?  Webster defines it as "transitory love or affection felt by a child or adolescent"; when I asked my friends, they had these responses:
  • "In my opinion, it is that love of innocence when there is no real depth to the emotion."
  • "You love something unconditionally."
  • "I feel like puppy love is mostly when younger children are 'dating'. There aren't thoughts of marriage; it's more like they are best friends and just happen to be male and female."
  • "When young kids have their first boyfriend or girlfriend, and there is only a crush, not real, deep feelings."
  • "When you think you love someone, but are actually too young and/or immature to know what 'real' love is." 
I'd say all of those definitions are correct...because that describes the "romantic" feelings I've had over the years, with celebrities or anyone else.

How exactly? First off: My crushes tended to be innocent.  You've probably known an elementary school kid who had a crush on someone older; maybe a high schooler, a teacher, or even a celebrity who was old enough to be his/her parent.  In most cases, such admirations are innocent; it isn't like with the typical teenage boy, who wants nothing more than to undress any attractive female he sees.  Well, all of my crushes were like that of a third grader; maybe I dreamed of marriage--in fact, I used to tell people I was going to marry Hilary Duff one day--but I would never have looked at a woman I admired as a sex object, regardless of celebrity status or lack thereof.  As someone who was raised by women, I know how much the opposite sex hates being objectified.  It's one thing to tell a lady she is pretty--I do that to my female friends all the time--but, lascivious comments, especially to a moral woman--i.e., a Christian--could get you in serious trouble.  Even though plenty of people may be making inappropriate comments about the ladies in the entertainment world--even on the Disney Channel--I wouldn't stoop to those levels.  (If you're thinking of a certain incident, as I've said before, that comment was meant as a complete joke; I never actually wanted her to do what I said, though she seemed to think otherwise.)  I've pretty much always known that women are divinely created individuals, and deserve to be treated as such, even if the world seems to think otherwise.

Second off: I didn't always expect it to lead to marriage.  You may remember when I talked about
"Mrs. Russo," a teacher I had in high school who many male students--including me--found rather attractive.  For a while, I couldn't stop talking about her; my classmates and even people outside my school got tired of hearing about her.  One guy at my lunch table even said, "What is it with you and Ms. Russo?" However, I knew full well that Mrs. Russo was just that; a Mrs., aka a married woman (at the time, anyway).  I had no intention of stealing her from her husband; I knew such a thing was immoral.  When I heard about the "Russos" divorcing within less than two years after I graduated from high school--and less than four years since they said, "I do"--I was a bit shocked; a Facebook friend tried to tell me, "She's all yours!", but I didn't necessarily think that.  Though I did find the former Mrs. Russo on Facebook and add her as a friend--only to be rather dismayed when she denied my request--I wasn't even thinking about asking her out.  Though I admired her, I didn't want to marry or even date her...and that goes for many of my crushes, and not just real-life female friends who were married or otherwise taken.  When Nickelodeon star Victoria Justice was my number one favorite celebrity, I used to say that I hoped she never proposed marriage to me.  Yes, you read that right; I wanted no part of that.  Why? Simply this: Victoria may have been a wonderful actress, a talented singer, a great dancer, and a beautiful young lady...but, as her later career proved, our religious beliefs are incompatible.  Not only that, do we know if we have anything in common? Does she listen to music from the Disney Channel? Is she an avid bargain hunter? (Given her Hollywood elite status, probably not.) That's why I didn't want her to ask me to marry her; if she did, I'd have to turn her down, and then would likely end up publicly shamed.  It was the same with Demi Lovato, Olivia Holt, or pretty much any of the rest of them; in fact, I stopped telling people that I was going to marry Hilary Duff well before I switched to Anne Hathaway.

Third off: I tended to love things unconditionally.  No, I'm not talking about any people; didn't I just discuss about how women were not to be objectified? Instead, what I mean is this: I've always had a tendency to fixate on certain things: maybe a word, maybe a place, maybe a device, or maybe something else entirely.  Back in the late '90's, one of my friends who was going to be moving away very soon was worried because of my addiction to his Nintendo 64; he went as far as saying, "We wish we never got it, because people who don't have it would end up addicted to it!" He could only have been talking about me; the other kids in the neighborhood either had their own or rarely played his.  He didn't know about my tendency to fixate, and neither did I; in fact, I probably denied such an addiction, as I usually did back then, because I knew such a thing was not good.  I never got to play their console again, but I still remembered it and talked about it for years to come.  Such fondness smacks of infatuation, aka a crush.

