There have been a lot of posts about love in recent months–finding it, losing it, what’s the right kind, what’s the proper duration, is it really even worth it?  Eccetera.

It reminded me that I went through a phase, some years ago, in which I was obsessed with the philosophy of Platonic Love.  It’s my favorite kind of love.  It’s the most interesting–and, I think, most delicate and complicated–kind.

Plato called it Eros

 

Oh, no no. It’s totally platonic.

I don’t think there’s anything going on.  Just a platonic thing.

 

“Platonic,” in the contemporary sense, tends to indicate the absence of love.  Or at least love as we’re prone to understand it.

Allow me to back up.  Or switch gears.  First of all, I’m not a philosophy student.  I’m not an expert.  I’m an armchair philosopher at best, expert only on my love of thinking and likely mistaken on the finer points of Platonic philosophy.  My understanding of Plato’s Eros is slightly superficial and, in many cases, metaphorical and free-associative.  Nevertheless, “Platonic” as it applied to fondness, was not always or originally about the absence of love.

While most famous for The Divine Comedy, in which Beatrice appears, Dante Alighieri also wrote a book called La Vita Nuova.  It is entirely–at least ostensibly–about Beatrice.  Or, more correctly, about Dante’s obsession with Beatrice.  She is only vaguely aware he’s alive.

Her name is derived from Beatrix (heads up, Tarantino fans), which itself is some combination of Viatrix (voyageur, traveler) and Beatus (lucky, blessed).

Her name, thereafter, became a recurring symbol in all of western literature.  Usually, a character named Beatrice will be an object of intense beauty & passion, (perhaps divine) epiphany, some amount of obsession, and often, elusiveness.  Unless her name is being used ironically or ignorantly, which is increasingly a hazard, a character named Beatrice is meant to signify THAT Beatrice.

In any case, that name, intentionally or not, carries a symbolic quality nearly on par with that of the ubiquitous “Eve.”

Beatrice’s beauty, Dante claimed, was so overwhelming it made him see the whole world differently and with more love and appreciation for all beauty wherever he came upon it.

He said he loved her so much he saw God.

Sickening.  Take your pomade Italian pick up lines and beat the bricks, Guido.  I’ll have none of your hand-waving, chest-haired, shiny-toothed machismo preying on my romantic feminine tendencies.

BUT.

Plato’s Eros was, ostensibly, a love without prominent sexual ambitions.  Sexual ambition, if Plato is to be believed, is irrelevant.  Love–the BEST love–is grounded in beauty and wisdom and transcends earthly desires, so sex is not an expression the highest from of love but rather an approximation of it.

Not that sex was discouraged, necessarily, but Eros was essentially androgynous, and whether heterosexual or homosexual, sex always indicated some level of removal from–or was at best a stepping stone towards–the real thing.  It was of secondary concern.

At some point, the transcendent aspect of Eros fell away entirely, and Platonic love came to mean what it does now–the opposite of divine.  In current use, it tends to mean unimpressive, uninteresting, average, or warmly friendly.  The entire emphasis is on the part where two people aren’t necessarily having sex.  It’s not sexy or romantic, it’s just platonic.

But Plato’s version of Eros could be found in the relationship between a mother and child, between extremely close friends, between homosexual and heterosexual lovers, between art and its viewer (or experiencer, as the case may be), and, most importantly, in the pursuit of wisdom, particularly in the form of philosophy.

Jack Kerouac:

Boys and girls in America have such a sad time together; sophistication demands that they submit to sex immediately without proper preliminary talk. Not courting talk- real straight talk about souls, for life is holy and every moment is precious.

Jack Kerouac was a chronicler of the sublime, as he experienced it.  Sketcher of daemons in the dirt.  Sublimity is not entirely unlike Platonic Love.  Socrates characterized Eros as a daemon.

Courtesy of Wikipedia:

In aesthetics, the sublime (from the Latin sublimis ([looking up from] under the lintel, high, lofty, elevated, exalted) is the quality of greatness or vast magnitude, whether physical, moral, intellectual, metaphysical, aesthetic, spiritual or artistic. The term especially refers to a greatness with which nothing else can be compared and which is beyond all possibility of calculation, measurement or imitation.

I am generally a fan of sublimity.

The above is a gross understatement.

