No Strings Attached – Falling in Lust or Falling in Love?

I recently watched “No Strings Attached” – the Natalie Portman – Ashton Kutcher starrer-romantic comedy.

This is one of the best sappy movies to be released around Valentine’s Day. For one, it’s good on the eyes – at the cost of being controversial, I’m referring more to Natalie Portman than Ashton Kutcher.  The chemistry between Natalie and Ashton was refreshing, explosive and warm – a good change from the forced cutesy stuff seen in most romantic comedies these days.  The story line was kind of standard – A guy and girl try to keep their relationship strictly physical, but it’s not long before they learn that they want something more.

Standard movie with outstanding performances and an engaging script made it a great V-day weekend watch.

Later, I got to thinking about relationships – – you can guess from the absence of its presence on this blog, that’s my favorite topic 🙂

I wonder…can it really ever be no strings attached? Has the biology of men and women wired them in such a way that falling in lust eventually leads to falling in love? {never mind the times we can’t tell one from the other}

The couple in the movie has great fun till one of them mentions the word love, almost immediately bringing the feelings of fear, restlessness and complication into the mix.

Of course these complications are a new-age phenomena. Today, being in love is not just the wonderful happenstance of the two concerned people falling into it.

After Cupid waves his wand, it takes a few more mini-miracles these days for the magic to work – first, the two people must hopefully be in love with each other and not some third hero/heroine of the story. Second, they have to be in love, with each other, at the same time, not one after or before the other in some string of comedy of errors.  Third, not only do they have to be in love, with each other, at the same time, but also be in the know of the existence of their love concurrently. There are movies made on this long gestation period of realization or epiphanies, not all with happy endings. Fourth, and the most popular one these days, they have to be in love, with each other, at the same time, concurrently, AND be “ready” for a relationship.

The readiness can be defined in various ways – it means one has miraculously gotten rid of old hurts, let go of previous loves, dropped any emotional baggage, and is open and willing to risk all of that stuff all over again. Hence, the current popularity of that rid-let go-drop-willing readiness stage. Too many verbs to work with.

This particular mental state has gained so much institutionalized ground that even Facebook has offered a thoughtful status of  “it’s complicated” for its dear members.

So as the movie attests, it is of no concern whether love comes first or lust. It all really boils down to this readiness. Let me not spoil it for those of you yet to watch it. Let’s just say because of the non-readiness of one of the involved parties, it takes a while for the happily ever after to come around.

It seems then that what our previous generations had and we don’t is an open and clear state of mind and sense of self, not plagued with today’s frustrations, stress, and most of all, choices.

And if that is so, then I’m reminded of something that struck me from the finale episode of Sex and the City – a show that  chronicled the success and failures of love for six years. The last line of the show went something like this, “Relationships can be new and exotic, or ones that are old and familiar…those that bring up lots of questions, those that bring you somewhere unexpected, those that bring you far from where you started, and those that bring you back. But the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you can find someone to love the you you love, well, that’s just fabulous.”

To the fabulous singles, and the fabulous doubles,  Happy Valentine’s Day!

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