Who To Love

I remember myself as a sixth grader crying herself to sleep due to an unrequited “love”. Back then, I discovered that my crush has a thing with my classmate who’s a lot prettier than me. It felt so unfair then! I thought that I was already a loser before even entering the battlefield. I believed then that I offer no competition as I don’t have beauty as a weapon.

Then I entered high school, made friends, and fell in love with a classmate during my senior year. What a bliss that was! The guy was an old-fashioned romantic who sent me love letters written on scented papers; asked me to give my heart as his “pasalubong”; and told me that he will do everything I want him to (except committing suicide). His humor, sweetness, and good looks had a strong impact on me.

But my world crushed when I’ve learned that he’s also launching his moves to someone who, you guessed it, is prettier than me. In fairness to the guy, he tried to make amends. He apologized, gave me some time, then finally asked me if we can make our relationship official. Of course, on a roller coaster of feelings and complicated emotions associated with teenage stupid love, friendship, immaturity, and pride, I answered no. He ended up with the other, who, I believe, is more deserving.

When I reached college, I was a bit disconnected from issues related to romance. I don’t even know if I have admirers then. If there were glances or physical contact, I always dismiss it immediately as a form of curiosity or a friendly gesture. I never thought any of it as a sign that the person is attracted to me. Why? Because in college, it would be weird that someone will notice me amidst a throng of beautiful faces.

I did fell in love with someone in college. But he’s not interested in me.

Am I ugly? I think so. Do people call me ugly? Some people did, but a lot of them don’t say anything, which for some reason I take as a silent nod to the question. I’m not stunning. Maybe average, or for some, below average.

I grew old thinking that it’s hard to compete for love if I’m not as pretty as them. I believe that an attractive face will always be the clincher for a man to pay attention to and eventually love a woman.

Well, I’m thankful that I got to live long enough to realize that my belief is not a universal thing. I now believe that not all men are suckers for beauty and glamour. They might notice the beautiful ones first, but it doesn’t mean they will surely fall in love with those pretty women. You know, men’s initial reactions to attractiveness are actually scientific, as people’s brains are wired to spot first those whose faces feature the right proportions.

And the same goes for women. For me. I’m fast at noticing the good-looking guys. But it does not mean that I’ll like them for sure. They’re just eye candies. Sugar treats for my field of vision.

Intelligence. It’s what magnetizes me the most. A natural intellectual shines in my eyes brighter than the high noon sun. If he shares things with me from which I can learn, I won’t mind directing all my attention to him.

If he’s keen to details, reads, and can carry a tune or two, I know I’ll easily admire him. Maybe even fall for him.

Sadly, I fell into an abyss that is loving an intelligent man. I didn’t notice that I was being manipulated and pulled into the bottom. The experience was so painful that I ended up distorting my belief about love.

I‘ve learned something, though. I’ve realized that more than being intelligent, how the man perceives and treats his fellowmen is more important. How he carries himself in front of the poor, the rich, the professional, any kind of people. How he is easily approached. How he can make others comfortable and not confronted. If the man leaves in his every departure a smile on the faces of those he crossed roads with, he’s probably a good man. More than being smart and a wide reader, I should pay more attention to a man’s character, because it’s what I need if I want someone to stay in love with me for years.

You see, people are not only defined by the size of their brains. What is intelligence if he can’t remember to call and ask if I’m already home? What is wit if he can’t strike a joke funny enough to get me out of a depressive episode? If I say, I’m attracted to intelligent guys, I’m talking about a shallow feeling. The attraction won’t last if he can’t back up his brain with a heart. I don’t even give a damn about the looks because if I think about it, there’s no pattern to the faces of those who struck a chord in my heartstrings. I guess I simply just love being random.

I’ve realized that when it comes to love, the things that matter are those that you don’t force.

When you’re not concerned about how you look, and you just bask in the feeling without inhibitions, you’d know you’ve stopped wondering what love really is. It’s a multitude of emotions rolled in a big ball of strings in different colors, and in every pull, there is always a new combination, another pattern, and tons of discoveries. When you can finally let go of the standards you’ve once set for your future partner, and just accept that if all things fall into their right places at the right time then that person’s probably the one, there and then you’ll stop wondering. Love is not always a whirlwind. Sometimes it’s more of a bud slowly blooming, turning more beautiful each time you check on it. And I believe that it’s a stronger, deeper kind of love than anything else.

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