Funny You Should Say That! Mad About You
Pondering the language of love.
By John Cadley
Ah, the language of love...
SHE: You never say, “I love you.”
HE: I don’t say it because you already know it.
SHE: How do I know it when you never say it?
HE: Because if you didn’t, you’d say something.
SHE: I am saying something.
HE: You’re saying I don’t say it. You’re not saying I don’t feel it.
SHE: How do I know you feel it if you don’t say it?
HE: Because saying it isn’t feeling it. I say a lot of things I don’t feel. I say, “I love meatloaf.” That doesn’t mean I have feelings for meatloaf.
SHE: So I only know your feelings are real if you never tell me what they are. And if you tell me, I would be a piece of meatloaf.
HE: No, if I said them only because you wanted me to, they wouldn’t have any meaning.
SHE: So “I love you” can only mean something when you don’t say it?
HE: I do say it. Just not in those words.
SHE: What words do you use?
HE: Well, like…“Hey, honey, let’s go play a round of golf.”
SHE: You’ve never asked me to play golf.
HE: Yeah, but that’s the kind of thing I would say.
SHE: Then why don’t you?
HE: Because you don’t play golf.
SHE: So you’re saying, “Let me pretend I want to share my life with you by asking you to do something I know you won’t do so I can feel good about doing it without you.” How does that say, “I love you”?
HE: It’s an example.
SHE: Give me something real.
HE: I say, “Let’s watch a movie.”
SHE: That’s companionship.
HE: I say, “Let’s go out to dinner.”
SHE: That says you’re tired of my cooking.
HE: I say, “Let’s get romantic.”
SHE: That says you’ve got one thing on your mind.
HE: See? I say it. You’re just not hearing it.
SHE: Because you’re not saying it! You think you’re saying it.
HE: If I think I’m saying it, then I am. You don’t think you’re going to say something and then say something else. You don’t think you want a cheeseburger and then ask for a bologna sandwich.
SHE: First I’m meatloaf, now I’m a cheeseburger. Could you please stop equating me with a lunch menu?
HE: No! It’s an example.
SHE: Why are you so afraid of those words? I hear you say them all the time: “I...am going to play golf. Love...this new 9 iron. You...making something good for dinner?” Just keep the first word of each sentence and throw the rest away.
HE: Then they would mean something different.
SHE: They would mean how you feel about me.
HE: Which you already know.
SHE: Never mind.
SHE: Forget it.
SHE: Why do keep asking what?
HE: Because you just told me four different times there’s something wrong.
SHE: I didn’t say anything.
HE: You said it without saying it. See? If you can say there’s something wrong without saying it, why can’t I say “I love you” without saying it?
SHE: You just said it!
HE: Said what?
SHE: You used “I,” “love” and “you” in a classic subject-verb-object construction with me as the object.
HE: I did?
SHE: That’s so sweet. Thank you, honey. I love you, too.
John Cadley is an advertising copywriter in Syracuse, New York. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.