There are no stories about love. Our love stories are about the darkest parts of human nature - infidelity, loneliness, misery, obsession, abuse, pedophilia, opportunism, simple cold-heartedness. About the worst events in a human life - death, war, illness, etc. A story is about a conflict, and that thing does not mix well with love.

Sometimes, in stories, the adversity comes and goes, and we learn that they lived happily ever after. But we don't tell stories about the happily ever after. We don't tell stories about love.

Honestly, now, who wants to read a love story? Imagine if Nabokov had fallen in love with a kind but homely girl named Deanne and written pages and pages about their quiet nights cooking dinner and watching television. We could only ever love Deanne if she were hit by a ten ton grain truck and paralyzed, if we could watch his love turn to resentment and boil over. Love itself is not very interesting.

The love we love is the unrequited kind. We love betrayal, battered wives, and buxom blondes poisoning their octogenarian beaus. Vlad and Deanne are making it work. They're talking it out. They don't go to counseling, or throw dishes. When they have their worst fights he sleeps on the couch and in the morning they both apologize. The only 1000-page books about those things are in the self-help aisle, and there are more of them in the Goodwill than out of it.

Love is just a gimmick. Love is the sugar coating without which a "love story" would be a scandal. Read a love story by any other name, you're reading a tabloid. You're reading sensational trash. Calling it a love story lets you carry that paperback anywhere without disapproving glances.

There's no such thing as a love story. The only love stories we're interested in are our own, and no one else wants to hear it.

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