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我们的爱情不是浪漫电影,但我的幸福很确定

更新时间:2018-5-21 20:15:36 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

When Love Seems Too Easy to Trust
我们的爱情不是浪漫电影,但我的幸福很确定

Recently, Joe and I were watching a “Black Mirror” episode in which technology assigns relationship expiry dates to couples. (It’s “expiry” because they are British.)

最近,我和乔(Joe)看了一集《黑镜》(Black Mirror)。在这一集里,科技给情侣关系规定了终止日期。(是“终止”[expiry],因为他们是英国人。)

Just as I was wondering how that might apply to us, Joe said, “Maybe if you never check the date, you never get one.”

正当我在琢磨这个办法用在我们身上会怎样时,乔说,“也许如果你永远不看那个日期,就永远没有期限。”

Joe and I are engaged, by the way. But I am plagued by doubt, wondering if this is right. I look at data on failed marriages, wanting to fail-proof my own. I read articles that say criticism and defensiveness will eat away at a relationship, and I worry because I am a rather critical and defensive person. Contempt, I read, is “the kiss of death,” and I worry I have some of that too.

顺便说一下,我和乔已经订婚了。但我心中充满疑惑,想知道这么做对不对。我观察失败婚姻的数据,希望防止自己的婚姻以失败收场。看到有文章说批评和戒备会影响亲密关系后,我感到担心,因为我是一个相当挑剔和有戒备心的人。文章说,轻蔑是“死亡之吻”,我担心我也有些轻蔑。

In search of a formula for happiness and certainty, I sift through “Dear Prudence,” “Ask Polly” and “Savage Love.” I examine the marriages of friends and acquaintances. I look at engagement photos, scanning the faces for clues.

我在“亲爱的普鲁登丝”(Dear Prudence)、“问波莉”(Ask Polly)和“萨维奇谈爱情”(Savage Love)里仔细寻找获得幸福和确定性的办法。我研究朋友和熟人的婚姻,检查订婚时的照片,想从脸上找到蛛丝马迹。

“How happy are you?” I wonder. “How certain?” I scour wedding websites for evidence of doubt, but in these polished places I never find it.

“你有多幸福?”我问自己。“多确定?”我在婚礼网站上寻找质疑的证据。但在这些经过美化的地方,我一直没找到。

I read online accounts of broken engagements, identifying signs and symptoms, my heart pounding the way it does when I wake up with a stiff neck and read the meningitis page on WebMD.

我在网上看婚约解除的报道,辨认相关的迹象和症状。我的心怦怦直跳,就像睡觉醒来脖子僵硬后,在WebMD上看脑膜炎的网页时一样。

Part of the problem is I met Joe when I was 22, when I believed the romantic comedy of my life (based on “When Harry Met Sally”) hadn’t started yet. More accurately, I was in the flashback phase of that rom-com: Harry and Sally driving from Chicago to New York together.

问题的一部分在于22岁遇到乔时,我以为自己人生的浪漫喜剧(改编自《当哈利遇到莎莉》[When Harry Met Sally])还没有开始。更准确地说,我那时正处在那部浪漫喜剧的倒叙阶段:哈利和莎莉一起从芝加哥开车去纽约。

For a time, whenever I liked someone, I would try to game out the circumstances that would force us on an extended road trip, which would set the stage for us reuniting at some unimaginable age, like 27. By then my stock would have risen. I would be thinner and more successful, possibly even famous. I would have the necessary collateral to ask for what I wanted.

有一段时间,每次我喜欢上什么人,我都会想象我们进行漫长公路旅行的情况,那种旅行会为我们在一个不可想像的年龄重逢做铺垫,比如27岁。到那时,我的股票肯定已经涨了。我会更瘦、更成功,甚至可能更有名气。我会有底气得到我想要的。

I envisioned this scenario with several men, not one of whom gave any indication of being a viable long-term prospect. There was the guy who said, “I value our friendship too much” but would begin pawing at me when we were alone; the guy I’d go home drunk with throughout college (but only when it was his idea); and the guy who would come to my apartment late at night to get stoned and lecture me about Radiohead.

我对几个男人设想过这种场景,但他们没有一个表现出长期有望的迹象。有个男人说:“我太珍惜我们的友谊了”,但我们一独处,他就开始对我动手动脚;还有个家伙,整个大学期间我都喝了酒跟他回家(但每次都是他的主意);还有个家伙喜欢很晚到我的公寓里来喝酒,然后跟我滔滔不绝地讲电台司令乐队(Radiohead)的事。

These quasi relationships were accompanied by hours of texting or G-chatting that mostly involved me being an attentive sounding board. The challenge of trying to impress thrilled and unnerved me.

