Why We Love

“There’s no bad reason to love someone.” – Stephen Elliot from The Daily Rumpus email “Rumblings” 02/06/11.

Is that the proper way to cite an email? Where are my damn handbooks… now which one is appropriate for a personal blog? APA, Chicago or MLA? Fuck it. I’m being too sensitive, I know. But if you’d been crashing your way through Human Subjects, IRB, NIH and Social/Behavioral Protocol Certifications on this particularly beautiful Oakland Sunday, you’d be overly sensitive too.

I am reading Why We Love for class. I have to come up with a couple discussion questions for our next meeting. I really hate this book. Ok, ok, I don’t hate it, it just makes me uncomfortable. Like heeby-jeeby, have to stand up and shake it off kind of uncomfortable. It’s not just that the way the author describes love is super creepy to me, but the way in which we have no choice in the matter. She is attempting to normalize and naturalize possession and obsession and binary gender based expressions of those, in my opinion unhealthy and fear based actions. It’s a TRIP. She constructs lust, romantic love and attachment as expressions of separate chemical process in the brain.

The book is both hetero- and mono- normative. And there are a lot of ‘I’ statements from the author though out the text. It’s a great big hodge-podge of social and behavioral science, evolutionary psychology, neuroscience, sociology and I want to say just straight up apology. I clearly do not fit in Fisher’s model. So I keep thinking, who is she describing? What specific subset of the current US population is she using to make these sweeping claims that not only apply to all of humanity, but animals as well? How many exceptions does it take to disprove a rule? And for the record I started thinking about that way before Malcolm Gladwell worked his voodoo on Gen X. Just sayin’. Read A Feeling for the Organism: The Life and Work of Barbara McClintock and then we can really have a conversation about exception.

Last night my date and I curled up on my couch, oh and speaking of my couch, that comfy fucker deserves a blog of her own. Seriously. If those cushions could write Fisher and the like would be outclassed in a heartbeat… But anyway.

We were talking about opening up and evasive tactics and the fear of being tied down. Of being too smart for your own good, but maybe just smart enough to do good for society. About the macro and micro levels of connection. I’m an extrovert who enjoys confrontation via bubble popping, she’s an introvert who likes to do the one-on-one everything is ok thing. We’re both geeky as fuck, and very very cute.

Stephen’s one liner about love is absolutely terrifying to me. At first it’s comforting, like ya, silly rabbit what are you so worried bout? Then all of a sudden falling in love turns into a Nike commercial. Wait five seconds and my hackles raise as the rush of oh hell no’s arrive front and center. Sorry, but there are lots of bad reasons to love somebody- Fisher’s book is full of them. But, Stephen knows all that too. That’s why he wrote it. He’s talking to those of us wound a little too tight in the falling in love department. Our mechanisms are a little too rusty, clogged with bad experiences, childhood abandonment issues, whatever. He’s talking to those of us who would never in a million years be accepted into Fisher’s study.

Why We Love
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  • http://www.shesamarxist.wordpress.com Sycorax

    I wanted to read this book but flipped through it and had a suspicion it was probably filled with essentialism and functionalist claims about human behavior. Interesting post thnx for the review! Cool blog!