As an aside, that same Wiki page gives credit to the Bhagavad Gita for the first known written description of something like sublimity.  I happened to look it up.  I am fascinated by the similarity of Krishna’s voice to the voice of Jesus.

Granted, translations will differ.  But even the message is familiar.

It is not surprising, then, that a priest could make the sublime dead sexy, despite itself:

Moving of th’ earth brings harms and fears ;
Men reckon what it did, and meant ;
But trepidation of the spheres,
Though greater far, is innocent.

Dull sublunary lovers’ love
—Whose soul is sense—cannot admit
Of absence, ’cause it doth remove
The thing which elemented it.

But we by a love so much refined,
That ourselves know not what it is,
Inter-assurèd of the mind,
Care less, eyes, lips and hands to miss.

The last line, when read aloud, makes my mouth water.

Plato was likely aware of the Bhagavad Gita or had at least heard of some of the stories in it, and the writers of the New Testament were aware of Plato, and Dante was aware of both the Bible and Plato, and Donne was aware of Dante and the Bible, and Walt Whitman is in the 19th century somewhere, smelling his own armpits, being aware of everyone and himself all at once and singing and heaving all this transcendental goofballism off to Kerouac who, in turn, infected Allen Ginsberg and Bob Dylan and an entire, as-yet-thriving generation of take-and-run-with-it hippies who never knew, fail to understand, or have conveniently ignored that the concept is metaphysical and/or religious in nature.

And, in a way, sort of elitist.

If beauty is the path to the divine, and artists and poets are in the business of creating and experiencing beauty, then it’s no secret who the holy people are.

 

But that takes us back to Kerouac again:

…and everything is going to the beat – It’s the beat generation, it be-at, it’s the beat to keep, it’s the beat of the heart, it’s being beat and down in the world and like oldtime lowdown and like in ancient civilizations the slave boatmen rowing galleys to a beat and servants spinning pottery to a beat..

Beatitude.  One concept.  3500 years.  The literary genealogy of an idea.  Or at least one lineage of it.

Beh-ah-tree-cheh

I say it because, as I said, it is my favorite kind of love.  And I can’t tell if it’s falling into favor or out of favor as of late.

 

nameberry.com declares that “Beatrice is back.”

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BECKY PALAPALA is the author of many unpublished poems, diatribes, and terse letters, which she holds captive in a homely tote bag in her bedroom. The poems that escaped can be found in online publication at Strix Varia, Paper Darts, and in other nooks and crannies of the internet. In 2008-2009, she served as a poetry editor for Ivory Tower. After an iliadic battle with higher education, Becky graduated with a B.A. in English Literature in the spring of 2010. She currently lives with her husband, daughter, and dog on the outskirts of the Twin Cities, where she pines for her rivertown home and attempts to befriend the rabbit that lives in her yard.

92 responses to “Finding Beatrice”

  1. Oksana says:

    Beautiful stuff, Becky!

    Isn’t platonic love, in various relationships, the only kind of love we tend to remember as we grow old? Perhaps Plato and the others were onto something.

    Off the subject, kind of: When I lived in Florence, I once stumbled upon Dante’s family chapel. It was the size of my livingroom (small), and only had two tombs: Dante’s wife’s on one side, and Beatrice’s on the other.

    • Becky Palapala says:

      I didn’t know that about Dante’s family chapel. That made me mist up a bit.

      The thing I keep coming back to about Platonic love is that it’s abiding (like you say…memorable) and unbound…and really, really hard to describe.

      But once you’ve felt it, you’re done. Your heart can’t get any fuller than that.

  2. Zara Potts says:

    Oh dear.
    Don’t get me started on love.

    I favour love in all its forms. Divine or platonic.

    But as you say – it’s the deep, abiding love that steers us and guides us and binds us. Those unbreakable bonds between mother and child, father and child, lovers, friends, siblings and yes, pets – are the truth of life.

    Platonic love is the love that, no matter what, will always endure but unfortunately it is also the love that is usually neglected. We should all take care of it better.

    Thanks for writing this, Becky. I write far too much about love and yet sometimes I feel I know absolutely nothing about it all. You help lluminate me.

    • Becky says:

      Thanks, Zara. I’m not love’s biggest fan (or at least not it’s greatest practitioner), but what I do love is the notion that an idea can persist so long in the forefront of human minds that it can be traced over a period of thousands of years.

