blanket generalizations

I don’t believe in love at first sight between a man and a woman.  A parent and child, yes.  Your hairdresser who always makes you feel Diva, okay.  Jeans that make your ass look tight and your thighs look delicious, well duh.  With your new puppy-breath dog, hells yes.  But with a man, it’s just flat out pathologic.  It’s Sinatra singing Just The Way You Look Tonight in the background. 

And still there I was, convinced.  Had I owned an answering machine, I’d have changed the outgoing message to play, “Today I met, the boy I’m gonna marry.”  And people everywhere would look at their hand receivers to check if they dialed the right number.  I hate answering machines; it means you actually have to call people back.  It’s added work and more items on the to-do list.  Yuck.  If you don’t catch me, and it’s important, you can call back. 

I have boxes of back-stocked history on lined paper, letter upon letter from previous boyfriends, and they all say the same thing.  “Always and forever,”  “I’m so sorry,”  “I always want you in my life.”  Then they’re signed with initials.  The letters are hand-written with care, the words plotted, and yet, the letters close with impersonal initials.  “I love you so much, and I am sorry… for everything.  Love, GR”  What the hell is that?  You’re not endorsing a check.  You can’t put your full name in there?  Initials are wretched in the name of love.  What else are you going to cut short?

I should have known better.  Love doesn’t happen in six months; it happens over time, over the flu, and wardrobe malfunctions, over ‘rhea, and “I don’t know if this will work” fights.  It happens without makeup, after you meet parents, and deal with the fact that his mother doesn’t think you’re right for him.  You don’t really know someone until you’ve had a summer, until you’ve survived Patron and awkward moments with an ex-girlfriend.  Until you’ve survived disappointment and given up all your outs, all your safety blanket boyfriends



  1. Stephanie — sOOooo damn right. your insight never ceases to amaze me. you've inspired me to start blogging (again). i hope to meet you one day — maybe at a book signing. *W

  2. I distrust anyone who says "always and forever"; at least, I disparage their judgment. Love, to me, is second-by-second; it's the stilled frame of a hummingbird's wing. Yes, the wings will usually fall, and then rise again, but what if there's stray machine-gun fire?

    Strangely enough, I can see myself signing a painful breaking-up letter with my initials. (Definitely not a love letter, though.)

    Initials at the end of a relationship-ender letter seem fitting. After so many words spent trying to craft an idea, weave it out of smoke and cotton, stitch a relationship back together with air, words don't work. They seem to take up too much space; they're like clutter on the stairs, something to trip over, in the way. I'd just want to disappear.

    The initials at the bottom would be small, because I'd be a different person by then; I wouldn't be the same Anna they'd known, and I couldn't sign a breaking-up letter with my own name. Perhaps it's the last apology I could ever make, that my words were not enough.

  3. Stephanie, I am a daily reader of your site and admire your style and certainly your honesty. Have you heard of the Proust Survey? Most people know of it today, because it's the "last page" in each edition of Vanity Fair. Check it out here for the real version:
    It would be so interesting to read what your answers would be. As a fellow list-maker, I have taken great joy in filling it out, once as a 23-year old. I'll do it again, years from now to see how the answers have (or have not) changed.
    All the best to you.

  4. I disagree.

    I think when you get in to relationships of "convenience" over time you grow attached to the person, or you grow accustom to the idea of possibly loving the persona and in the end you are more so in love with the idea rather than the person.

    To quote a romantic scientist I once knew "Romance is a total random series of chemical reactions" Hence forth the theory that some people are simply more compatible regardless of race, creed, religion or income bracket.

    However seeing as how so many can not get out of this caste system we impose via "the rules" or terms society dictates upon us….most people never give love a chance.

    Thus I can't help but feel the illusion of love permeates our society and as a result I see so many miserable people who claim they are in love.

    Being in love is just so wonderful and a currency which I feel is too far undervalued, and so often mislabeled.

    Not to get too far off the beaten path…however…once you've truly fallen in love…the term "forever" gains new grander and meaning ,when spoken in relevance to that whom you so dearly treasure.

    But what do I know…after all I never sign my full name….always my 1st 2 initials and my last name.(or a pseudo name) Where does that put me?

  5. I keep those letters, too. They make me feel alternately smug, wistful and joyous.

    Blog on, sister.

  6. I love how love='rhea for you. Too funny :)

    You haven't loved someone until you've dealt with their shit, figuratively and literally.

  7. I know that I am squeemish to survive those stages, yet I want the REAL THING so desperately.

    A catch-22 if there ever was one.

  8. I agree wholeheartedly… If you can't love someone at their worst, you really don't love them at all.

    This, coming from someone who used to not believe in love.

  9. I feel that recent posts are tracking my relationship and I sort of hate it (if only because it makes me deal with it more). This one made me feel better though. I think. I am in love at six months. Do I wait to see how long it will take him to figure it out for himself? Maybe it does take all those things to know. Sigh.

  10. I wonder if there's a company that produces break up letters for guys. All they have to do is fill in a form, and a letter is sent out with all the usual phrases – not so much a letter in my case, more a phone call or a conversation. Are they reading from a script or something?

  11. No, but I'm fairly sure that if you google for long enough, you can probably find some. And if you pass them along to any of my future ex-boyfriends, they'll be trouble.

  12. Aren't there break up letter tempelates in the latest update for the MS service pack???

  13. For a change, I disagree. I think you can have love at first site. Trick is, can you keep it thru all the shit you mentioned? Initials? Don't get that either. Sometimes, it could be a nickname thing. Term of endearment. But I'll tell you this. I think Sublimation may be my all-time favorite post. That and funnel cake/celery.



  14. I believe in lust not love at first sight. Love at first sight reminds me of people who have absolutely zero spiritual connection who say, oohhh, I just met my soulmate, without having a clue what a soulmate is.

    besides, love, like life, unfolds, deepens, changes, plays hide and seek, and is both difficult and delightful.

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