Today I shall pretend to be an expert on “love” and shall attempt to give a discourse on the subject, focusing on the affliction in the early years of life. My credentials, you ask? Have I ever behaved erratically around girls? Have I been compelled to do something stupid which is as embarrassing today as it was then? Have I tortured flowers by plucking their petals ? (“she loves me, she loves me not”). Did my dad ever talked to me about the phone bill? Have I contributed to deforestation with all the failed love poems crumpled in the waste bin? Has my heart ever ached? Did the power of speech ever leave me? (Err, Em…Ah…That is… I mean…). Yes to all the above, which is why I believe I am qualified.
This is the earliest manifestation of the ailment. Wikipedia says, “Puppy love is an informal term for feelings of love between young people, especially during adolescence, so-called for its resemblance to the affection that may be felt towards a puppy dog.”
I beg to disagree with Wikipedia. I think the term merely means a love between two extremely young and immature kids who don’t know better yet. What I mean is that when we are very young, our knowledge of the world is constantly expanding and growing bigger. We might fall “in love” with someone until we realise there’s more fish in the sea. For example, I may only have tried vanilla or chocolate ice cream and decide I “love” vanilla. Later I discover Baskin & Robbins, Ben & Jerry etc and I forget vanilla and chase after pistachio almond fudge instead. (Actually, in real life, I still actually love vanilla ice cream. I am faithful to my first ice cream flavor).
Okay, to summarise:- Puppy love does not last because it’s like making a choice from the appetisers section because you haven’t yet seen the whole menu.
Wikipedia says, “Limerence, as posited by psychologist Dorothy Tennov, is an involuntary cognitive and emotional state in which a person feels an intense romantic desire for another person (the limerent object). Limerence can often be what is meant when one expresses “having a crush” on someone else. It is characterized by intrusive thinking and pronounced sensitivity to external events that reflect the disposition of the limerent object towards the individual”
I think a crush is when one of the puppies (see above) dumps the other puppy because she realises how cool the leader of the pack is. She likes it when the alpha dog shows her attention. The huge age gap does not matter. Alpha dog is just the greatest creature that ever lived. But this cannot end well because when the alpha dog runs with the pack, the puppy just can’t keep up. She’s still got some growing up to do.
By the time, she comes to her senses, puppy love has discovered pistachio almond fudge and moved on. This leads to an important cross-road in life. She can either choose to be like Avril Lavigne and write angry young woman angst or she can seek comfort in the collective sorrow of country music.
As we mature, we actually take a few steps back. I think in puppy love and crush stages, we actually care about the whole person. For example, alpha dog cannot do wrong. He’s got good fashion sense; he’s cool, he’s kind, he’s the smartest, he’s everything you ever wanted to bring home to meet mom.
Infatuation is going backwards; it’s not about the whole person. Some may say focused; others, more shallow. The afflicted will spend hours day-dreaming about his or her nose; or some other superficial physical feature that has tugged the heart strings. Maybe this is “desire” or “passion” learning how to crawl. Okay, I confess, my very first infatuation was with someone’s hair.
Infatuation is empowering. It makes you feel that you have supernatural powers. You can slow down time and watch her hair move from side to side in slow-motion. It makes you invisible (or so you think, until her mother catches you in the bushes) as you stalk her with your camera to take her photo. It gives you super energy that you are willing to cycle 10 kilometers to her neighborhood.
Unfortunately, the kryptonite in this scenario is when you realise that the hair is attached to other less attractive parts and the final straw is when you discover she thinks basketball (your other true love) is boring.
Thankfully for everyone and especially parents, we then progress into remission and go through a period of staying away from the “stupid” other sex.
This concludes my discourse on “love ….the early symptoms,” as told by a squirrel and illustrated with dogs.