      (And back further than Plato, but I didn’t have the energy to take on all of world religion for this one.)

      There’s something elemental about the connections between love, closeness, beauty, and knowledge. These guys all seemed to have had a handle on it.

  3. Greg Olear says:

    Thy firmness makes my circle just
    And makes me end where I begun

    God damn, I love that poem. It makes me cry, because it’s so achingly perfect, and it makes me think how blown away his wife must have been, receiving such a sublime — in the pure sense of the word — parting gift.

    I think that, in our typical modern and American way of dumbing everything down to the lowest possible denominators, we have reduced love to two categories: romantic and platonic (the new definition). It makes things confusing, because, as Donne suggests, love doesn’t have to express itself physically, but that seems to be what the storybooks demand.

    And you’re right, there is a whole vast area of love that falls somewhere between the two. Here’s an example: there’s no question that many many people love — genuinely love — their sports teams and players. But most die-hard Yankee fans do not want to fuck Derek Jeter. Maybe the new Hollywood trend of “bromance” is starting to address this. “I love you, man.”

    As for Dante, he’s lucky he lived when he did, because the real Beatrice was, what, 12 when he met her? 15 will get you 20, dude; abandon hope all ye who enter Cell Block A.

    • Becky says:

      Dammit!

      This piece used to have a whole bit about bromance and its (re)emergence.

      I took it out for wandering too far afield.

      Love IS complicated. A complex concert of emotions with all kinds of potential for recombination. I think that our need to cram love into two pretty uninteresting categories–let’s call them romantic and friendly/familial–is part of what makes romantic love so difficult. There’s so much concern over defining things. By God, if it’s not one, then it must be the other. Though in defense of the USA, I don’t think this is strictly an American problem.

      People don’t tolerate ambiguity–not for themselves, and not for others. Are you single or taken? Do you love him/her or not? In some cases, these are easy answers and in other cases, not so much. Then it gets into the definitions. The “he’s just not that into you,” Seinfeld kind of shit. How long did s/he take to call you? Did s/he pat you on the back during the hug? Does s/he call “enough?” on and on. Maybe this is why I never got Seinfeld.

      There’s a passage in the Subterraneans where Leo (read: Jack) is looking at Mardou, watching her sleep maybe it was, and he’s not sitting there thinking, “Wow, she’s amazing. She’s great. Very warm and reliable. I’d really like to marry her and take her to family functions.” He’s thinking about how tiny she is in the world and how it makes him love the universe that made her. I don’t know. Tough to explain. That’s not the kind of love most people go looking for–or find–when they search for a mate. They go looking for a love starting and stopping between the people involved.

      Donne gets at that with the jab at “dull sub-lunary lovers,” which is what makes that poem such a knock-over. His love for his wife isn’t between the two of them, really. It’s between them and the celestial forces. It’s tapped into or stemming from a love that is bigger than they are.

      I wonder if Donne’s wife was totally unimpressed. She’s married to John Donne. She’s got a stack of these goddamn poems a foot high and nowhere to put them. “Yes, I love you too, now go. Get!”

  4. Irene Zion says:

    I for one can attest that Beatrice is indeed back, last name Palapala.

    Oh, and do you have any idea how many places call themselves The Twin Cities? Which Twin Cities, if I may be so bold?

    • Becky Palapala says:

      Well, if you type “Twin Cities” (capitalized) into google, the wiki page for Minneapolis/St. Paul (MN) pops up. That’s me.

      There may be other twin cities, but we are THE Twin Cities.

  5. Richard Cox says:

    Yes, true platonic love, or whatever one chooses to call it, is the most beautiful and elusive feeling one can know. I think we want it to be true more often than it is. We ascribe our desired feelings onto whatever situation we’re in because we want it so badly.

    And that’s why we write about it so much. Because we don’t have it. Or because we had it and lost it and want it back. Or we never have had it.

    • Becky Palapala says:

      I’m obsessed with it, or was (and still am to some degree), largely because of the implications for art and writing.

      Nobody wants to listen to me talk about Jack Kerouac all day because I get sentimental and fanatic, but that guy makes me see God.

      Mostly because I know he’s seeing God.

      So I love him, but it’s not the crush-on-a-dead-guy love, which I have for young Marlon Brando and young Elvis.

