In his monumental work “Amores,” the prolific Ovid wrote poem after poem dedicated to finding love, keeping love and getting rid of love when it became tiresome. The whole process began with the sharp prick of an arrow from sly Cupid’s bow ” what we dreamily now call “love at first sight.” The love poet even chastised the mischievous cherub, saying, “Cupid, no words can match my indignation – why hurt me, when I’ve never left your colors?” Read: being shot with an arrow full of angsty love wasn’t a whole lot of fun back then, either. Although, we have come to regard the Cupid myth as exactly that (although most condom commercial writers haven’t gotten the memo yet), the concept of love at first sight remains the same, even some two thousand years later.
Even the most die-hard evolutionists must admit that we haven’t come very far where falling in love is concerned. The typical scenario first begins when paths are crossed with some painfully attractive person, and (if you’re me) instantly wondering how he would feel about a fall wedding. And of course it wouldn’t be fun without the head games that follow after that first encounter. They mostly consist of an instant plummet in self-esteem (even though your mom insists you’re a catch), followed by an obsessive-compulsive attention to hygiene and appearance with several showers necessary each day, accompanied by a manic scrutinization of every single past encounter with that person, including the times you drove by his house just to see if his car was there (and if his pesky girlfriend’s was there too).
Suffice it to say that falling in love is painful and usually embarrassing. Ovid himself felt scorned by the town as “the fellow scorched by Cupid’s flame.” You become silly and breathless, taken to planning out every conversation the two of you may ever have and how irresistible you’ll make yourself. You make the wise decision to skip class in order to avoid looking “brainy” and better spend that time getting highlights, waxes and mani-pedis. You watch the Oxygen network far too much and buy a second copy of “When Harry Met Sally” because you wore your first one out.
But then again, how do we really know that it’s love? Most of us could get butterflies from many painfully attractive people. Of course, when said people open their mouths and let forth any of the following: know-it-all-ness, verbal diarrhea, arrogance, stupidity, etc., the stomach starts to churn those butterflies into vomitous matter.
Love is definitely not when the object of affection asks if you have your tickets – to the gun show (with a furious flexing of the biceps), or spends most of the conversation staring at your roommate who just had to wear that push-up bra.
Given all these detriments to love, it seems amazing that we ever even achieve it. But it does happen, and even if the first sight does make you want to hide in the bathroom at Downtown Brew until your best friend swears he’s gone, things can change completely with a stealth shot by Cupid. The best course of action is to remain calm, conspicuously clean your arrow wound and elicit just the right mix of coyness, guile and charm, with a side of intelligence and wit. And try to refrain from asking if he prefers lemon chiffon or hazelnut mousse for wedding cake flavors.
Janice Edman is an English senior and a Mustang Daily columnist.