By Matisse Walkden-Brown
A friend of mine recently lived the ultimate night of her dreams. It was the real-life re-enactment of something she had been whipping up in her imagination for as long as I can remember. Her ex-boyfriend, who was finally home from England, confessed his undying love to her on the perfect lime green lawn, of a fairy-light lit birthday party. He showered her with apologies and told her she looked stunning, in her white fishnet stockings and bunny outfit. Ok, so maybe in her daydreams she had been wearing the latest Lisa Ho, not dressed up like a marshmallow, but the gesture was basically the same. Not even the cotton-wool ball tail protruding from her backside or drooping fluffy ears could detract him from his mission of getting this girl back. This boy was so determined in his mission in fact, he also failed to notice her current boyfriend still somewhere inside the party, appropriately ‘rabbited-up’ to match, munching alone on carrots (and dip). It was a fairy-tale love story gone horribly wrong. There were too many princes, and too little time.
A few days after the party, the truth bubbled its way to the surface. My friend left her boyfriend. She confessed she still had feelings for her ex and it would be unfair to deny otherwise. The kingdom broke into chaos with people from far and wide donning ‘Team Prince Charming A’ and ‘Team Prince Charming B’ low cut half price ‘supre’ t-shirts. It was the local equivalent of the age old, Edward versus Jacob debacle. Who was better suited for her? Who would she end up with?
My forever erratic friend spent an, albeit slightly mischievous, week jumping between camps herself. She was a mess. Both boys were ready and willing to forgive and forget with their arms open wide. Both boys were incredibly important to her. Both boys kept pulling on those quickly fraying heartstrings. Having both boys, however, was driving her crazy. It seemed to be a case of two cups too full if you ask me. It definitely bodes the question, can you love two people at once? And if so, do you deserve to have either? According to psychologist and author of ‘In the name of Love’, Aaron Ben-Zeev, empirical evidence clearly suggests that humans are capable of truly romantically loving more than one person at the same time. Ben-Zeev goes onto to claim that in order to accept this natural phenomenon we should begin by exchanging negative words like ‘adultery’ and ‘betrayal’ for terms such as ‘parallel love’. I am sure this controversial train of thought (although recently adopted by a very popular golfer) would have most up in arms, quickly swapping their ‘team’ t-shirts for ones saying “just pick one!”. However, my friend didn’t do that either. She took a different route. She came to the conclusion that two certainly isn’t better than one. She then decided that even better than one, was in fact… none.
My friend said she would wake up every morning and miss a different a man. She would go to sleep at night and memories of a different relationship would saturate her mind. She would feel guilty when kissing one and then guilty when kissing the other. So she ultimately chose, neither. In the space of two weeks she went from being intoxicatingly in love, to having one of her oldest wishes coming true, to being totally alone. She walked out of the warfare, hands held in the air, taking nothing with her but that (attention grabbing) fluffy white bunny suit. And I respect her for it.
(c) Matisse Walkden-Brown 13/04/2010