Cupid’s Ineptitude

Dear Cory:

What is Tainted Love? How can one avoid it?

Uncle B



Dear Uncle B:

Forgive the delay in responding to your provocative question, if you would.  Cory was chastised and prodded for his lassitude by the board members of during our recent beach retreats, always held in the nude to maximize distractions.  So nagging does indeed work.  The board offered several interpretations of your question with its underlying hope there is such a thing as untainted love, which one assumes you would still enjoy, if it exists.

Cory is the Brexiteer of love, and now finds unions longer than an hour and forty minutes (including the cigarette) quite challenging.  It was not always thus; he has spent a lot of his life in pursuit of untainted love.  Cory also exited both the literal Britain and EU some time ago, in eventual response to a previous infestation of Nazis.

One can never go wrong starting with a little Cole Porter, greatest of the gay lyricists.  An excerpt from the lyrics of “Love for sale”:

“Love for sale/appetizing young love for sale/love that’s fresh and still unspoiled/love that’s only slightly soiled/love for sale/who will buy/who would like to sample my supply/who’s prepared to pay the price/for a trip to paradise/love for sale/ let the poets pipe of love/in their childish way/I know every type of love/better far than they/if you want the thrill of love/I’ve been through the mill of love/old love/new love/every love but true love/love for sale/appetizing your love for sale/if you want to buy my wares/follow me and climb the stairs/love for sale.”

Jean-Baptiste Greuze, Votive Offering to Cupid, 1767

Jean-Baptiste Greuze, Votive Offering to Cupid, 1767

What a marvellous mix of cynicism, realism and weary hope.  While Cory is not a sex worker other than in a voluntary capacity, he appreciates a professional perspective.

That other great gay lyricist, W.H. Auden, offers the earthiest celebration of love in the gleeful poem “The Platonic Blow” (NSFW).  One can only bemoan the fact that at this distant remove, his lines have yet to be set to music.

Possibly, Uncle B, you have in mind the song “Tainted Love” composed by Ed Cobb of the Four Preps and first sung by Gloria Jones.  It concerns the fading of love, a form of taint, and has only one good line: Sometimes I feel I’ve got to run away, which is a jolly good idea if your lover is no longer interested.  The song’s remaining whining describes optional conduct.

Love is liberally admixed with everything else in a person’s mind.  A visual might help.  Imagine a blender set on very low, but still swirling the lumpy contents enough to create a whirlpool at the top.  Such is the human mind.  Things are randomly tossed into it by parents, schools, peers, experience, and the media. Love appears in the moment.  It then vanishes in the goo, yet leaves a trace, a flavour, an aroma, which affect everything else.

The moments of love’s appearance are real, wonderful, and evanescent, such as when your inamorato/inamorata does something that you find so impossibly adorable, be it ever so tiny, that you erupt with love, temporarily forgetting the bondage of the self, as they say in Alcoholics Anonymous.   Cory was once trying on clothes in a store, was suffering from near-terminal mall mind, and was particularly vacant.  His friend Ben looked at him and said, “I’m loving you right now,” for reasons unknown.  Cory became aware of the revelation of a quality in himself of which he would have otherwise have been unaware.  He felt loved in his vulnerability.

Such moments cannot be held and squeezed in the hope they will become permanent.  The search for consistent, perfect, untainted love is a chimera: everything changes.  Yet those moments will surface in the blender from time to time, and live on. Nothing is pure inside the cranium; that’s just way we’re built.

Cory appreciates your thoughtful question.

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