Love & Death: An Uncanny Relationship

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I’ve always contemplated about what it means to love a woman – the meaning still eludes me, but there’s no harm in understanding love and how it relates to our fear of death. I’ll start by interpreting some things I’ve researched about and draw on some experiences.

We can all agree that most people fear dying alone, or fear being someone who never loved outright. That being said, we try to make lasting impressions before our time is done, thus resulting in our fear of death.

In Woody Allen’s film “Midnight In Paris”, Ernest Hemingway offers Owen Wilson’s character – Gil Pender – some inspiring words of wisdom about the fear of death. Whether Woody Allen took this from an actual quote by Hemingway or simply adapted it for the film, I’m not entirely sure. However, I did find an expanded quote, and I’d like to share it because it rings true on many situations; situations people cannot easily explain to their significant others. Even more so, it touches on many things men should strive for when loving their women.

Guys, have a seat.

“All men fear death. It’s a natural fear that consumes us all. We fear death because we feel that we haven’t loved well enough or loved at all, which ultimately are one and the same. However, when you make love with a truly great woman, one that deserves the utmost respect in this world and one that makes you feel truly powerful, that fear of death completely disappears. Because when you are sharing your body and heart with a great woman, the world fades away. You two are the only ones in the entire universe. You conquer what most lesser men have never conquered before; you have conquered a great woman’s heart, the most vulnerable thing she can offer to another. Death no longer lingers in the mind. Fear no longer clouds your heart. Only passion for living, and for loving, become your sole reality. This is no easy task for it takes insurmountable courage. But remember this, for that moment when you are making love with a woman of true greatness you will feel immortal. I believe that love that is true and real creates a respite from death. All cowardice comes from not loving or not loving well, which is the same thing. And when the man who is brave and true looks death squarely in the face like some rhino hunters I know or Belmonte, who is truly brave, it is because they love with sufficient passion to push death out of their minds. Until it returns, as it does to all men. And then you must make really good love again. Think about it.” 

– Ernest Hemingway in “Midnight In Paris” , a film by Woody Allen, Goodreads.

When Hemingway mentions at least for that moment”, he’s talking about that moment a woman bestows all that she is to you. It begs the question that how can you, as a man, not do the same? How can you not give all that you are and reassure your woman of her decision? How can you half-a** it and simply roll over after it’s done if you feel elevated; stronger than you have ever been? We are experts at taking advantage of a woman’s vulnerability and reducing it to a few seconds of perceived euphoria.

A woman can make you feel that there is absolutely nothing you can’t do. You conjure up the courage to face your demons and the demons of others. Why then do you no longer fear death? Because conquering “the most vulnerable thing she can offer to another” is sometimes surreal. You’ve taken something immaterial with you to your grave – the “warmth and love of a great woman’s heart” transcend any material or immaterial achievement. You rise above all the “lesser men”  who look for shortcuts to women’s hearts.

It then has become customary for men to believe that the more women they’ve been with the better. Women know we revel in the chase. They believe that the chase is our prize, and this comes from men who want nothing but to get another tick on their mental list. I’d rather be on the lookout for the one that stands out; the one that makes us both better people, even if it only lasts a relationship. No matter who she’s been with before, make it matter when she’s with you.

Yes, there are lesser men conquering many women’s hearts, but maybe not the right ones. Yes, they will be with women almost every other night, but your one woman is worth a hundred of theirs. They’ll have several women on call, but you’ll be with the one that makes you breakfast the next morning (after making great love of course). It’s not about how many you love, but about how you love.

The quote’s ending shouldn’t be taken literally though. When Hemingway says “And then you must make really good love again”, he means to make great love to your woman – or go find love if you haven’t already. I don’t think Hemingway meant that you should have one night stands left, right and center. Finding a truly great woman is circumstantial and you are sometimes lucky. You don’t plan for it and you certainly don’t see it coming. And as with all great things, they take time.

In the end, I related to the quote profoundly because I think I did have that feeling. I did feel that I had nothing to fear. I felt that as long as I loved with passion and a true heart, I didn’t have to worry about anything else. Only a woman can give that to you. If you can relate to this existential feeling, it’s your duty as a man to send your woman to heaven and back on every occasion. If you don’t, there are plenty of men willing to “step” in.

Am I naive to think this way? Maybe, but that feeling made me look at things differently. A woman should not simply be a gateway that allows you to lose the fear of death, but rather a woman should be the sole reason death becomes unimportant. Whether she’s someone you just met, you’re married to or you’re well into a relationship with, if you get this feeling, be the best man you can be.