Regardless of how this text or other texts of mine make you imagine me, the first "I love you"-exchange in my life was actually in person: we were standing in each other's embrace, and I wasn't the person who said it first. Actually, my first response was "thank you," and she repeated it another time and I repeated my thanks another time and as she pushed me harder to herself and repeated it once again, and me being late and thinking she is too drunk and wouldn't even know what she is doing here, I told her: "I love you too," and then she let me loose and I went home.
It is just quite recently that I realized I lived my adolescent and young adulthood quite differently than most people; one of the differences being I expected myself to be able to navigate romantic relationships by reaching a certain age, or better said, that was what everybody did at that age, so why shouldn't I. What I couldn't see back then was the fact that others have talked with other young people, their younger and older siblings, a best friend maybe, and also often their parents; me by contrast never had anyone I could talk to about the people in my life, less so, whenever there was a possibility for some romantic exchanges. C. H. was my best friend back then, and so I imagined if she meant that I love you sincerely, she would talk with me about it afterward. Back then, I wasn't familiar that actually, this is how a category of romantic relationships gets started. If you want to know my opinion: I imagined we are friends, we know each other well and it is practically bullshit to have A. S. and her boyfriend and me and another friend of ours invited to a bar, and then a club, to prove me that I have to have no feelings for A. S., and at the end telling I love you in my arms. It is brilliant if you can get someone to realize his or her own mistake on his or her own, but doing so is not easy, and if you do it incorrectly, things get fucked up; and that aside, first let me say: I have no problem with the idea of the woman being the one who proposes first, but then goddamn do it. What's that supposed to mean to put someone in a jealousy trap by putting the person he or she likes with someone else in front of him or her and then going to him or her and saying "I love you" and if his or her response wasn't a kiss the next time you meet you're going to make him or her realize you have started to date someone else. What the fuck is that "I love you"? If it was after my opinion, even friendships should be eternal, then you claim to "love" someone and your loving someone means as soon as you didn't receive the response you expected you go and date another person? I understand you can love someone in a friend relationship, you can love someone in a romantic relationship, you can love someone in a parent-child relationship, but you have to goddamn be clear about what you are doing, or if you aren't clear, at least, you should acknowledge that you have doubts. If you want to be someone's husband, you don't need to play game with him, or at least, not if that someone is me. Not about matters that are really complicated on their own. If you want to be someone's goddamned wife then hold together if his immediate response wasn't a kiss on your lips and inquire whether he understood what you are trying to achieve or what is holding him back or whatever; but to me that behavior, the getting drunk and going to a club and inviting me to dance with her and then when I'm leaving coming after and holding me in her arms and repeating "I love you" so many times until I say "I love you too," is really not a recipe for love. Not romantic love. What? You expect me to start to close my eyes to all the concerns in my mind and go after marrying you, just because you said "I love you" in the most unromantic way possible? Standing in the middle of a bar late at night when you had planned to show me the woman I felt affection for is with another man together? Back then, because of all these thoughts in my mind, not one second I could accept she is meaning it seriously. But I mean, being frank with ourselves, where is the seriousness? I saw no role for her in my life other than a friend; and if she can imagine it differently, probably she should have made her point, at least in words. It's beyond absurd: the stupidity of women that thinking if they date someone else, I'll regret my decision and go after her. The truth is: it's not going to happen, and it has never happened. Not because I never regret my decisions, but because if I could do anything for my love life, I should have already been in a relationship, now, you expect me not only to be able to initiate a relationship with you but before that, get you out of dating that guy as well? I have a finished piece on how to correctly use jealousy to initiate a relationship, and it has nothing to do with this style of stupidity, and so to me back then, because I couldn't call her actions "stupid," I rather considered she had made a scene under the influence of alcohol.
Actually, watching "Something Borrowed"a few months later which contained a similar scene made me realize she wasn't as drunk to tell whatever to whomever, in fact, she was only as drunk to be the first who says "I love you" to the man she is affectionate about.
Look, "love" is an important matter to me, and even though my first interpretation was that it was just pure drunk behavior, I still allowed the benefit of the doubt to be there, and waited for seeing something from her that might indicate that she meant it. So, another time when me and a male friend of hers slept over at her place, and in the morning he left sooner, and I stayed, and we had breakfast and an intimate conversation, I told her the one thing I rarely talk about with others; I guess I even told her a dream from my youth which I rarely tell anyone, and I told her about my favorite book, and how much it means to me ... and that was the final moment when our ways really parted in my opinion. Not because of my feelings for A. S., no, it was because of her reaction that lots of other lines and signs she dropped about being romantically interested in me, I couldn't imagine being serious, until a few years later when I consumed similar interactions in books, movies, and real-life examples.
