As a kid, one of my favorite shows was "Dynasty." My mom and I would curl up on the sofa and be mesmerized by the affairs of Blake Carrington, the catfights between Crystal Carrington and Alexis Carrington Colby, and the crystal blue eyes of my crush John James. Although a villain, Alexis was our favorite, as she always seemed to be having a dramatic conversation while in a bathtub surrounded by bubbles and always with flawless and never wet perfect hair and make-up.
It was in front of that TV that I learned that drama was an important part of romantic love. The kind of drama that makes you slap someone across the face. The kind of drama that makes you kiss a married man because you can’t control your desire. The kind of drama, I decided at 7 years old, that I wanted in my life.
While most other little girls dreamed about fairytale wedding where they are a princess and whatever, I dreamed about throwing dishes at my lover’s head and threatening to leave him for my boss.
I would stand in the mirror and re-enact scenes like the one where I was an unsatisfied wife who was seducing my rich husband’s brothers. I’d make out with stuffed animals then toss them across the room if I felt they had wronged me. I’d pour orange Tic Tacs down my throat pretending they were sleeping pills, lie on the ground will the open candy container in my hand so that a few remaining faux Ambien were falling out, and play “suicide.” My mom would sometime walk in on me when I was “dead” and say “Ah, that’s cute.”
My favorite scene to re-enact was from the made-for-TV-movie called “Desi Loves Lucy” about Desi Arnez and Lucille Ball’s volatile marriage. There is a part where Desi is apologizing to Lucy for cheating on her, he is on his knees, head in her lapping sobbing "Luuuucy, pwease. I lova you.”
Lucy unable to deny her love, took him back. As I tongue kissed fake Desi/my pillow I hoped that one day I’d have a real-life cheating husband crying in my lap.
It’s no wonder that as a grown-up, relationship drama has enticed me.
I sought out those made-for-TV moments -- forbidden kisses, hysterical arguments over mistrust, and drunkenly sobbing “Why don’t you care about me?!” on a busy Manhattan street.
Sadly much of that drama came at my expense, as I long chased after guys who clearly didn’t like me back. Part of it was probably my own immaturity and insecurity of not knowing the difference between love and lust, but the other part was that thrill of fighting for someone’s attention, affection and the risk of heartache fed that drama-desire within me.
I was continually drawn to Desis, guys who were dysfunctional, broken, sad. I thought I could change them, that my pussy would be Prozac for their broken souls.
Strangely, my longest most serious relationship was drama-less. We hardly argued, we rarely yelled, and he was insanely trustworthy. We got along so well that we got married …. and then divorced.
While I knew that getting along with my partner was better than my past one-sided dysfunctional flings, me and this guy got along too well, like BFF well. That’s when I realized, it’s not drama that I craved, it was passion.
Passion doesn’t have to mean cheating or throwing dishes at someone’s head or constant fighting. Passion is fighting for the relationship. According to Webster’s dictionary drama is “a state, situation, or series of events involving interesting or intense conflict of forces” and passion is “intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction.” Both are intense, but only drama is filled with conflict.
Now, I’m in a passionate relationship. When we love, we love hard. And when we fight, we fight hard. Our relationship is built on honesty, good communication and intensity.
And every once in a while we have a good screaming match in the street followed by a “But I can’t live without you” post-fight kiss in the rain. A scene that would make Alexis Carrington Colby proud.