Taylor Maguire ’24
They don’t tell you when you’re a kid that love is depressing. When you’re five, you start watching movies that project the happily-ever-after trope, and as you continue on through middle school, your curiosity grows on the concept. Then high school rolls around, and you listen to music that praises the pretty girls with dead hearts or songs about the boy whose car was keyed after he cheats. You listen to your parents spew nasty words at each other, and you break up with your high school boyfriend over text, causing the delicate curtain of romance to slowly dissolve before your sixteenth birthday. But when you get to college, the curtain of romance is ripped off the rod entirely, and you can’t help but feel like the creators at Disney purposely pushed your little heart towards failure.
College is a world full of the newly broken-hearted. Some people attempt to patch up their pain in order to mask the wounds caused by their high school sweethearts, while others wreak havoc on the opposite sex as an ode to the girl who broke their heart months earlier.
The options for lovers are limited. Most put on an entire play-like performance in order to convince you they’re not the douchebag you know they are. They say they like poetry and want to study Russian and comment some bullshit about the color of your eyes to distract you from what they are. But they’re all horrible actors. As each new lover steps into your life, you come to realize the snippets of intimacy you shared a few nights earlier are no more special than the cheap carnival toy you won during a ring toss game.
Watching your friends fall in love is depressing. Watching you lose yourself to love is depressing. Infatuation feels like a parasite crawling into your brain, constantly whispering the names of your lovers on repeat. The parasite compels you to only spew out the same stories about the one you have knighted as the flavor of the month, and suddenly you become a broken record rather than a person. The three-in-the-morning hook-up stories that you swap like foreign currency with your friends over cheesy eggs reveal themselves to be the same story in a different font. The lovers that play the main characters of these fables are the ones who have funny caterpillar eyebrows and giant noses. They stroll around campus wearing the Vineyard Vines shirt their mom bought them last Christmas, or in terrible skinny jeans, and you can’t help but think, “What a jackass,” when you spot them. When you first meet them, infatuation dresses them up in the costume of desire, but as time goes on, their cartoonish qualities become more animated, and your friends say, “Don’t look now, but Stuart Little’s doppelganger has entered the building,” and collectively everyone can’t help but think, “That’s the guy you talked about at breakfast?” as you cringe against their gaze.
The worst part is when you see those same people strolling through the cafeteria in Ray making a sandwich that brutal Sunday afternoon after kissing them in some basement party the night before. Sometimes an awkward glance will be exchanged and you both will act as if they never cried on your bathroom floor. But that’s just the puppy love we’ve come to yearn for.