      No part of me wishes Kerouac were alive so I could do naughty things to him or marry him or go on a sunset cruise. I just want to talk to the guy. And listen to him talk. Same with Donne.

    • Lisa Rae Cunningham says:

      Richard, you just described the fantasy state I mostly inhabit, with varying objects of my affections, projections, visions of “The Guy” a.k.a. Bob. I’m laughing, but I’m pretty sure it isn’t funny.

  6. Lisa Rae Cunningham says:

    I think you should be the TNB mascot. We’ll make t-shirts of your psychedelic gravatar that say, Beatrice is back.

    This is such weird timing. I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about exactly what you’re talking about. I wrote Simon a FB msg at like 2:30 in the morning about this. About my gratitude for this. You really describe it perfectly, this love in its most pure, most true form. I’ve got it for you, Becky. I’m going gangbusters with Platonic love.

    • Becky Palapala says:

      You know what’s funny about my psychedelic gravatar?

      It was taken at a bowling alley. I mean, it was blacklight bowling, so it was sort of psychedelic, but as far real psychedelia goes, the Sun Ray Bowl is about as far as it gets.

      Richard and I were just talking about synchronicity.

      The possibility that spending a great deal of time here actually creates some kind of intellectual choreography between contributors.

      At any rate, this phenomenon, here referred to as Platonic love, beatitude, and sublimity but which I sometimes also refer to as ecstasy or ecstatic this-or-that, will probably haunt me forever.

      I think there’s a good chance I’ll spend most of my writing life trying to understand it. I think I’m in the mod for Rumi and some good ol’ Sufi whirling.

  7. Lisa Rae Cunningham says:

    I think TNB Blacklight bowling would be the *ultimate* birthday party.

    I just read Richard’s piece. I am certain that we’ve all infected one another’s minds and souls more than we imagine. Brad’s post about what TNB is all about, in conjunction with your post, Richard’s, and the experience of my own life over the past couple days are all leading me straight towards a heart-swelling gratitude for the humanity of this kind of space to think and dialogue in.

    The internet is weird. I’ve also recently been thinking about the nature of human evolution and how we are, as a species, once again becoming nomadic. Technology takes us full circle, it streamlines us so our attachment to physical objects slackens as our global awareness, mobility and communication moves us in more universal ways. Maybe there is a (however abstract) thread here. This kind of love you describe, it’s certainly conducive to the kind of intimacy characteristic of the contemporary world. It’s heady and from a distance… almost virtual. Yet utterly real.

    • Becky Palapala says:

      It WAS my birthday party!

      The internet IS weird.

      I balked from using the words soul, cosmos, ether, or trying too hard to describe where exactly all this stuff comes from or what thing holds it, since I think, like you say, it undermines the realness of it.

      Not that souls aren’t real, necessarily. I don’t know if they are. But that kind of abstraction/overt metaphysics can make people sigh and look away. Maybe I should have just gone for it.

      I think this is where Richard should be leaping in to tell us about energy and atoms and whatnot. Crafting a tangible space within which this happens. I’m still stuck on the Bhagavad Gita and celestial spheres and will be of no help at all.

      • Lisa Rae Cunningham says:

        Pooling our collective expertise is actually an excellent idea. We could become dangerously convincing…

        • Becky says:

          A cult.

          I’m telling you.

          Our collective charm would cast a spell no one could escape. Genuflections and ecstatic mania everywhere.

        • Lisa Rae Cunningham says:

          I was gonna say something about starting a cult, but that ball already appears to be rolling. I’m particularly proud of the cursing video that just debuted on Facebook. We don’t just fuck around. We fuck about, above, after, against, among, along, around, across, at, before, beside, between…

        • Sarah says:

          Eighth grade English class we had to memorize all the prepositions. In the years since I have only been able to remember as far as finishing the A’s but I think I’ve been forgetting about “along” all this time.

        • Lisa Rae Cunningham says:

          This might be my first and only opportunity to rattle off prepositions since my 8th grade memory test. Thanks for sharing this fine moment. We’ll always have “along” together.

        • Becky says:

          I like “fuck among.”

          How could we use that in a sentence?

