It is amazing how quickly a calm, romantic conversation on a Sunday afternoon can turn into a point of contention. And it was usually caused by the same recurring question. At first it seems like a harmless enough inquiry. It was years ago that my loved one kept turning to me every so often, and with a simple enough tone would ask me, “Why do you love me?”.
Now, had I known back then what havoc and mental anguish this question was going to cost me I’d have done the smart thing and said something like, “Do you smell smoke? I smell smoke. I better go check around… where’s there’s smoke there’s fire.” But instead, being the willing conversationalist I am, I gave it some thought and responded in what I though was a logical, yet heartfelt manner. This is how the conversation usually went…
– Why do you love me?
= I just do.
– Well, yes… but why? What is it about me that you love?
= I don’t love you for something about you. I mean, it’s not like I love you for your long hair even though I really do find long hair attractive. That’s part of it, but it’s not the reason I love you.
– Then why do you love me?
= I just do.. there’s no specific reason. I mean, I love your company, but I love you even when I can’t be with you. I love the way you’re affectionate, but I still love you even when you’re not affectionate.
– You don’t think I’m affectionate enough?
= No, that’s not what I said.
– Then what are you saying?
= I’m.. what I’m saying is that I love you for ‘you’, not necessarily for something you do or something you have that could be taken away.
– That sounds too vague. I don’t think you even know why you love me. Do you love me? Do you know that??
= Well, yes! But, okay… let’s say I were to tell you that the reason I loved you was because you really know how to cook a fantastic pot-roast. Would that make any sense? Even though I love the fact that you are a great cook, hmm?
– No, but that’s different.
= Different from what?
– Don’t avoid the question.
= Alright.. what if I said the reason I loved you was because you’re beautiful. That would be as bad as you saying you loved me because I was rich, right?
– But you’re not rich and I love you anyway.
– Yah, so okay…
– Do you know why you love me or not?
= Yes. Kind of… I mean, I know but it’s not a quantitative thing. It’s like..
– You just don’t know.
= I do know! It’s just not..
– That’s okay… you’re not even sure if you love me. Fine.
= What do you mean, ‘fine’? Why do you love me, huh? How would you answer that?
– I don’t know if I want to tell you now. You ruined the whole moment.
= I did?! It was your question, I only tried to answer it.
– You don’t seem to be trying very hard.
= Then you tell me, why do you love me? I want to hear this. Go ahead.
– Well.. sometimes, when you explain things, it reminds me of when my Dad used to explain things to me. I like that. You get all serious and focused or excited.. I like that a lot.
= But that’s not the same as telling me why you love me. Are you saying that if a brick fell on my head and I was still a nice guy but couldn’t think very deeply that you’d lose your love for me??
– No, I’d still love you.
= Well then, there you go.. see? That’s not the reason you love me because you’d love me without that quality.
– So you think people just each other for no good reason? Is that it?
= No. I think people just love a person aside from who that person is or what they get from them. Like women who love men who are mean to them. They get nothing out of it but stay devoted to them.
– You just think women are silly.
= No, men do the same thing. I’m just saying that some people you want to love and it’s not because they earned it or even deserved it… you just love that person for who they are, not for one ‘reason’ that makes you love them.
– Well.. that doesn’t sound very special.
= What do you mean?! What more special reason could there be then the fact that you know that when you love someone, you love ‘them’ because there’s no one else in the world that could be ‘them’ the way they are!
– You just don’t have an answer so you’re trying to confuse me.
= No!! Okay, a mother loves her son or daughter. Why? Because they’re good kids? Because they don’t eat much? Because.. uh, they’re a good tax deduction?? No. She loves her son or daughter and no other son or daughter could ever replace that particular person.
– That’s different. You’re not a mother, so how would you know?
= That’s not the point!!
– Don’t shout.
= I’m not shouting, I’m emphasizing!
– Then don’t emphasize!!
= But you’re not listening.
– You’re not making any sense.
= Yes I am.
– Are not.
= So… what’s for dinner?
And so, once again, the ambiguity of the female mind clashes against the brick wall of male rationale. End result? The pizza industry grows larger by yet another phone order to take care of dinner. It should seem obvious by now that there is only one real answer to the ‘Impossible Question’…
= I smell smoke. You smell smoke?? I’m gonna take a look around, just to be safe.
Henry Velez is a writer, traveler and vlogger currently living in the Philippines. He has written extensively on social issues, relationships and travel.