The Power of the First “I Love You”

Love and Sex

The Power of the First “I Love You”

Illustration: Akshita Monga

Along, long time ago, Adam and Eve were chilling in The Garden of Eden right after Adam had downloaded Eve into real life from her hot Tinder selfie. Eve was talking excitedly about Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You”, but Adam – sporting a chiselled eight-pack – was on his phone, checking out new mayonnaise flavours on Instagram. He was playing it cool AF because as her maker, he was well aware of the fact that she had the hots for him. Eve, in a final bid for attention, decided to use the three little words which changed the world. Forever.

“I love you,” she said and waited with bated breath for a return ILU, but Adam didn’t have a fuck to give. Dude straightaway gave her a thumbs-up and winked at her. He waited days before eventually sending her a heart emoji. And then they lived happily ever after. After that, the world became a patriarchy, because Adam held the remote control in the relationship. Forever.

True story.

Thousands of years later, the stakes are a lot lower, but the tenet remains: the first “I love you” decides the dynamic of the entire relationship and the person who says it. It puts them on a railway track with the Virar Fast hurtling in their direction. Now they can either get a return “I love you” and go off the track by hitching their wagon to the Relationship Express. Or they could be nursing a hangover caused by shots of AbsolutHeartbreak vodka, topped with Captain Self-Loathing rum, and a chakna of Camus-esque loss of the very meaning of existence. Ergo, trammelled on the tracks.

In the modern dating scene, the first “I love you” is loaded with subtext. The subtext usually involves a paperless contract with clauses ranging from, “Can we hang out alone more often?” to “Hey, we have been hanging out alone a lot, now let’s hit the sack.” According to psychologists, in heterosexual relationships, it is mostly men who set out to seal the contract. They either feel the cultural weight of “taking the lead” or seem to think that tossing the 143 will get the physical ball rolling faster.

There’s also the fact that the numbers are against them (there are fewer women than men on Earth) causing a primal biological urge to flare up, making them lust for women the way this government is lusting after the Aadhar.

The 143 game is a tough one but you have to remember that it’s been that way since the first Cro Magnon male first set eyes on a female.

Women, therefore, win this delicate dance, studies say, owing to their predisposition of delaying the emotion. They need to assess the male partner’s value as they – due to a variety of social-cultural, and biological factors (an egg a month to a billion swimmers per five minutes of porn) – naturally invest more than the other party.

But does that mean that my fellow penis-possessors will always be losing the relationship game with their keen need to go 143? Not necessarily. The 143 can be delivered and the power can be retained – or at least, managed. If and only if you follow the ancient mathematical formula HNTE or “How not to Eve”.

The HNTE states unequivocally that in the run-up to dropping the L-bomb, it is essential to remember that the number of fucks given is inversely proportional to the eventual fucks you will get. Meaning, the less you give, the more you get. This, of course, doesn’t mean that you give no fucks, which is downright moronic, but relatively fewer. So for instance, up your WhatsApp game by using the power of read receipts or take a cue from Adam’s masterpiece in not giving a fuck as he checked out food porn while his lady love went on about #relationshipgoals. There is risk in the zero-fucks game of course, but I urge you to think of it as investing in a booming share market as opposed to a safe, fixed deposit. If things work out, you double the power investment.

The 143 game is a tough one but you have to remember that it’s been that way since the first Cro Magnon male first set eyes on a female. Even they knew that a well delivered “I love you” takes away the curse of Eve and accomplishes a happy power-balance in the relationship where both parties enjoy equal fucks (also known as a healthy, functioning relationship in 2017)

But despite its pitfalls, the first “I love you”, remains the most powerful, most exhilarating currency of exchange among two people – apart from gifting of Game of Thrones merch. So say it loud, say it proud, but for fuck sake don’t say it while you’re bangin’ away in the backseat of your hatchback. There are rules for place too but that’s a story for another day.