It doesn't even have to be a certain physical object.  Most of you know that my hobbies are bargain hunting, technology, and, of course, entertainment; what some of you may not know is that I take them beyond hobby status, to where they're pretty much a lifestyle.  It's easy to do when you don't have children, relationships, classes, or other time-consuming things that many people my age have; though I do have a job, I only work nineteen hours a week...which gives me even more time to feed my passions.  It's not like I do nothing but shop, go online, and watch movies and TV shows.   I go to church; I work; I talk with friends, and go places with them sometimes; I study the Bible every day; and, I've even been taking a Spanish class via iTunes U.  Still, though many people enjoy the same things I do, they usually don't take it to the levels that I do.

That kind of "love" is problematic for two reasons, though: First off, that can be idolatry.  An idol doesn't have to be a celebrity or even a person of any sort; it could even be an abstract entity...such as entertainment.  Second off, and much more importantly, such "love" could seriously turn off a significant other, or even a potential one.  Many of you who are reading this are married or otherwise taken, and I'm sure you love the person you're with, and he/she loves you back...but, is he/she obsessed with you, or vice versa? Are you all he/she talks about? Is he/she all you talk about? It may seem less problematic when another person isn't involved--after all, around Y2K, Nintendo made billions from kids' obsessions with Pok√©mon--but, if you're obsessed with someone else, the object of your affection will likely exit stage left.  Even in the case of an elementary schooler admiring someone older, it could start off cute and funny, but, after a while, it'll likely get annoying; I know from experience.

Fourth off: It wasn't really love because it ended too quickly.  If you're married, and your spouse starts to show signs of age, you're not going to divorce him/her for some fresh-faced college kid, are you? Of course not; you're in it until the end! I once saw an episode of TalkBack Live on CNN where they asked the on-set audience about whether newspapers should allow people to submit obituaries for pets, and the answer was largely a resounding no.  One guy commented that, if you lose a pet, you'd just go out and get another one the next day...but, you wouldn't do that with a spouse or a child or a parent.  In our family, we didn't even do that with pets; when we tragically lost a dog to a car accident in September 1997, it wasn't until the end of the school year that we ended up getting another one.  When we lost that one in December 2001, a friend gave us hers soon after...but my mom couldn't take it; getting another dog that soon was just way too sad for her, so, she ended up giving it back.  As you can tell, she has always loved her pets.

However, when it comes to my supposed "crushes," I sometimes have been too quick to turn on them.  I used to brag about how my thing for Hilary Duff lasted 2.5 years, which was an eternity compared to most high school relationships...but, some people told me that if my heart was really in it, I wouldn't have ditched her for Anne Hathaway or anyone else.  Even with real life crushes, I've sometimes gone from singing their praises to seemingly despising them, sometimes over absolutely nothing! So what if one of my female friends gets engaged or happens to one-up me? If I truly care about them...that shouldn't matter!  In an actual relationship, such behavior could lead to heartbreak; seriously, how sad would you all be if your spouse or significant other walked out on you over something completely paltry? It's time to put such behaviors behind me.

Okay, now for my conclusion: Though I know my readers vary in age, I'm pretty sure that most of you are well past elementary school.  So, let me ask you this: If you were the same age you are now, but were single--if you aren't already--would you want to date a fifth grader? Of course not; that probably sounds as appealing as a Barney and Friends marathon.  However, that right there is the most likely reason why I can't get a date; I may be twenty-seven years old, but, in right many ways, I'm still in elementary school.  If a single person was looking to adopt a kid, he or she would contact an adoption agency, not go out on a date.  One thing I've learned about my condition is that, though my psychological changed are delayed, they're just like others' in that they happen on their own.  At some point, I may be an adult socially...but, since I'm nearly thirty and am only about a third of that socially, it could be a long time before that ever happens.

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