I don't suppose it is only women who become temporarily insane when the need to multiply kicks in. Who hasn't seen that glazed, smitten look on the face of a man as his brain floats off out the window and his nether regions take over. His brain becomes the silent partner, as the contents of his underpants take control of the helm. We may delude ourselves that we are attracted to the noble qualities of our heart's desire, but by the time we have been formally introduced to the Adonis we have been lusting over, his testosterone and our oestrogen have already got together and they are making hot and steamy plans for later.
His little swimmers have already convinced him that he can learn to live with her whiney voice, her snaggletooth and her ability to drink everyone in the bar under the table and besides which, by the time it becomes a problem, his naughty bits will be sleeping if off. If his brain could sue his naughty bits for all the trouble they get him into, it could open up a whole new area of litigation. 'I can assure you, your Honour, my brain played no part whatsoever in that drunken ceremony in Vegas. Nor does it have any memory of waiving a prenuptial agreement or offering to financially support the extended family of a young lady with magnificent double DDs and a very cute accent. The same of course applies to those barmy women daft enough to marry a Masai warrior with several wives and a small village in Kenya to support with her redundancy payment/divorce settlement.
But back to those pesky hormones and those first romantic moments. Whilst his little swimmers are lying to him, her eggs are scrambling around in her bottom drawer looking for the fluffy handcuffs and the list of names she has prepared for the composite children she is going to have with a 6ft blonde hunk with blue twinkly eyes. The composite children vary depending on who she is standing next to at the bar. By the time she discovers his surname is the same as that of a sanitary towel, she has spotted the Porsche and her eggs may already have already been invaded.
I jest of course, people get together for all sorts of honourable reasons, but we can't entirely rule out drugs, alcohol and a father in law with a shotgun. Fortunately, love, or more accurately lust, is short lived, or at least it mellows. If it didn't we would still, in our 50's, be phoning our besties at 3.00am to recite every word our Love God has spoken that day to ask her what she thinks he mean't? Love makes us crazy, it turns us into stalkers and assisters of stalkers. I once assisted a best mate in a stake out of her on/off boyfriend's flat, including, I am ashamed to say, going through his bin. Gotta help a sister, lol. In fairness, these days the kids have facebook.
As much fun as passionate relationships are, they are a very exhausting life choice. The passion takes over every aspect of your world. You cannot have a logical thought or speak a sentence without throwing in the name of your beloved and telling your bored listener how amazing his eyes are. The crazy little thing that is love, is all consuming. Once love kicks in, the snaggletooth becomes invisible, so too, the 'cute' way he/she lies on the sofa, plays X-box for hours on end and has annoying habits that make you want to creep up behind him with an ice pick. (Ok, maybe just me, on that one).
We are all subject to temporary insanity during our most fertile years. Our hormones' need to mate overrides all our other basic instincts. They are probably only two degrees away from humping the armchair or latching onto the leg of an unsuspecting visitor. That they can be tempted to try it out in the cramped confines of an airline lavatory is a given.
Our naughty bits don't do any risk assessments. They dive straight on in there and then leave everything above the waistline to sort it out. The testes of a randy male couldn't give a hoot about the morals of a situation or the presence of CCTV cameras. They are all hyped up and raring to go, beyond the point of no return. The female's strongest egg meanwhile has pulverised all her sisters and is dressed up her best party frock and yelling this one's mine'. The idea that we have control over all that mayhem, is ludicrous.
Whilst 21st century women should be thinking of keeping a very tight grip on their carefully feathered nests, the prehistoric woman inside is screaming 'but look at the biceps on that'. The prehistoric ovum is seeing a good fighter (protector), a small army of well proportioned knuckledruggers and a lifetime of brontosaurus steaks.
I don't think we will ever find a logical explanation for the reasons why we fall in love. Most of them wouldn't stand up in Court, and most of them are created by ourselves anyway, we would be arguing for the defence. We choose the partner we want, and then we mould them, if we can, into whatever we want them to be. So much so, that some (odd, imo) couples speak with one voice. It's not OUR choice, WE wouldn't like that. The idea of getting into sync with another human being to that extent, would quite frankly scare the bejesus out me. It would be like sharing a mind.
I have always gone (hook, line and sinker) for polar opposites, because in my 'crazy years' I believed I was omnipotent and that the power of my love could fix anything. Boy, was I deluded! It took a couple of decades to understand that the life my own Marlon (Brando) wanted and the life I wanted, were entirely separate entities. As much fun as it had been knocking seven bells out of each other, we were never going to find anything we agreed on and neither one of us were going to give in. In fact, I now apologise profusely to the police and emergency services who were regularly called out to particularly barbaric games of trivial pursuit.
Eventually, I didn't so much see him as a challenge, as a pain in the arse. I still insist a sparrow has only 3 toes - It didn't say both feet!. And I swear if he had uttered the words 'while you're up love' one more time, he would have ended up under the patio. I was reading a lot of Agatha Christie at the time, and had several demonic plotlines going on in my head. It was a folie a deux, a madness shared by two, we could neither resist each other or be in the same room together without finding something to argue over. Very confusing.
But lets get back to the beginning of where this madness comes from. I suspect, like ducks, it is the first image we are smitten with. Be it the divine David by Michelangelo or a half naked picture of a member of Take That (the early years). For men it could the rapidly developing teenage temptresses they are surrounded by at school, or the nanny in high heels who gives them a darn good thrashing.