        • Lisa Rae Cunningham says:

          Sounds tribal. The Nervous Breakdown started a commune in the Amazon. Here is a place where writers can harness the rainforest’s wild beauty to evoke vivid emotional and intellectual landscapes in their work. Admittedly, settling a community upon the premise of Platonic ecology is a naive dream at best, a set-up for Shakespearean murder plots at worst. Utopias have always, historically, failed. TNB contributors are well-versed in the anthropological realities of the human condition, and so take a grassroots approach to reconciling transcendental consciousness with base human nature. The artists live, write and fuck among the trees.

        • Becky says:

          Mmmm…Entendres. I like it.

          Or is it a noun?

          Like a person who fucks around is a fuck-among. A dawdler. Or…I really don’t know.

          I want it to be a noun. I want to call someone a fuck-among.

          Admittedly, settling a community upon the premise of Platonic ecology is a naive dream at best, a set-up for Shakespearean murder plots at worst.

          Ahhhahahahaaha!

          Except the TNB commune is, I think, in Hawaii. Simon needs to be in America, and I think my husband can get homestead land for $1.

          Tropical, nevetheless. It works. This is the paragraph for the brochures.

          Then it needs and asterisk directing folks to the

          *No hippies allowed. Patchouli applications available clause.

        • Lisa Rae Cunningham says:

          I’m all for the compoud, but maybe we should skip cult genesis since the only thing we all agree on is the freedom to disagree. Gang mentality is not, however, beneath us. We’ll call ourselves The Fuckamongs. (No misguided hippy stipulations apply. I’ve seriously seen communal hippies steal cookies from the hands of children. No.) You can buy land in Hawaii for a dollar? Why don’t we all live there already?

        • Becky Palapala says:

          That’s what I’m sayin’!

          Apparently, there are those among us who nurse delusions of conducting important life outside of TNB.

          But all the most interesting and attractive people are onboard, so we really just need to take the first step.

          I like calling ourselves the fuckamongs. Like Hmongs, but sexier. We may have to live in a 2-bedroom house. At least at first. Just warning you. Unless we want to be shrimp farmers.

          Do we want to be shrimp farmers?

        • Lisa Rae Cunningham says:

          I have nothing against shrimp farmers. Forrest Gump became a shrimp farmer and he is a man who lived his dreams. Also, I am a massage therapist. I’m not in the market for a band of sugar babies, but I’m willing to donate my proceeds from the resort job if someone will grow, harvest and cook my food. Also, I’m tired of doing laundry. And I live in a one bedroom apartment. It’s pretty much all a step-up from here, so long as we live near the beach.

        • Becky says:

          Oh! Laundry detail and cooking are all well-covered.

          It will be good to have a few people working on “the outside,” I think.

          Mostly so there are plenty of people to call and say, “Oh hey…could you pick up ______ on the way home?”

  8. New Orleans Lady says:

    “If beauty is the path to the divine, and artists and poets are in the business of creating and experiencing beauty, then it’s no secret who the holy people are.”

    Love that. Love you. Love this piece. That is all.

  9. Gloria says:

    I love my children the way Plato describes. I love my hetero lifemate Tree the way he describes, too. I have only loved a few lovers (as the term is currently understood) the way Plato describes. I think it’s because I’m a hedonist. Maybe it’s because I find most people boring.

    Either way, I love this post very much. In a platonic way.

    • James D. Irwin says:

      ‘hetero lifemate’ is such a great term.

      And I always feel kind of bad that I don’t have any male friendships that fit that bill.

      But that might be because I’m essentially a highly sociable loner.

      I’m with Gloria, I also love this post. I tried for a while to think of something intelligent to say, and I’ve given up. This is the best I can do— just jumping on the toatcails of someone elses praise and love…

      • Becky says:

        Don’t feel bad. I don’t really have any female friends who fit that bill. I just identify better with the opposite sex.

        Women are sort of a mystery to me.

        • James D. Irwin says:

          It sounds very sweeping and dramatic, but I’m not very good at having friends. I get on very well with a lot of people, many of whom I like but I’m not really into the whole commitment of full on friendship.

          Mostly because that’s happened recently and now there are all sorts of emotional issues that make me feel like I’m in the middle of a daytime soap… he’s in love with her but she’s in love with… everyone hates this guy but…

          can’t we all just go to the pub and talk about inconsequential shit and maybe make some jokes?

