Friday, October 07, 2005

Musings on Meat Loaf's Theorem. On Monday night I was feeling very sad. The first broidsmaid pictures had already come in via email, and they confirmed that I perfectly filled out (pun intended) the stereotype of the 'one fat broidsmaid'. You know there is always one in every wedding party: she looks uncomfortable in her dress, made even worse by the fact it's identical to the dress the other slim, beautiful broidsmaids are wearing. Her underwear carves cruel lines into her blubbery rolls, her feet look like hams stuffed into her shoes and her face as though there's a sausage strapped to her chin. (This image made me laugh out loud in the internet cafe when I first thought of it.)

The photos also reveal that I was the most strategic bouquet deployer. The others are holding theirs like they don't know what to do with them. But I know. They are camouflage. Of course my sadness was not just the broidsmaid business, you know. There was a boy. He had not yet rejected me, but I already knew that he would.

I decided to take Elaine's advice and have a bit of a pub crawl. At pub number two, Kelly's, which is an Irish pub, I was sitting in the window with my schooner when Meat Loaf's song, "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad", came on. And it seemed to me at the time to be the most brilliant elucidation of how people become trapped in the ruts of their romantic history.
Baby we can talk all night
But that ain't gettin' us nowhere...
You see, nothing now can move the song's protagonist to love, because he himself once loved and was rejected using the same crappy cynical line that he uses on his current girlfriend: that she should consider herself lucky not to have his love, because "two out of three ain't bad".

I dubbed this "Meat Loaf's Theorem". Let wanting = W, need = N and love = L.

W + N > L

Meat Loaf's Theorem is a paradox: what you see as the most valuable thing is pragmatically less valuable than the sum of two other lesser things. Hence the sum of these is 'not bad'. It is somewhat related to Madonna's Theorem, in which love depends on a recognition of suffering and humiliation endured (this recognition is the 'justification'). So let T = waiting and J = justification.

L = J(W + N + T)

Maths was my worst subject at school. No doubt some smartarse will correct me in the comments with some proper fucking equations. Anyway. Meat Loaf's Theorem is about recognising the value of what other people can offer you, instead of holding out for something they can't provide.

I started feeling resentful that Meat Loaf considered wanting and needing to override a lack of love. So I started thinking about possible permutations of Meat Loaf's Theorem. If you could only have two out of three of love, want and need, which two would not be 'bad'? I even text-messaged Rigby and Jeremy to see what they thought on this matter. Rigby asked if this was a Zen question. Jeremy was confused and slightly drunk on Jewish wine. So here are some ways Meat Loaf's Theorem can be used to identify a destructive and self-perpetuating pattern of thinking about relationships.

W + N > L
The classic example. If you are struggling vainly to win the love of someone who can only offer you need and desire, you will be unable to recognise the value of the love offered to you by anyone else.

L + N > W
Could this be the dreaded 'just friends'? When the person's love for you and need for your company outweighs their desire for you? Here, the paradox is that love and need are greater than desire, but desire always appears more valuable. So you are unable to recognise the value of friendship, yet that is all you are ever offered.

L + W > N
You are loved and wanted, but not needed. Could this be the best solution under Meat Loaf's Theorem? Who wants some clingy needy person around? But herein lies the paradox: need reveals the contingency of combined love and desire. If there is little need for combined love and desire, how can they maintain their value? You will never feel secure in a relationship.

What do you think?

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