Love (and its headaches) is the air

Ever since the revelations that South Carolina governor Mark Sanford had flown to Argentina to see his illicit lover, the subject of love, marriage and relationships has come to the fore in the larger culture.

There’s a whole lot of new attention being paid to the joys, disappointments and melodramatic crack-ups associated with love. A couple of new books disparaging or trying to rethink marriage are out. Some are speculating on how technology is ruining relationships. Bloggers and on-line columnists are coming forth questioning the assumptions of modern romance.

The timing, then, couldn’t be better for Cabrillo Stage’s presentation of the musical “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.” I saw the play last week, enjoyed the songs, laughed at the jokes and squirmed uncomfortably at the prickly truths it uncovered about the inherent emotional landmines that exist in the DMZ between men and women (and I do mean men and women, ‘I Love You’ doesn’t deal with gay relationships in any way).

Still, much of the humor depended on tiresome stereotypes of the sexes. But at least it got me thinking about those notions. While other stereotypes — race, ethnicity, age — are nowadays socially unacceptable, the images that cling to men and women endure. Could they be at least partially true? Are men clumsy, clueless, remote-hogging, sports-loving oafs? Are women dizzy, starry-eyed, narcissistic, shopping-obsessed lunatics? If not, why can’t we ever put these ideas aside?

Relationships are really all about the moments two people share that they spend too much time trying to re-create later. Since love is in the air, perhaps it’s time to check out a couple of fine new films that broach the subject:

‘Away We Go’ captures that moments when a relationship is at its crest, and what it’s like to create out of whole cloth a future together.

“500 Days of Summer” is a funny, clever examination of a love affair and its highs and lows that is both charming and original, and not as predictable as rom-coms usually turn out to be. See them both, with someone you (kinda sorta, sometimes, really want to) love.


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