          I tend to find I get on better with girls. At least girls tend to laugh at my jokes more…

        • Gloria says:

          Please join Richard and me at the pub later, Irwin. We will NOT be talking about menstruation.

        • James D. Irwin says:

          It’s a long trip, but definitely worth it.

          I’ll be there in a couple of months/years…

    • Becky says:

      And it loves you. And I love you.

      I have a handful of friends I love this way. A couple of them are former lovers. And a couple of books, a few movies, a painting or two…

      It’s really a pretty serious kind of love. I love it.

      Love love love love! Weeee!!! *twirl*

      • Gloria says:

        Ah, yes. Paintings. I love Andrew Wyeth’s “Christina’s World” this much. I do. In my winning-the-lottery fantasy, I buy the original painting. Well, in one version of the fantasy. In another version, I buy the Jaguar hearse from Harold and Maude.

        • Gloria says:

          I would like to point out that earlier this week, after I posted this comment, I received in the mail from a certain New Orleans lady a necklace charm, which is actually the letter G from a Scrabble board on one side, and a tiny, tiny copy of “Cristina’s World” on the other. There was a note that said, “This will have to do until one of us strikes it rich.”

          It’s pretty much in the top five of greatest gifts I’ve ever received.

  10. Uche Ogbuji says:

    Sure it wasn’t the “stiff twin compasses” bit that drew you? 🙂

    One of my favorite Donne poems.

    But I think the modern expression of platonic love has less to do with Plato himself than with platonism, and especially neoplatonism, pioneered by Erasmus, which was a perversion of Plato’s ideas into fanatical Christianity, and became the major force for reconciling the individualism that drove the Renaissance with Christian idealism in the mold of St. Augustine. And that’s the force that through France and Italy led to the very British precepts that we read in the Dean of St. Paul’s (kinda deflating to call the man a mere priest, I’d say 😉 )

    • Becky says:

      He said “erect.” *butthead laugh*

      I don’t care whose fault it is if they’re not alive to yell at. The modern usage is dumb and doesn’t make any sense.

      Ha-RUMPH.

      Maybe Sparshott and I should go on a martyr’s crusade to resurrect all the archaic usages of fascinating English words/terminologies.

      Anyway, I prefer to think of him as a priest. It suits him better. I think in my mind, I want him to be sort of like Joaquin Phoenix’s character in “Quills.”

      • Uche Ogbuji says:

        Do not leave me behind. I want to resurrect a few archaisms myself. We can all go tilt at windmills together, like the 3 Musketeers of linguistic preservation.

        And yes, as I told Steve (and I think you did, too) I don’t mind that language is changing. I just also want to preserve the old as well. Why can’t the geriatrics and the baby-heads of language party, like, totes ensemble?

        Anyway, you have me nostalgic for classic neoplatonic British poetry today. Thanks.

        With how sad steps, O Moon, thou climb’st the skies !
        How silently, and with how wan a face !
        What, may it be that even in heav’nly place
        That busy archer his sharp arrow tries?
        Sure, if that long with Love acquanited eyes
        Can judge of Love, thou feel’st a lovers case;
        I feel it in thy looks, thy languished grace,
        To me that feel the like, thy state descries.
        Then, e’en of fellowship, O Moon, tell me,
        Is constant Love deemed there but want of wit?
        Are beauties there as proud as here they be?
        Do they above love to be loved, and yet
        Those Lovers scorn whom that Love do possess?
        Do they call Virtue there ungratefulness?

        from Sydney’s _Astrophel and Stella_

  11. Sarah says:

    I’m a Beatrice, kinda. My grandmother was Beatrice so my middle name is Bea. Not Beatrice but legally “Bea.” Doesn’t have quite the same romantic sound to it, does it?

    This was wonderful, Becky. You always make me want to go and learn so much more about things I barely know anything about.

    • Becky says:

      Bea is cute! Plus, when you say your full name out loud, people will be like, “what does the B stand for?” And you can be like “BEA.” And they’ll be like, “Yes, Sarah, ‘B.’ But what does it STAND FOR?”

      “IT’S BEA!!!”

      • Sarah says:

        You just described my adolescence from age eight through 12. I had fun playing The Guess My Middle Name game. It was a very unsophisticated Abbott and Costello routine.

