Love: Promised vis-a-vis Demonstrated

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Watched a movie the other day. For all intents and purposes, a woman was a slave to a man (‘bondsman’) whose bed she had to share. Along came a man with whom she was familiar, who promised to bail her out. The price? US$3,000 somewhere around 1880, say. At 5% annual inflation since then, that translates into somewhere around US$2.5 million in today’s (2018) dollars.

Prior to return of the woman’s suitor, her bondsman decides to auction her off in context of sexcapades with what potentially could be several men in course of one night. A man whom we will refer to as ‘Charlie, the savior’ shows up, challenges her bondsman to a poker game, places all of his cash savings and his pub on the line, all of this with the woman in question as only prize in the event he were to win. Charlie the savior wins the poker game, takes the woman home.

So why would saved woman refuse to share the bed with a man who for all practical purposes and intents saved her from gang rape? Is it conceivable a rational man can place all of his life savings and his business up for grabs in exchange for just one night of sex? Does the gamble in of itself not declare love for woman in question? Could it be the woman was saving herself for her suitor who had yet to return with the US$2.5 million necessary for her bailout?

Long story short, the promised suitor arrives, peruses the woman who, having refused to share Charlie the savior’s bed, now has not had sex for quite a while. The suitor does not like what he sees, walks away with his US$2.5 million.

Now then, Charlie the savior was not demanding any money. Having won the poker game, he had rescued the woman at no cost, never had attempted to force himself on the woman, never had given her over to her former bondsman, was not demanding any money whatsoever in exchange for the woman.

As could reasonably be expected of a romantic treatise, eventually the woman comes around, marries Charlie, lives happily ever after, or perhaps more accurately, lives as happily as she and Charlie allow themselves.

Essence of the story?

If one man promises love in future, and one man shows love in the present, how exactly is a woman supposed to choose? If one man offers love consisting of 40% promises, and 60% current actions, can this be construed to be better than an offer consisting of 60% promises, and 40% current actions?

Said question is not trivial. A woman in college can choose between demonstrated love from a fellow student, or non-guaranteed promise of love embedded in post college interactions with professionals in context of work life. A girl in High School can choose to wait for college before dating — the guys would be from more varied backgrounds, likely would be more mature. A fresh graduate from college can choose to wait until achievement of career stability and success before seeking out successful men for romance.

The woman in the story initially chose promise of love in future, then upon disappointment resorted to love already demonstrated. Was this rationality of hedging (promised love is risky, demonstrated love less so, if promised love does not materialize, demonstrated love serves as fallback or fail safe; but then will demonstrated love still be waiting?), or emotions (she was in love with promised love, but not with demonstrated love)?

Written by

Educator and Researcher, Believer in Spirituality, Life is serious business, but we all are pilgrims so I write about important stuff with empathy and ethos

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