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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

True love or candy?

Published: February 3, 2006
Section: Opinions

Would you like one candy bar today, or two candy bars tomorrow?

My father used to chide my brother and me for always being the types to take one candy bar today rather than two tomorrow. He thought we were impatient that we acted on instincts instead of logic. He thought those were bad things. Thinking with your stomach is a bad idea in a world where candy bars are scarce commodities. Our world, however, is not lacking candy bars. Why wait for the second candy bar, when its likely you will be offered more candy bars tomorrow, or even later in the afternoon?

Now replace candy bars with sex. In a world overflowing with people trying to get laid, why are we treating sex like such a scarce commodity? In the name of love, or even true love, many of us are waiting for the sex we desire as though it was a once in a lifetime offer. If you take a candy bar today, you will have no candy bars ever again. But if we have sex today, will we never have sex again? Is there not a good chance we will be offered sex again tomorrow, or even later in the afternoon?
There have been many signs in our modern culture signaling the end of monogamous relationships as we know them: increasingly high divorce rates, open relationships, sperm banks and single parents, the fuck buddy phenomenon, and Paris Hilton. Of course, I dont want to oversimplify. Many young people still strive for monogamy as an ultimate goal, though they may make philandering pit stops along the way. We still want to get married, but not until were 30. But even still, there are some young people who believe their partners are cheating because they look at pornography.
The question I pose to you is this: What truly makes one happy? Is it love, or is it sex? Can one be happy without sex? Can one be happy without love? Can one love multiple sexual partners?

If the Princess Bride concept of true love is indeed the answer to our problems, it would make sense for us to save ourselves for that one special person our soul mate. But does everyone have a soul mate, or just Wesley and Buttercup? If there isnt one person for everyone, are there many fish in the sea? Ill stop with the clichs now, but my point is that unless we want to wait around for the possibility that there might be a soul mate looking for us, modern culture has provided us with plenty of other options. The idea of true love can be a painful one for many people who have not yet found it. Could it possibly make us happier to give up on the ideal of true love and indulge in all the other kinds of love readily available?

If someone does decide to take advantage of the surplus of people wishing to give love, be loved and have sex, they may encounter a problem. Our society places a great deal of importance on standards. Someone with high standards will only consider the physically elite. We are all taught to desire partners with thin, tan, toned, and usually airbrushed bodies. If we ourselves are not thin, tan, toned, and airbrushed, we are afraid of disappointing our partners and end up having low standards because we cannot believe anyone attractive would actually want to date us. But what many people fail to realize is that while airbrushed bodies are rare, there is an overabundance of less-than-perfect-yet-still-very-attractive bodies out there! Couldnt it make us happier to give up on the ideal of the perfect body and indulge in all of the other kinds of bodies readily available?

Despite the fact that many are experimenting with alternatives to monogamy, most of us havent given up on it entirely. Like a retirement plan, the idea of marriage comforts us as we grow older. It is hard to see a non-monogamous way of life being practical in ones old age. However, there is something to be said for acting upon our impatience and animal instincts while were young. Why should we think with our heads instead of our loins when there are plenty of fulfilling sexual opportunities waiting for us? Why should we wait for marriage to experience love when love is unquantifiable? There is no reason to wait for two candy bars tomorrow when we can have one today, and one tomorrow, one Wednesday, and one Friday, and still get married when we lose our taste for sugar.