        I used to hate it, now I really like it. I always preferred it be the full name but now I like the shortened version. I sign my name with the middle initial and when read it still sounds like the full name. Yeah, I guess I’m pretty cool.

        • Becky says:

          Nobody can guess my middle name.

          Ever. Even with the first letter.

          I wish I could find a way to make money off it.

        • Sarah says:

          Family name? Inside joke? Obscure literary, musical or political figure?

        • Becky says:

          Family name.

        • Sarah says:

          See, but that’s no fun for everyone else playing the game. You were totally the middle name game buzzkill, weren’t you?

        • Becky says:

          And a *male* family name. I mean it’s a first name, named after a male in my family. It’s not really a weird name or anything.

        • Sarah says:

          Hmm, I’m getting pretty tired and my guessing/deducing skills are shaky at best right now.

          I’ve decided that from now on I’m just going to call you George. It’s a family name in my family and I can see you as a George.

  12. Brad Listi says:

    I have serious platonic love for my dog.

    Did Whitman really sit around smelling his own armpits?

    That’s awesome.

    • Becky says:

      He was always talking about his own perfume. His musk or something like that. To me, this reads “B.O.”

      He had platonic love for his B.O.

  13. Joe Daly says:

    Platonic love seems easier in so many ways because there are simply fewer expectations. At the very least, the practices of compromise, sacrifice, attentiveness, ego, etc., as relate to physical acts, are all moot. So where the love truly is platonic, there’s a sense of less risk/exposure and maybe even the implication that platonic love is somehow more selfless (pure?) than the kind with good ol’ fashioned budonkadonk sex.

    Love’s got a lot of risk to it. Maybe it’s the diminished risk that makes platonic love so much easier to give and receive.

    • Becky says:

      I have mixed feelings about this.

      I want to say to say that Platonic love is more difficult to control/predict and more elusive–like, lust and compassion and caring concern are things we’re bound to come by a lot in life when it comes to other people.

      I mean, on the whole, I get what you’re saying, but a reasonably fruitful and functional marriage can come of things as simple as mutual respect, compassion, thoughtfulness, attractiveness (sometimes not even attraction). I think a lot of marriages DO come of those things. The sort of partnership/companionship thing.

      But I disagree that Platonic love and lust/physical attraction (or even romance/marriage) are necessarily mutually exclusive, and I think Platonic love, if easy to feel (even if only because potential targets are so numerous), can be extremely difficult to give and receive, at least demonstrably and to other people, exactly because society tends to draw the line between romantic and friendly/filial love. Two kinds, no more. I think we try to skew our expressions of platonic love to fit the “rules” of one or the other of those types when it really is neither.

  14. JM Blaine says:

    “Love–the BEST love–is grounded in beauty and wisdom and transcends earthly desires.”

    Read a book some time
    ago of Kerouac’s letters
    on faith or something like that
    & they were wonderful.

    Eros
    Phileo
    Storge
    Agape

  15. Judy Prince says:

    “Beh-ah-tree-cheh”—-I love the sound and feel of this, Becky!

    Reminds me of the marvelous sound of tenor Rolando Villazon, especially in this aria “Che Gelida Manina” from Puccini’s La Boheme: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpPRgzQsaic&feature=related

    • Becky says:

      I hated the name Beatrice until I heard the Italian pronunciation. Gorgeous.

      • Judy Prince says:

        I totally get that, Becky. What a difference in pronunciations!

        I always have disliked the sound of the word/name “Jesus”, and then I heard “Yeshua” and thought it lovely. I still cringe to hear the word “Jesus”—-it just sounds whiney or something, whereas Yeshua is mellifluous.

  16. Lenore says:

    i dunno, i don’t think platonic love is so rare. i have platonic love for a shit-ton of people. usually, i find people resent it and i have to pretend i don’t have it. unless i have it for a straight girl, and then we go get pedicures together and talk about how we’d like to have something light for dinner.

    i’m glad you’re back, becky.

    • Zara Potts says:

      Are you talking about me, pedicure pal?
      ‘cos I sure do love you…

    • Becky says:

      I think, with platonic love, results differ. I don’t see God too often.

      Maybe you do. I’m jealous.

      Re: Pedicures.

      I don’t get it. I don’t get it as a bonding activity.

      I don’t do manicures, either. And I don’t get my hair did. And I don’t really care for chocolate.