For myself, the thunderbolt struck when I realised I wanted to kiss the annoying boy who constantly infuriated me, rather than punch his lights out. Sadly, he was in love with my far more beautiful best friend, and she was in love in with my brother. My 14 year old heart almost broke in two, when the object of my desire asked the DJ to play 'Hey Girl Don't Bother Me' then glared in my direction. The only one in love with me was a smelly fat kid who kept snails in his pocket.
I can trace the source of all my own disasters, because I am fortunate in that, there exists a documented record of my troubled adolescence. I had a dedicated (and wonderful) social worker who kept in regular contact with me for 7+ years. She was a middle aged spinster who wore tweed suits and brogues a la Miss Marple, who shared my love of books and my eagerness to know everything about everything. And she wasn't a church goer. She was probably my first feminist role model, and I adored her. Up until the age of 14, her reports on me are glowing, after the age of 16, they have an air of despair! Age 12: 'Linda can achieve anything she wants', Age 14 'Linda has become arrogant', Age 16: Linda has discovered boys! (sic).
It was downhill all the way after that, I had so indoctrinated myself with the passion of the Brontes, that I saw the opposite sex as the 'enemy', creatures to slay and conquer whilst simultaneously wanting to snuggle up with them. I was also a fan of Bodicea and Joan of Arc until I realised she was completely loopy. Sadly, my generation had very few strong, feminine role models, we were still being urged towards the kitchen, bedroom and altar.
For myself, it was either love or hate, there was nothing inbetween. My first literary heroine was Cathy of Wuthering Heights. I wanted a Heathcliffe to 'fix', I wanted to see passion in a man's eyes (especially if he looked like Marlon Brando). My naïve hormonal self with an official diagnosis of arrogance, didn't want a pussycat to tame, I wanted a raging lion! I found one, then spent many years trying to get him to lie on his back so I couldn't tickle his tummy. Unfortunately, every time he caught a glimpse of the sassy hindquarters of a passing lioness, he would be off.
My raging lion even looked like the divine Mr. Brando and his pupils would expand 10 fold when he gazed into my eyes (probably the coke). It took me almost 20 years to understand that I couldn't tame him and I didn't really want to. Life wouldn't have been half as much fun. I believe he is still an old reprobate, bless him, I don't somehow see him sitting on the sofa in a cardi and slippers saying 'yes dear' and 'another cup of tea for you Vicar?'.
My dear old best friend Big Lynn, once told me that when you fall in love with someone at first sight, that is the way the you see them forever more. Life throws in kind curve balls like that every now and again. We always see the handsome young man or beautiful young woman that we first fell in love with. The angry young man in the leather jacket, the bold rebel heart, the man you have to fight to get, then don't know what to do with once you have got him. Fortunately most men grow up to be contributing members of society who understand that starting a revolution is not as easy as it sounds and that growing a beard and living alone in a cave with a trainset gets boring after a while.
I actually think there should be a Law questioning couples' decisions to marry under the influence of love (lust), or maybe sometime during the ceremony, the Priest or Registrar should throw in a wildcard question like 'Are you insane?' Proof of sanity could save many from signing on the dotted line whilst hypnotised by a particularly fetching basque and suspenders or a sweaty gardener drinking an ice cold soda. I really should have been a lawyer, I can think of loads of new business opportunities for them.
Strangely, it is the fact that I am happily single that seems to bug my critics the most. Evidence of my irrationality is the fact that I am a middle aged woman who is loving being single. That can't be right surely? shouldn't I be crying into a bottle of vino each night and trying to squeeze my head into the gas oven while Patsy Cline sings Crazy on replay? Did try it one night, but was mortified to see how much Mr. Muscle I was going to need for the grime at the bottom of my cooker. If the gas didn't work, the shame would have killed me.
For them being single is a character flaw, there must be something wrong with me. I have clearly been rejected by every member of the opposite (and indeed my own) sex and it is my bitterness towards those who have partners that drives me on. They cannot accept that I choose not to commit myself to one person above all others for the rest of my life. For me, being single is being free, I don't have to 'answer' to anyone. Arguably, the prison like restrictions brutally imposed on me in the convent may well have left me scarred and scared of commitment, I fear that once again my 'free will' would be taken away. But to be honest, I am probably just too selfish to adapt to anybody's else's lifestyle.
From my seat in the house, marriage, or the getting together of two human beings, still looks like a battleground, a promise to obey or a lifetime of passive resistance. I have no idea why anyone goes into it voluntarily. I don't want responsibility for another person's happiness and I don't want to see an old man cry while I flirt with an Egyptian waiter - even if it is tears of joy that he has sold me for 2 camels.
Before anyone accuses me of being out to destroy the institution of marriage, let me assure you, I wish those who find love nothing but goodwill. This is a hard old life and we should find love and happiness wherever we can. People can and do find their soul mates, and sometimes the passion remains, though perhaps somewhat tempered. As you go into your 50s and 60's, the spontaneous throwing of crockery and loud breaky things could put an arthritic joint out.
I'm not condemning the pairing of the human species, heaven forbid, the 'pairing' is great fun and it would be a dull old world without it. From a survival perspective, having a lifelong partner makes a lot of sense, especially the 'in sickness and in health' bit. You have someone to take care of you, and they have someone to take care of them. And if you can do it without murdering each other, all the better. Love and marriage make the world go around, and I don't have an argument against that, happily.