Love on the Sidewalk

It’s another story about Ernest.  I know, you’ve probably heard enough about him, after the story where he got hit by the angry client.  But this actually happened the same day, and gave me more to think about.

We’re walking a client up, another escort and I, Ernest following.  We get past the gauntlet, just at the door, and the client’s  making the turn onto the clinic property when I hear him say it.  He says, “Come next door, we’d love to love on you.”

“ICK!”

That’s my first reaction.  “Ugh,” is my second.  It makes me shudder.

I don’t want him to “love” me, much less “love on me.”  Ugh.  I have to pause each time I write that.  Ewwwwww.

Then I think, maybe I’m not being fair.  Maybe it’s some cultural reference that I’m missing, some kind of church thing.  You know, I don’t watch TV, sometimes there are things that just go over my head.  So I google it.

I find a song.  By Jagged Edge.  The first verse goes like this:

Girl if you want love and you need it now, girl
I’m the one you call name on the speed dial, girl
Want love don’t look no further you’re always right for me, you never hit the curb girl.
See when you come when you want that real shit
same place you come when you want one real quick
oh uh uh oh uh uh oh
You know, that’s how it go, that’s how it go.

Um, that didn’t help.  I’m still thinking “Gross.  No.”

Then there’s “Lay My Love on You,” but that’s also more romantic, and surely not what Ernest means when he says it.

Finally, I find a short documentary called “I Would Love on You,” which was actually kind of interesting, about a competition to see who could “love” someone the most, as measured by a Functional MRI.   Weird, interesting, but probably not relevant to our Ernest protesting on the sidewalk.

“Love to love on you,” seems to have pretty clear sexual connotations to me, which gives it that extra “ick” factor.  But even without that, proclamations of love on the sidewalk by protesters seem manipulative, insincere, and coercive.

And smug.  They seem smug with it, as if those three words justify their actions.

**************************

I started this post a week ago, and I keep coming back to it~ not quite satisfied with what I’ve said, or maybe how I’ve said it.  A tinge uncomfortable ~ am I just being mean?   They really are sincere, i think.  They think what they’re doing is loving.

There are worse things they can say ~ worse things they do say.  So why does it seem so uncomfortable to me?   I feel like I’m missing something.

There’s a touch of drama triangle, right?  Cause love is good, and so I must be anti-love, and that would be bad… and I want to keep writing, to make sure you understand ~ I’M not the bad guy here…

And that’s pure drama triangle.  I’ve been sucked into not trusting my own sense of what’s ok and what isn’t.   Feeling like I have to justify my reaction.  I can hear Nurse Betty and D in my head.  “Oh, that’s sad, you think love is wrong, we just want the best for these women…”

And then it hits me.  It reminds me of ~

~ ok, this might be kind of embarrassing.  But it reminds me of guys in my youth, in high school, back in the day, guys who wanted sex.  Who thought the magic words were “I love you.”  As if that meant you were supposed to have sex with them.

Well.  That’s what it reminds me of.  “I love you’s” with a barely veiled expectation that you should do something in return.  That “I love you” equals “you owe me.”  Sincere in that same kind of way as the groping high school boy in the back seat of his daddy’s car.

So they want the clients to stop, to listen to them, to go to the anti-clinic, to change their minds.  To trust a stranger to know what’s best for them, all for a “we love you.”

And if that’s what the client wants to do, that’s fine with me.

But I know people who practice love for others in ways that aren’t coercive, people who don’t say it looking for a return on the investment.  I can tell the difference. And I’m back where I started.

“Come next door.  We’d love to love on you.”  Saying that to a stranger?  It’s just gross.

4 thoughts on “Love on the Sidewalk

  1. Um, “loving on” someone IS a sexual phrase, so this really is an ICK moment for me too. But then, Ernest doesn’t sound like the brightest bulb in the box, so maybe he was thinking something else.

    “A tinge uncomfortable ~ am I just being mean? They really are sincere, i think. They think what they’re doing is loving.”

    It’s uncomfortable to you because these people are NOT loving, and you know that full well. Sincerity is not winning them points…Being total bat guano crazy is a pretty sincere way of being.

    They are just parroting back ideas “love” they’ve been taught from their church. They have no concept of boundaries, they have no sense of respect, they are completely uninterested in relating to people in any sort of fashion. They don’t bother to hide that their only purpose there is to prevent abortions.

    “I can hear Nurse Betty and D in my head. ”Oh, that’s sad, you think love is wrong, we just want the best for these women…”

    This is what domestic abusers often say to their victims. “I just want what’s BEST for you…”

    • Hey, Longtail,

      Yeah.

      You’re right. At least – after I responded to Michelle, I was thinking about it. I have heard people talk about “loving on” someone – and they always meant hugging and kissing “on” them. Which may not be sexual, but is, at least, physically intimate. Yeah.

      As for the rest? Yeah. That too.

      i don’t want it to be like that. That’s my real issue, I think. I do know they’re not loving. But I’d like to be able to think they mean well.

      Yeah.

      Thanks.

  2. Oh, cool, thanks, Michelle! I’m glad it’s not quite as weird as I thought it was – but yes, I like the way you put it:

    “It’s never ok to use the word “love” to convince someone to let you decide what happens to their body.”

    Thanks!!

  3. For what it’s worth, talking about “loving on” someone is a normal phrase in some circles. On 19 kids and counting the Duggars talk about “loving on” their children. I agree that using it to a stranger you’re trying to convince of something is still creepy, though. It’s never ok to use the word “love” to convince someone to let you decide what happens to their body.

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