Volume 75, Number 8 | July 13- 20, 2005


Love is blind

By Andrei Codrescu

The F.D.A. warns that Viagra may cause blindness, thereby confirming what everyone knows. The mystery of what attracts one person to another will be forever obscure. Not only is love blind, people like to be blind while they are in love. That’s why they close their eyes when they think of their love and often during lovemaking. Love courts darkness perpetually. Love’s habitat is the dark: dark corners, dark bars, dark alleys, dark rooms, the night itself. Even the most brazen porn depends on effectiveness for dim lighting.

Darkness is necessary for shaping the lover into the fullness of one’s fantasy. In the dark one can stretch one’s lover and bend her into the shapes of one’s love. How many loves were ruined by a sudden beam of light, by the involuntary flicking of a switch or by a policeman’s flashlight? Love also depends on darkness for keeping away the so-called “real world” for which lovers have no use.

Lovers wear shades and blindfolds and dance in the dark. One way puritans have always sought to dissuade people from having sex was to create a harshly lit environment. Torture always involves bright lights. Barracks are lit like stages. There is nothing a bluestocking likes more than seeing shadows flee.

All of that doesn’t mean that literal blindness as a permanent condition is something to be desired. An informal poll of blind poets reveals that they would prefer to be blind only part of the time, maybe never. There is no proof that Viagra blinds people permanently. There have been rare cases of it, but these may have been of people who simply refused to resurface to light after a particularly profound sexual experience. These people may be radicals.

Viagra has been widely reported to bathe its consumers in a blue light. The lovers of Viagra-ingesters have a bluish tinge, an aura that also attaches to surrounding objects, like lampshades and dinner plates. There is nothing wrong with seeing things in blue. Many deities are depicted as having blue features and blue auras. Vishnu is all blue, I think. In any case, a tint of blue with a touch of temporary blindness is a small price to pay for immersion in love’s mystery. If it turns out that Viagra blinds you permanently, then a choice must be made: must one (can one) live blindly in love, or is there some other alternative? Not being an older man, for instance?

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