What it means to be mean in Love

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
It's an essay on the importance of being mean in Love.

Submitted: November 11, 2014

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Submitted: November 11, 2014



“What it means to be mean in Love”


The New Oxford dictionary of English defines “meanness” as a person with Lack of generosity. Whilst the meaning of the word can never be redefined perpetually but it can definitely be challenged contextually. ‘Love’ they say eclipses all feelings and reformulates emotions. Can “meanness” be interpreted differently within the framework of Love? Yes, it can be, whether one likes it or not.


Austrian Writer Karl Kraus, noted for his notoriousness in writing, famously quoted in his work “Die Fackel” that “Matrimony is the union of meanness and martyrdom”. Even though Karl’s reference to meanness in matrimony is blurred and questionable, one is bound to believe that meanness existed where the scent of love existed since the beginning of time. It’s an open secret that matrimony is no guarantee for love but the element of love in a successful matrimony is undeniable. This brings the spotlight back on Meanness and its shared inheritance in complex human emotion called ‘Love’.


Meanness cannot be expressed through the eyes in a true relationship conveniently taking into account that ‘love is blind’ for the sake of elucidation. Other ways of expressing meanness is through words spoken in pain, actions done in haste and battles fought in love. Clandestinely, every living thing in the world which loves or loved is guilty of meanness in some situation or the other. So what’s the value that meanness attaches to love? The answer to that is “something noteworthy”. As stated earlier, all human feelings eclipse around love because love is omnipotent. The mere relevance of meanness in love is that it acts an instrument to demand attention, care, time, presence or a ‘pound of flesh’ as Shakespeare would assert it. Meanness can never be considered off beam through the prism of love. It is an integral part of any relationship. It expresses love in its primitive state. The word ‘Primitive’ is consciously used here to remind that the feeling of love and connected emotions were in existence much before man could invent language and religion.


The shade of meanness in love is clearly evident in Trojan War when Aphrodite (Greek goddess of love) made Helen, the most beautiful of all women and wife of Menelaus, fall in love with Paris, who took her to Troy. The battle was fought for more than a decade for one person’s meanness. Blood was shed and lives lost aplenty but what prevailed is meanness and love. No one would remember Trojan War if not for love and meanness.  Every act of irrationality, silliness, senselessness or callousness gravitates around love.  People in love and soldiers in wartime are not bound by the rules of fair play. All is fair in war and love and that includes ‘meanness’.



The closing paragraph of James Thurber’s humorous masterpiece “Courtship through the ages” describes meanness in a relationship when he says that a “certain male of my acquaintance who one night after dinner asked his wife to put down her detective magazine so that he could read a poem of which he was very fond. She sat quietly enough until he was well into the middle of the thing, intoning with great ardor and intensity. Then suddenly there came a sharp, disconcerting slap! It turned out that all during the male's display, the female had been intent on a circling mosquito and had finally trapped it between the palms of her hands.” This act of meanness in the relationship here does not necessarily mean that she hated her man. Despite this act of meanness she did love him and was committed to him.


It is strange yet true that meanness in love is an essence of every relationship. The success of a life long bond depends on the realization that all acts of meanness in love are an internal craving for the other person’s attention and care.  An accomplished relationship is when people involved accept each other’s meanness as a form of expressing love. Therefore, no one needs to be embarrassed to show their “meanness in love”. Be in love and be mean in love!




Author – J Mathew

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