writings about
walking around
the prom
moving forward
We don't talk enough about rejecting raw, animalistic attraction, about exerting reason to make the willful
decision to decline to act on it.

It's portrayed in movies and other stories as "love at first sight", as a sort of pinnacle of love, as something
to which all else must bend. The characters in its thrall are powerless to resist it. A character may
initially protest and attempt to remain on course (be it their career, or long-set future plans, or even
impending nuptials to someone else) but will ultimately throw all caution to the wind and up-end their entire
life in order to embrace it.

Rare are the stories of two people colliding in a burst of incredible attraction only for one or both of them to
opt for self-control and not leave their spouse, or not forgo their dream job, or not cancel their wedding.
Only "Once" comes immediately to mind, which (spoiler alert) ends with the young man leaving town to pursue his
dream and the young woman reuniting her husband (even after, when the young man asked her if she loved her
husband, she said "No, I love you" in untranslated Czech).

Four years into my marriage I met someone at a conference who completely took my breath away. So I kept my
distance for the duration and then went home to my wife. I didn't decide that this sudden rush and starry eyes
meant that this new attraction was a truer love and that I was morally obligated to pursue it. That's not
laudable; that's the bare minimum baseline for honoring your marriage vows.

I have tried to impart this to my own children, but I worry that the message is not common in Western culture.
stupid boy, 03/17/22

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