Sunday, April 23, 2006

Love YA

“I have to go soon Baby. I have a big day tomorrow,” he says. I glance at the time on my mobile. It is 1:30 a.m.

“Sure no problem, sorry for keeping you up. Have a good sleep in the suite!”

“I will Baby. Gotta go. Love ya,” he says cheerfully.

“Oh. Alright…” There is a split-second pause. “Ok. G’night!” I hang up awkwardly.

And instead of going to sleep, predictably I lie in bed tossing and turning.

Love ya. Love YA? Love Ya?

Is Ya even a word in the dictionary? If so, then it must come with ketchup, a smiley face, and possibly a stoned hippie attached to the end of it.

I know, I know. We’re in the age of snappy soundbites, rampant SMS and 30-second attention spans, where “C u tonite”, “thx” and “hot 4 u” are regarded as acceptable forms of communication. It seems that nothing in the English vernacular is sacred anymore, especially not statements of affection:

Want ya, miss ya, need ya, love ya!

God, the last thing we want in this day and age is to sound genuine or worse, emotionally committed.

Love ya is just another one of those ambiguous turns of phrase that help us fulfil our superficial destinies. It says everything and nothing at the same time. It is so airily casual, so shamelessly daft, so nauseatingly sappy…so extremely (dare I say) Paris Hilton-esque that it would certainly qualify as a useful nugget for inspiring lifelong devotion between you and 350 of your closest “friends”.

To be fair, there are a few occasions I can think of where the usage of a truncated Love YA is absolutely appropriate, nay even inspired, such as:

1. Band camp. (Love ya, mean it. Really? Really really. How really? Really REALLY.)

2. Gay men saying goodbye. (Love ya! And love the Prada glasses, you sexy beast!)

3. Bryan Adams song lyrics. (Love ya yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah)

But there is a time and place for every phrase. And you can be sure that when Adam first met his perfect helpmate Eve, he didn’t convey his gratitude and affection with an underwhelming Love YA. Devotees of Aphrodite who reverently visited her temple in Delphi to win favour would never have accompanied their votive offerings to the goddess with a Love YA.

And horrors, had Elizabeth Barrett Browning penned the lines “How do I love YA, let me count the ways…” she would have been categorically banned from the reading list at O-Levels.

Fine, I admit I might have used the occasional Love ya myself - but only in the most innocuous and benevolent situations - with my friends, my surfie brother, and possibly tacked on as a slightly embellished afterthought to the back of a note before running out of a man’s apartment.

So I get it. It’s karma. All the Love ya-s that have gone around, have finally come around.

Frankly, I really wouldn’t mind the term so much if I knew what it actually meant. Is it like? Is it
love? Is it just a nice thing people say to each other? Most importantly, does this mean you won’t stick your cock up my ass and call me a horny bitch in bed any longer? What? A girl needs to know these things, ok.

Also, the sheer ambiguity of the expression leaves me fumbling for an appropriate response. This is not acceptable. I hate fumbling. It makes me feel like I’ve left the house with the wrong pair of shoes and take it from someone with a shoe collection they don’t build cupboards big enough to accommodate, I never leave the house with the wrong pair of shoes.

But I’ve brainstormed this with my girlfriend and we came up with a list of possible Love ya responses, none of which are quite right given the reasons I have stated below for your amusement:

1. Love YA too – I'm agreeable to the general sentiment, but it just doesn’t have a good ring to it.

2. Me too / Ditto – only possible if one fancies bowl haircuts, high-waisted trousers, and the idea that pottery is up there with the Kamasutra in terms of erotic technique.

3. What did you just say? Huh? Huh? Huh? – maybe if I was a neurotic 47 year old child-woman-spinster undergoing regression therapy to understand why she’s about to name her 5th cat “All men are putz”, then ok. Give me another 20 years and we’ll see.

4. Right back atcha Baby! – my personal favourite, but I’m thinking of saving this gem for a time when I can execute it properly with a cocked trigger-finger and cowboy wink.

Given these flawed options and the possibility of committing a monumental emotional faux-pas, is it any wonder that I engaged in evasive tactics Curtis LeMay would have been proud of. Ok. G’night! – bland, inoffensive but militarily effective.
If you can’t say the right thing, don’t say anything at all. This is the Asian way. See, I’m applying cultural lessons here, people.

I realise that any normal girl would be thrilled to hear the word Love at some point in her life uttered by the man of her dreams. And I am no exception – thrilled, delighted, vexed and a little bit apprehensive of getting in over my head, that is. When it comes down to it, I think I just don’t want to jinx anything by being my reckless, idiotic self and putting my foot so far in my mouth I can taste my own neck (made even less palatable seeing I'm wearing the wrong pair of shoes).

I know you probably think I am making mountains out of molehills with this post – and you’d be right but it is an entertaining exercise nonetheless and it gives me something to do instead of tossing about in bed all night.

Maybe I should be focusing on the positives instead of fretting over the issues I have with the execution of this particular expression. It would probably do wonders for my insomnia.

But wait a minute. Maybe I am ascribing him too much credit.

Maybe it wasn’t Love he said…

Christ, maybe it was Luv. That would make it Luv YA. Ouch.

Please, its late -
won't somebody slip me Valium and knock me out already?