这些准恋情伴随着几个小时的短信或谷歌聊天,我基本上都扮演着专注倾听的参谋角色。努力给他们留下深刻印象的挑战既令我兴奋,又令我不安。

I would hungrily read back through our witty exchanges, congratulating myself on points I had scored. Doing so would convince me that, like in a rom-com, I had met the love of my life. Hell, I’d already slept with him! But it wasn’t the right time for us to be romantically involved. We still had at least five years to go before we would reunite. (That I envisioned this fantasy with multiple men seemed like a smarter bet, diversification.)

我会如饥似渴地回头翻阅我们之间诙谐的交流,为自己表现好的地方喝彩。这样做会让我相信,就像在浪漫喜剧中那样,我遇到了生命中的挚爱。见鬼,我已经跟他上床了!但现在不是谈恋爱的合适时间。离我们重逢至少还有五年的时间(我在多个男性身上设想过这个场景,这似乎是更明智的做法,可以分散风险)。

In movies, if a man is looking only for sex he is a cad. If he wants to talk, he’s interested in something more. It took me years to understand that men can want any combination of sex and conversation while having zero interest in a relationship.

在电影里,如果一个男人只关心性,那么他就是个无赖。如果他想交谈,那么说明他对更多的东西感兴趣。好多年后,我才明白,男人可以既想要性,又想交流,但同时对建立恋爱关系没有丝毫兴趣。

The scant attention I received from these men felt safer than asking for more. Also, it was dramatic: My whole life was a “Will we or won’t we?”

相比对我提出更多的要求,那些男人极少关注我,这让我觉得更安全。而且,这很有戏剧性:我的一生都是在“我们到底能不能?”当中度过的。

And then I met Joe at a bar. He talked to my friends and me and asked for my phone number. Watching him tipsily jab at his screen, I told him to call my phone to make sure he had typed correctly. He hadn’t, so I typed it in. He texted two days later.

然后,我在一个酒吧里遇见了乔。他跟我和朋友们闲聊,然后要了我的电话号码。我看着他醉醺醺地在手机屏幕上乱点,就让他给我打个电话,以确保他记对了。他没记对,所以我把号码输了进去。两天后,他给我发了短信。

Joe fell into my lap so casually that I thought nothing of it. I considered dating him to be a good use of time while I worked on becoming that more valuable person for someone else.

乔如此随意地闯入我的生活,所以我根本没想过重逢的场景。我本来觉得,在我成为别人更有价值的恋人之前,跟他约会是在很好地利用这段时间。

Joe was 30, I learned. We each suspected an age difference, but this eight-year gulf surprised us. I had grown up on Disney Channel Original Movies and the earliest viral videos. Joe had seen almost every network sitcom — “Cheers,” “Malcolm in the Middle,” you name it. We overlapped on “Friends.” He would say things like, “Did you know ‘Roseanne’ had one of the first same-sex kisses on network television?” I had not.

后来我知道,乔30岁了。我们都料到我们之间存在年龄差距,但相差八岁还是让我们感到吃惊。我是看着迪士尼频道的原创电影以及早期的网络火爆视频长大的。乔几乎看过所有的电视情景喜剧——《干杯酒吧》(Cheers)和《马尔科姆的一家》(Malcolm in the Middle)等。我们都看过《老友记》(Friends)。他会问:“你知道《罗斯安家庭生活》(Roseanne)是最早出现同性亲吻的电视剧吗?”我不知道。

We talked about our favorite movies and I told him the truth, that mine was the 1994 “Little Women” adaptation. I told him how much I loved the Olive Garden and lamented that the Times Square location was too busy and expensive. He told me about his dogs, a Boston terrier (Pez) and a miniature dachshund (Little Buddy).

我们聊起自己最喜欢的电影,我跟他说了实话,我最喜欢的是1994年的《小妇人》(Little Women)改编电影。我跟他说,我多么喜欢橄榄园餐厅(Olive Garden),感叹时报广场那家店人太多、太贵了。他跟我讲了他的两只狗,一只是波士顿小猎犬(名叫佩兹),另一只是迷你腊肠犬(名叫小巴迪)。

On the phone to my mother during those early weeks, I told her that Joe seemed to like me an unprecedented amount, and this filled me with a surprising dread. “It seems too easy,” I told her.

在最初的几周里,我给妈妈打电话说,乔对我的喜欢似乎是前所未有的,这令我感到意外的恐惧。“似乎来得太容易了,”我对她说。

There was no drama with us. No “Will we or won’t we?” Just a “We are.”

我们之间没有任何戏剧性情节。没有“我们要不要?”只有“我们要”。

“Let it be easy,” my mother said.

“那就放松点,”妈妈说。

I worried because my text conversation with Joe rarely fell into that rapid-fire rhythm I found so thrilling. But I also wasn’t performing for him.

我担心是因为我俩的短信对话很少陷入那种格外刺激的火热节奏。但我也不会为他假装出什么样子。

In July, we went to Vermont on our first vacation together. One evening, after we had done the requisite frolicking in nature, I asked Joe what he wanted for dinner.

