Loving a little is like drinking, it’s easier to breathe.
It’s enough to look at each other and then
come closer a little, and never let go.
To be afraid, no no!
Loving a little is like blooming a little.
It helps you know, not to die without hiding,
showing it is possible to escape loneliness.
I just finished season two of “Master of None”, which is basically Aziz Ansari’s master class on unrequited love. I devoured it over the span of two days. The fact that it’s mostly shot in New York, the aesthetic, the style, the dialogue, most of it speaks to me. The jokes and the humor aside, the way the show is wired runs parallel to how I think and that makes me as if my voice is given life. This season’s focal point is about Dev’s infatuation with Francesca, a pasta maker from Modena. What “Master of None” holds in its own class is the ability to make a true 30 minute episodic show, yet still have an overarching theme. This is romantic comedy at its finest, and if Ansari is the professor for this class on unrequited love, I feel like I’m qualified enough to be a TA.
The best three dates I’ve been on in recent memory have been with women who are in some way or another unavailable. It’s not like I set out to do this, it just happened. It’s also not as if I had some hidden agenda spending time with these women. They’re all friends of mine, we met under no pretense, and we became friends under no pretense. I knew that they had significant others, in fact, we actually talk about them quite often. Maybe it’s because the possibility of romance was never in the picture, but our conversations were unguarded and revealing. I’ve long prided myself on my ability to separate physical intimacy and emotional intimacy and that worked, but there was no denying that I became more emotionally attached to them than I should have been. Not that anything happened, not that I wanted anything to happen, but I think it’s inevitable that when you get that emotionally intimate that quickly, there has to be chemistry.
But, but, liking each other no—
To take part in this is difficult, almost like flying.
How many obstacles, how much suffering, discouragements and tears
in order to become us, really us?
United, indivisible, close together, but unattainable.
Passion is easy, falling head over heels for someone is simple. All it takes is attraction and impulse. If you know me at all, that’s a pretty low barrier of entry for me. My brash, cavalier, and generally impetuous attitude towards life has been as much my undoing as well as my greatest boon. When it comes to the beginning parts of dating, I love it. There’s not much thinking, it’s just act and react, live and let live, and that’s right in my wheelhouse. What I’m terrible at converting that to something lasting. ‘Amarsi un po’, loosely translated from Italian means “love each other a little”. The song tells us how easy and great it is to be in passionate, romantic love, how it changes how we experience the world. It also warns that lasting love, liking each other, simply being with each other is hard, nigh impossible. It’s the title of the penultimate episode of the season, and painful to watch if you’ve been in the same situation.
Like I’ve mentioned many times, I’m not good at going from the romantic phase to the platonic and romantic phase of relationships. What I realized though, is that the women that I have real chemistry with, it’s come from the reverse. Once I get settled in with the emotional intimacy, the being, the normalcy, the actual wanting to spend time together to attack the ennui of every day life, it’s hard for me to shake the thought of that person. That’s what it was like with Daisy, and that’s what it was like with those three dates. You couldn’t really qualify them as dates, because again, no romantic pretense, no real planned activity, it was just time spent together, well, time spent together with food. Those “dates” were one of those things where the seconds, minutes, and hours would just start to blend together, where our conversations would wander on our whims, where the pauses weren’t awkward, where the silences weren’t a burden to be borne. The silences were just simply a beat as natural as anything else, and they held as much significance as the words we spoke, the music we listened to, or the food that we ate.
Maybe it’s misfortune that these women are all taken, or maybe it’s just a calamity of my own making. I can’t do this thing forwards, I can’t do this thing in reverse either. I’m perpetually stuck at one end or the other, not knowing how to take that inertia to the other side. I know I’m not going to do anything stupid, I’m not the guy to sabotage anyone or any relationship. The only sabotage I commit to is self-sabotage apparently.
There’s this beautiful shot at the midway point of the season of “Master of None”, where Dev is being driven back to his apartment in his Uber alone. He has the dawning realization of what’s happening to him, of the painful path that he’s about to go on, and he just can’t help himself. It’s this long drawn out three minute shot without any dialogue, and I can’t tell you how exquisitely it captured so many of the feelings I’ve been going through the past few weeks. It’s the equivalent of marching headlong into romantic purgatory but you can’t stop yourself, and at the same time you know you lack either the self-control to lift yourself out of said purgatory, or to sink to the immorality to completely give into temptation.
Instead I just get stuck, because at the end of the day these women make me feel connected and they keep me from floating off into existential oblivion. As someone who can spend too much time living in his own head, these women take me out of it. And if that right girl is out there, I for sure know that she isn’t a figment of imagination in my head. In the mean time, if I’m going to be out there, I might as well be out there in good company and eating fantastic food.
Well, at least I can manage the eating part, that’s the least complicated part of all of this.
Feelings and food are always a good pairing right?