Love songs filter through the radio. Wants and needs and desires and lusts tugging at my heart, my soul, my loins.
In the darkness of the movie theater, I watch as forbidden lovers tear each other apart with their eyes. They are falling, falling, falling, all of them. In love, out of love, passionately, voraciously, hungrily.
I sit in the cool of the dermatologist’s office, a pile of trashy and not-so-trashy magazines offer me a million different ways to find love, stay in love, make love.
It’s what we want. All of us.
Dress to feel good about yourself, they say. Get in shape for a healthier you, they attest. Do it for yourself, not anyone, else, they smirk.
They wink and they nod and we wink, and we nod right back. Tongues firmly planted in our cheeks.
We are encouraged to slim down, buff up, nip, tuck, smile pretty. We want shiny hair, sparkly teeth, big boobs, tight asses, smooth skin, long legs, short skirts.
We need to be seen, to be noticed, to be desired, to be envied, to be liked, liked, liked.
And it works! All this buffing and curling and nipping and tucking and pouting and smiling. We are liked! Not just by a few, but by many. So so many.
They look, and they swipe to the right and they thumbs up and they smile right back.
They fall fall into us. Just like in the movies, just like in the songs, just like in the trashy and not-so-trashy magazines.
And it’s good. It’s so so good.
We look up and look down and swipe right and swipe left until we find the prettiest smile, the tightest ass, the sharpest dressed.
And we fall, and they fall and it’s good, so fucking good that we can’t stop.
We fall even harder, into marriage, babies, white picket fences, lovable mutts burying bones in the backyard.
Until one day, we stop falling. It’s over now and, boy, are we thrilled. We can finally stop all that working out and smiling pretty and trimming and toning and touching up. Because lord knows it was never for us.
We’ve fallen, and we’ve gotten up, and now, finally, finally we’re there.
And then one day, when the fog of new love and motherhood and suburban bliss has lifted, we turn on the radio again, we go back to the movies, we make an appointment at the dermatologist’s office, just to see, just to check, just to gloat.
Because surely we have won. We must have won. Please, fucking tell me that we’ve won.
We take out our Facebook pictures and our cute kid videos and our loving anniversary cards, and we hold them up against all those electric love songs and sweeping romance movies. We hold them high above our heads like a banner, a flag, a trophy. Say something, we scream. Say anything, we howl.
Look at us! We’ve won, we’ve won, we’ve won!!
We flip through the magazines looking for the articles about us, the lucky ones, the winners, the ones who can stop agonizing about the right shade of lipstick and how to get flat abs in five days or less. We sit in the dark movie theaters waiting for scenes of family game nights and stretch-marked bellies. We turn on the radio listening for songs extolling the glory of getting along with our in-laws and making the perfect Minecraft birthday cake. Only there’s no one making movies about us, no one singing about us, no one writing about us.
Because it’s the falling, not the fall that counts. The wanting and desiring and lusting that are extolled. The primping and the prepping and the aching and the taking of love that counts. The sweet, creamy icing, not the wholesome carrot cake underneath that makes us feel good.
How can we ever enjoy that cake when the rest of them are out there licking the icing, letting it drizzle down their rouged cheeks, over their silicone breasts, between their squat-toned thighs?
How can we be happy with our comfortable Friday movie nights when they’re still out there “Doing it and doing it and doing it well”?
How can we ever hear another song or watch another movie or read another magazine without feeling left out of the only thing that ever really mattered.
“I want it. I need it. I have to have it.”