Last Valentine’s day, I sat at a table and said, “I love you more than life itself, and I cannot imagine living without you. I would have never lasted this long without you. I do not know how I ever lived before I knew you.” My husband said, “Is that you talking to me or is that the booze talking?” I said, “Neither, it’s me talking to the booze.”
It is 2014—the peace rally is over, and the hippies are dead or in 12-step programs with the exception of a few that are not quite back from Woodstock yet. Yet, the world’s most abused substance has not changed. I am talking about the one inescapable vice that we humans have had since the beginning of time: love. Now here is something that is worse than anything people were smoking, snorting, or popping in the last four decades.
True, cocaine will leave you physically weary, psychologically devastated, emotionally crippled, financially drained and sleep deprived. A bad love with an unemployed person will do the same thing in much less time. Killing animals for fur is barbaric. Love will take the fur off any person’s back and use their very last nerve as a trampoline. Too many years of drinking hard liquor will lead to liver disease; but it only takes a couple minutes and a drop of truly bad love to kill every organ in your body, starting with the brain. Love is far worse than heroin. At least heroin junkies sleep most of the time. When is the last time you saw a lovesick woman or man nodded out in a doorway?
Love does not play. It will make Queen Elizabeth check into a Motel-6 with B.B. King. Look at what it did to Romeo & Juliet, Antony & Cleopatra, Lancelot & Guinevere, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton et al., or Bri Vandekamp and Susan Delfino on Desperate Housewives or desperate businessmen married to former actresses desperately pretending to be housewives. Not to mention what it has done to me.
Love once made me write an 83-page, handwritten letter and attach it to a door with a steak knife. Love once made me perform oral sex in a car going 90 MPH on the freeway (I was driving). I would say, do not judge me, but am guessing that train already left the station. What is more stressful than being in love? One thing: being in a bad love. What is worse than that: not being in love at all. Now why is that? Where is the logic in that? There is none. Love avoids logic the way Lindsay Lohan avoids department store detectives.
In the Bible, St. Paul says, “Love is patient and love is kind…” I say that St. Paul never tried to get to a movie on time with my husband. Corinthians also says “love is not jealous or boastful…” Oh really is that a fact? Obviously, St. Paul never saw Divorce Court or attended a Hollywood cocktail party. “Love is not arrogant or rude…” Oh please, arrogant and rude is love at its best. I am a doctor and we fall in love. Now you show me a doctor that is not arrogant and rude and I will show you somebody with a phony degree. “Love does not insist on its own way…” On which lost episode of the Twilight Zone is this suppose to happen?
“Love is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong but rejoices at right.” Love will stop rejoicing in wrong when one size fits all and Barack leaves Michelle for Mitt Romney. “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes for all things and endures all things. Faith, hope and love abide—but of these three, the greatest is love.” Right—the greatest single cause of people shredding clothes, smashing plates, ripping up photographs, horrible text messages, flying around like a gaggle of stoned geese, and amateur drunks tweeting like robins. What was St. Paul thinking when he wrote this? Are we certain Christianity is what he found on the road to Damascus? This sounds more like something that Timothy Leary and Wavy Gravy found on the road to “Wait… where were we going now?” Any person who thinks love does not insist on its own way has not been in love with a human. Love is more irrational than Rush Limbaugh was during his Oxycotin phase, so I have no idea what they were talking about (or smoking) when they wrote this.
I have been married 26 years. In gay-marriage years, that is 564, and in gay-marriage in Los Angeles years that is 893.5. Admittedly, we are an unusual couple. At the time we got married, I was a large, black, radical, drag queen and Michigan graduate who had grown up across the street from the city dump in a house that did not have indoor plumbing. He was a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, USC Frat-brat, Republican, swim jock from North Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. Oprah even asked us to be on a show she entitled “Odd Couples.” Mercifully, I was shooting a commercial in Japan and had to respectfully decline. Anyway, these are the top categorical defining moments in our marriage according to the wedding vows, and how we survived them, which encapsulate the reasons some marriages work and others do not.
I _______, take you, ______, to be my lawfully wedded (husband/wife):
I _______, take you, ______, to be my lawfully wedded (husband/wife):Husband? Wife? That’s like that naughty or nice conundrum at Christmas. (The best solution is to be both. Oh better yet, be more woman than he has ever had and more man than he will ever be. If you want to make it work, you have to be willing to go there.) I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad: like the time I fell asleep smoking a cigarette and burned up six years of receipts and tax records before an IRS audit. (Solution: separate finances.) In sickness and in health: like me gaining 400 pounds. (Solution: find the loyal and strong buttons on your dial). Forsaking all others: like the day, some USC sorority girl “he used to know” showed up at our door and introduced us to his 17-year-old son, and we had been married 24 years at the time. (Solution: find the Hillary Clinton button on your dial). I will love you and honor you all the days of my life: like the time my husband told a reporter that what he liked best about my radio show was that he could turn it off. (Solution: Find the "he’s not one of my fans" and "get used to it" button on your dial.)
For those of you who do not know, long term love and marriage goes like this: Phase 1) the any room phase: you have sex all over the house at any time. Phase 2) the bedroom phase: you only have sex in bedroom and by appointment. Phase 3) the hallway phase: you pass each other in the hall and say screw you.
To that end, I rewrote the marriage vows, as they should read. “Do you promise to compromise, relinquish, surrender, and become a disconsolate, gloomy sex camel trudging the rocky road of an inevitable and ugly destiny until an ugly stress-related disease, or their funeral and your trial, do you part? Most importantly, do you empirically understand that a long-term marriage requires lots and lots of hard work, 24/7/365? Marriage is not for quitters or the faint of heart. If you understand and accept things, I now pronounce you married. Condolences.”
If a long-term marriage was an Apple app, available on Amazon, or came in a box or a can, everybody would have one. The reason some marriages work and some do not, is because in the former, two people are willing to do what is necessary to make it work, which requires: growth, strength, and compromise—and mostly the latter. That being said, in my opinion love and marriage are one of the few things in the world worth working for. Happy Valentine’s Day! Remain fabulous and phenomenal!