I have a problem that my friends often make fun of me for, and that is praising the girls I date. That was confusing; let me start over. I have a problem, which is that when I start dating a girl, and people ask me about her, I tend to speak of said girl of the moment (we’ll think of her as Girl A) in rather, well, flattering terms. If someone asks, “How’s the girlfriend?” I say, “She’s awesome.” The problem arises when things go south with Girl A, we break up, an appropriate amount of time of being single passes, and I move on to the next girl (Girl B). This is where the so called issue arises, because it is at this point that my friends do things like ask, “How’s the girlfriend?” but now “the girlfriend” is Girl B, so when I respond, “She’s awesome,” they start to say things like, “You say that every time you start dating someone.”
Well sorry if I only date awesome girls. Next time I’m in the market for a girlfriend, you know what I’ll do? I’ll go find someone who’s just plain average, and when people ask, “How’s the girlfriend?” I’ll say, “Oh, not bad, not bad, could be better, but you know.”
Admittedly when this was first pointed out to me I thought maybe there was a problem with the way I spoke about the girls in my life. I mean, my friends were right, I did praise each new girlfriend so much that it was sometimes hard for them to tell how serious each relationship was in relation to one another. What I later realized was that it wasn’t my fault for being excited about each new girlfriend; that’s natural. The issue was that there simply isn’t any way to easily compare how you felt about Girl A to how you feel about Girl B.
The way I see it, in general I’ve used a set (and many other people I know have used a pretty similar set) of about five possible catagories for girls I’m interested in. These roughly come out to look like this:
Level 1: “She’s cute” – I find her somehow physically and/or mentally attractive, and other than that don’t think too much about it. She might have potential to move up on the scale but that’s yet to be seen.
Level 2: “I have a crush on her” – She’s proven that there are merits to her besides simple attractiveness and I’m ready to start making some small advances and seeing how it goes.
Level 3: “I like her” – The more I get to know this girl the more I’m sure she’s relationship material. At this point I’m probably ready to make a serious move.
Level 4: “I like her…A LOT” – If we’re not already dating something must be wrong, because I can’t get this girl out of my mind!
Level 5: “I love her” – Enough said.
Or is it enough said? Because I think this is where the problem lies. Love is a tricky word, because it really conveys a much wider range of emotion than one word can handle. I love my family, I love my girlfriend, I love music, I love shoes, I love sushi and I love lamp; all of these statements are true, none of them mean the same thing. People get that, though. If I tell you, “I love my mom,” and “I love my cat,” you (hopefully) realize that the word love has a different meaning in each of those two sentences. The problem arises when I say, “I love (Girl A),” and “I love (Girl B),” because you’ve mentally equated them as being equivilent. I might love Girl B two or three times as much as I love Girl A, but there’s no easy way to convey that.
It was in discussing this issue that I realized there was a simple solution to this problem: a unit, or units of measurement to measure love. Sure, you could argue all day about how love is an emotion and cannot be quantified, just like how you can’t measure happiness or sorrow, or whatever, and while technically that’s true, a unit of measurement for love could at least give us something to work with, so that when I say, “I love you,” and, “I love lamp,” I can at least give you an estimation of how much I love you compared to lamp (very little, lamp is amazing).
In thinking of how to measure love many ideas came to mind. Dandelions, starlit drives, roses: any number of things could be a unit of love. My mind being what it is, I thought of things like love songs and symphonies (and even more specifically, Death Cab for Cutie albums as a possible unit), but none of those things pleased me. As I thought on this, it was my girlfriend (Girl B…no wait, now I’m just being confusing) who came up with the answer: love should be measured in kittens!
And it makes sense. While kittens don’t have the same effect on everyone, most people go ga-ga for kittens. You put a kitten in a room full of surly lumberjacks and suddenly everyone is arguing over who gets to brush “princess muffins’s” fur. If you need proof of how awesome kittens are, look at the popularity of lolcats and tell me kittens aren’t a pretty much universal symbol for love already.
So the next time you go from Girl A to Girl B (or Guy A to Guy B for all you lady readers), you can tell your friends, “Oh, I love (Girl B) a thousand kittens! I only loved (Girl A) a couple hundred. See?”
HelloLion is a contributing writer for projectgroupthink. Follow us on twitter @pgtblog, for great justice!