I don't want a woman to convert to Islam only because of formalities of marrying a Muslim and her interest in me being her husband, but to say to someone that you love him or her, and then when he or she tells you "this is one of the most important things in my life," and your response be to totally dismiss it: it doesn't work this way. That is not love. There is a fine line between being in love with someone and that love motivating you to converse in thoughts, beliefs, likes and dislikes of that human being and ultimately share some of it with him or her than to borrow the idea of sharing those beliefs and thoughts only because you want to prove to that person that you can be friends –or in our case, romantic lovers. I didn't even expect from her to love me that much to be motivated to get to know my beliefs closer, but the very least was to not use those beliefs as a sort of deception measure to lure me in believing that she cares about me, while in fact, doing so is beyond a clear proof that she doesn't. Deception is a moral crime, not a sign of love, not a proof of love, not what lovers do. More on this matter, I've written on the piece about "rape culture," so I'm going to go into more detail here.
Whether you think of it as coincidence or my poor destiny, none of the women I ever felt interested in were Muslims, but I imagined we could share the same passion for seeking the truth regarding all aspects of life, as well spirituality.
I was surprised when she posted a greeting for al-Fitr on my Facebook page –but now, I can guess, where that interest in acknowledging a date important to me comes from;– and I felt that she cares about me, but then there were other moments when she encouraged me to take alcohol or to do this or that –and by the way, not drinking alcohol wasn't a religious choice in my life– but still it didn't help that she maintained this attitude about religion as if it is just a party dress: you can wear it whenever it leads you to land in the laps of the boy or girl you are erotically interested in, and at other times you can wear other dresses.
I preferred having argues with the person I love about religion; not polemic pointless argues but arguing with each other from a place of trying to understand each other's point of views and with the ultimate hope of getting closer to each other, but not to treat religion as if it is just a "culture" that you can learn different culture, or as if it is a "phase" that you will outgrow, or etc. There are many things I was being told about Islam, and I accepted them until I was grown-up enough and had enough ability and time to go after where those ideas come from and when I realized they aren't what Islam stands for, I dropped them. And I don't think my future is going to be empty of moments of realization that I have been wrong, at least, I hope the God guides me to correct as many beliefs, thoughts and behaviors in myself as possible till I die.
Even to this date, sometimes when I feel like a woman is interested in me and at some point that individual knows about my religious views and yet, women think just by wearing a beautiful dress and rolling your eyes in a certain way, you can get a man's devotion to you. Whenever necessary I have written even publicly that I value women's body and physical attraction, perhaps even more than most people do, and even though I suck at flirting, it's better than nothing, but to think with yourself that you love someone and don't have the remote interest to get to know that person's beliefs and thoughts or to share moments of life together, is just bullshitting yourself and not really a tale of unrequited love. Sure, more is not needed to start a sexual relationship these days, but I don't think, there is anything in me that indicates that I'm interested in such kind of relationship with the price of dismissing other aspects of intimacy. Even if you think there is, okay, now you have it in writing: I'm not.
C. H. despite having a master in film history is a burlesque dancer as hobby profession, and if you have seen Halsey's live performances, I guess their clothing isn't really the difference, and you can as well argue that her greeting for the end of Ramadan wasn't that different than Halsey's greeting for the beginning of Ramadan, but about one of them I said "I love you" only to get rid of her embrace, about the other, I wrote "I love you" cause I mean it as a human being's affection to another, not necessarily in aspiration of a romantic relationship. Sure, I disagree with Halsey, that growth shouldn't be just in Ramadan, but there is a big difference between encouraging someone in doing something good, that is important to him or her, versus superficially acknowledging things that are important to him or her while at the same time, each time you are spending time together encouraging him or her to take part in activities that not only are against those very values but also harms him or her more than benefits of it. Have I really missed out on life for not getting myself drunk and throwing out on the street? I don't think so. Did that friend of mine care about me missing out on life and not having enough adventures and being too inhibited, and so on? I don't think so; what she cared about was that I'm not similar enough to her in order to accept her as my romantic partner. And I don't fucking want to give up my morals so you can be my wife; you have to fucking have morals, if you don't have it, maybe it's time to develop it, huh?
While I have written on the value of erotic in respect of love, it is also true that every sexual intimacy isn't a sign of love, neither a proof, nor even a contributor to it. If you can't imagine how could sex without love be possible, ask someone who has been raped. But I think people who are capable of loving each other, do share some fundamental attitudes, that there is some link between them in another dimension of the world and Halsey's greetings for Ramadan exactly felt like an expression of the existence of such bonds.
PS. S----, I didn't have the time to read the footnote on your paper about "Islamic banking" but such a remark from someone who held her hand in the psychology course that her family won't accept her marrying a Muslim, meant a lot. I mean, I don't like anyone converting to any belief system because of wanting to be physically intimate with me, and if it wasn't that comment and that transformation of yours – or so as it seems, – I won't have the courage to suggest such thing. I mean, I won't hide from you my beliefs, but I like you, the human being, and not your current state of life or mind; I mean, I hope the same be your attitude if you ever had such an attitude about me; and I like the idea of evolving together as a couple than seeing marriage as a beginning of stagnation of changes in opinions and beliefs, even if they are visibly wrong.