The last semester of my senior year of undergrad I took a prospectives course titled: Love and Friendship. A little background; I went to a really Evangelical, conservative Christian liberal arts college. Anyway, this was either a perfectly timed or poorly timed class depending on how you look at it; that semester I was falling in love huge for the first time, and this class was basically all about anecdotal, thoughtful exploration of love. The problem? I was falling in love with my best friend… a girl. So while I was having all these feelings and had the perfect outlet to discuss them, write about them, make presentations about them… I had to keep it on the DL. Embarrassingly, I think a lot of people around campus and even in that class had noticed how close I had gotten with my best friend, and I probably was doing a HORRIBLE job of keeping my feelings secret in class (especially when and if same-sex love ever came up!). I’m slightly horrified at myself but I was such a goner, I think I practically walked around campus with a HUGE glowing neon sign above my head shouting my in love status.
That relationship has since fizzled. But I still think back to that class often when I think of love, because while I was technically “learning” about love in the classroom; I was also learning about it in my dormroom! Here are the “textbooks” that I remember we used for this class:
Four Loves – C.S. Lewis
Love & Friendship – Allan Bloom
The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Graham
100 Best Love Poems of All Time – Leslie Pockell
Ah but your Land is Beautiful – Alan Patton
Peace Like A River – Leif Enger
Loves Me, Loves Me Not; The Ethics of Unrequited Love – Laura A. Smit
So Long, See You Tomorrow – William Maxwell
I still have them all!
Often, when I think of Love, or the falling in love for the first time kind of love, I dig back into those memories and pull out some gems. My best friend is falling in love for the first time. Our messages have been going something like this:
Him: random question?
Him: How do you know when you’re falling in love?
Me: that is not random… the last 5 “random” questions you’ve asked me have all been about love!
Him: ….. guilty….
Me: Here’s how you know….
My response? I went back into my memory found a few gems, dusted them off and presented them. Introducing: Natalie’s test for “in-loved-ness”:
First one from my professor in the aforementioned class. Brother Tim: Before I met Sally, I have a lot of wonderful memories. Of going to interesting places, seeing beautiful vistas… and I don’t lament that she wasn’t there with me. But now if I climb a mountain and have the most breath-taking view, and she isn’t there beside me, I feel joy but a little twinge of sadness because I just WISH she was there to share it with me! (See an amazing sunset? Wish they were there with you? You’re on the right track)
Second from 100 Best Love Poems of All Time:
The Avenue by Frances Conford (Charles Darwin’s granddaughter!)
Who has not seen their lover
Walking at ease,
Walking like any other
A pavement under trees,
Not singular, apart,
But footed, featured, dressed,
Approaching like the rest
In the sam dapple of the summer caught;
Who has not suddenly thought
With swift surprise:
There walks in cool disguise,
There comes, my heart.
(In sum, have you ever saw someone walking and didn’t realize it was your love, and then at the moment of realization you have this twitterpation that lets you know that your heart is now attached to that person? You’re getting there)
Last one! (This is just from me) If when you listen to this song you think of that special someone and feel like you’d rather stay awake than miss a moment with them… (instead of swallowing the bile in your throat while rolling your eyes like everyone else in the world) then you’re totes there! Congrats!
This might only be the test for first love. Well maybe the 3rd portion at least! On my second crack at love, I love seeing her walking toward me and feeling my heart melt a little. And I’m certain that when I am somewhere having a great time and she’s stuck in Indiana, I miss her guts! But the main reason why test is probably only for first love is that, after that, you know what it is, what it feels like, and when you find it for the second time, it feels like a brand new shirt that has the magical ability to caress your skin like a t-shirt that’s been around forever.
Feel free to use this test in the future! Just make sure I get ALL the credit! 😉