      If a woman ever suggests that, as an act of friendship and bonding, we should go have our toenails molested and raked at by a middle-aged korean woman, I feel like that should qualify as some kind of fetish.

      I just don’t get it.

      Women.

      Women are a mystery. I’m a woman and I have no fucking clue what’s going on.

      I don’t even like shopping.

      I’m glad to be back, Lenore! Thanks.

      • Lenore says:

        it’s only a fetish if the pedicure results in sexual arousal, and if the person is exclusively sexually aroused by cleaning of and garlanding of her feet. otherwise it’s just kinda nice to have a foot massage and leave with pretty toenails.

        but it’s cool – if you’re not into the pedicures, we can have a light dinner.

        • Becky says:

          I just think it’s weird. It’s weird, Lenore. But since I’m in the minority, it’s probably me who’s weird.

          Light dinner…just two beers?

        • Lisa Rae Cunningham says:

          Becky, we seriously need to hangout.

        • Becky Palapala says:

          We could go get heavy dinners and fuck up our toenails.

        • Lisa Rae Cunningham says:

          Actually, I won’t eat much bc I am not blessed with your metabolism. That means I’ll get drunk faster, so my inner guy will reveal himself sooner. I’ll start suggesting heroic acts of stupidity of the man vs nature variety. Then we’ll do something classy like shoot pool or listen to live raunchy blues. Finally, we pee in a parking lot or public transportation depot. The blonde highlights detract from my inherent lack of consideration for most female behaviors, but bleach might actually be a concoction of pheromones. So on a good night, I find an extremely attractive guy much younger than me and use him for sex. Wait. Did I say that out loud?

        • Becky Palapala says:

          OMFG

          Marry me.

          Then let’s have a wide-open relationship, but always have each other. I am SO into blues and shooting pool and pissing in public spaces and being a cougar.

          We have so much in common. I love you.

  17. Lisa Rae Cunningham says:

    I love you too. But if you ever call me a Cougar again, I will fucking maul you.

    • Becky Palapala says:

      Better than being a Sabertooth. Amiright?

      I see no shame in cougarism. It implies being hot. And, for that matter, really good in the sack.

      *lick finger, touch buttcheek*

      Tssssssssss……

  18. Simon Smithson says:

    “There’s a passage in the Subterraneans where Leo (read: Jack) is looking at Mardou, watching her sleep maybe it was, and he’s not sitting there thinking, “Wow, she’s amazing. She’s great. Very warm and reliable. I’d really like to marry her and take her to family functions.” He’s thinking about how tiny she is in the world and how it makes him love the universe that made her. I don’t know. Tough to explain. That’s not the kind of love most people go looking for–or find–when they search for a mate. They go looking for a love starting and stopping between the people involved.”

    I guess I will have to read this. Because, as we’ve spoken about, I’ve been there, and done that, and had my eyes opened to the Universe because of the feelings I felt and the way they were expressed.

    And yes, felt God in the results of love, love which was Platonic, Erotic, and Beatific.

    The Deity, however, did not make himself visually manifest.

    • Becky says:

      Well. Not everyone can be Dante, Simon. And even he only saw God in a dream.

      The Subterraneans, it probably goes without saying, is one of my favorite books. One word of warning: It was written in 3 days and 3 nights on (probably) some kind of bennie bender.

      He’s working his own punctuation system. I thought it was fine once I got used to it, but some people get very angry at it.

  19. Mindy Mcready says:

    Platonic Love

    I have thought of this in a Mayberry kind of way

    Aunt Bea: More Pie Andy!

    Who am I…I’m Hit-Girl

  20. Darian Arky says:

    For whatever reason (that I’ve always been too lazy and/or lacked the necessary intellectual curiosity to determine) the Chinese call England “the sublime country” in their language. I’ve been to the UK, and I don’t get it. (They call Russia “the hungry country” in Chinese, and that makes perfect sense.)

    • Becky Palapala says:

      Hmmm…yup.

      I got nothin’.

      Except maybe for Britain’s utter world dominance when they pried China open to the rest of the world.

      I mean, that would have made me call them “those British fuckers” if it were my country being pried open, but we must respect these kinds of cultural differences.

  21. […] BECKY PALAPALA finds her Beatrice. […]

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