去年7月,我们第一次一起度假,去了佛蒙特州。一天晚上,饱览自然风光之后,我问乔晚饭想吃什么。

He looked at me slyly and said, “How about the Olive Garden?”

他狡猾地看着我说:“橄榄园怎么样?”

I threw my arms around him.

我伸手搂住他。

On the drive, I burped in front of him for the first time. I remember it happening in slow motion, including the part where I cried out “No!” right after. When I recovered, Joe told me that the first night he stayed at my apartment, I fell asleep on his chest and drooled all over him.

在去餐厅的路上,我第一次在他面前打了嗝。我记得它是以慢动作发生的,连我随后喊出的“不!”也是慢动作。我停止打嗝后,乔对我说,他在我的公寓留宿的第一天晚上,我靠在他胸口睡着了,流了他一身口水。

Joe said “I love you” first. I said it back, then retreated into my own head. In all of my scheming before Joe, I had never conceived of a situation in which I would have the power to break someone’s heart. I had assumed the man would have that power and my life would be a constant charm offensive to stop him from using it. I thought when someone said “I love you” to me, it would be the result of my hard work or even trickery.

是乔先说的“我爱你”。我也说了我爱他,但心里犹豫不决。在遇见乔之前,我从没设想过自己会拥有力量,可以令别人伤心。我觉得拥有这种力量的会是那个男人,而我的一生就将不断使用魅力攻势,阻止他使用这种力量。我以为,如果有人对我说“我爱你”,那会是我努力甚至是耍花招的结果。

“What’s going on in that dome of yours?” Joe asked as we stood on my building’s fire escape. This is truly how he speaks.

“你这个脑瓜里在想什么?”乔问道,当时我们正站在我那栋楼的逃生楼梯上。他确实是这么说的。

“I don’t want to say it,” I said.

“我不想说,”我说。

“You can say it.”

“你可以说。”

“I’m freaked out because I can imagine a day that I wind up hurting you,” I said. “Not that I have any plans, but the potential exists, and I can’t imagine it the other way around.” This is truly how I speak.

“这吓着我了,因为我可以想象到某一天我会伤害你,”我说。“不是说我有什么计划,但这种可能性是存在的,并且我无法想象会有其他情况。”我确实是这么说的。

Joe said: “There’s an episode of ‘Malcolm in the Middle’ where Lois is upset because Hal loves her a little more than she loves him. He tells her it’s O.K. because two people can’t love each other that much. If they did, they’d never leave the house.”

乔说:“《马尔科姆的一家》里有一集,露易丝因为哈尔爱她比她爱哈尔更多一些而感到难过。他告诉她这没关系,因为两个人不可能都那么爱对方。要是这样的话,他们就再也没法离开家了。”

We had one big fight that first year. I was dusting a ceiling fan in his apartment and he got angry that I was doing it in his prized Black Sabbath T-shirt. I stormed out of the apartment and walked to the subway.

在第一年里,我们大吵过一架。他因为我穿着他珍爱的黑色安息日(Black Sabbath)乐团T恤在他的公寓里打扫天花板吊扇而生气。我冲出了公寓,往地铁走去。

“I guess we’re going to break up,” I thought. “It’s not like he’s going to chase me to the F train.” I needed to refill my MetroCard but had only pressed the first button when I felt him tap me on the shoulder.

“我想我们要分手了,”我想。“他大概不会追到F号线。”我要给地铁卡充钱,但才刚按下第一个按键,就感觉到他拍了我的肩膀。

I’m 27 now, the age I imagined I would be when one of those guys from my past would realize I was the One. In some ways, I am the version of myself I hoped I would be. I am more successful, by virtue of being six years out of college. I’m a little thinner, though I try to think about that less.

现在我27岁了,在我以前的想象里,到了这个年纪,我的某个前任就会意识到我才是他的真命天女。从某些方面上说,我成了自己希望成为的样子。我更成功了,因为我已经离开大学六年了。我还瘦了一点,但我尽量少去想这回事。

I sometimes wonder how I would do on the dating market now, imagining Harry and Sally reunions with those indifferent men from my past. I’m in touch with a few of them and, to be honest, they don’t seem to be pining.

有时我也会去想,在现在的约会市场上我会表现得怎么样,我会想象自己与过去那些漫不经心的男人们来一段哈利和莎莉式的重逢。我和他们中的一些还有联系,说实话,他们似乎并不苦苦思念我。

I try to remember that I am worthy of anyone, but mostly that I am worthy of Joe. It’s common for a woman to have that kind of realization at the end of a movie, to discover she was enough all along. But what the movies get wrong is that once the character realizes this, she is transformed forever. In real life, I have to keep reminding myself.

我努力记住我配得上任何人,但最主要的是我配得上乔。电影结束时,女人往往会有这样的觉悟,会发现她一直都足够好。但在电影中,一旦主角意识到了这点,她就永远地改变了,这是不对的。在现实生活中,我必须不断提醒自己。

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