By Nicolle

I love Glee. I love it so much that, in honor of its second-season premiere tonight, I’ve been listening to only Glee songs for the last five days.

I had the Glee cast playlist on shuffle (yes, I have ALL the songs from the first season on my iPhone) and a cover of a classic came on – Rick Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl.” I was belting loudly along to my car stereo and Cory Monteith when I came across this line in the bridge of the song: “I’ve been funny/I’ve been cool with the lines/Ain’t that the way love’s supposed to be?”

Aside from the fact that Rick used “ain’t” in his lyrics, something about that line suddenly bothered me. Yes, I know it’s just an 80s classic and Rick probably just put it in there because he like the way it flowed with the rest of the bridge, but it made me think that we tend to agree with him when we box love into certain characteristics.

According to Rick, love should be about being funny and cool. Now, while those are lovely attributes to aspire to, especially for an 80s rocker who likely just wants to bed Jessie’s girl, they unfortunately miss the mark when we’re talking about long-term relationships.

Yes, we all probably know that love encompasses much more than jokes and a slick hair do, but we also have our own preconceived notions about “the way love’s supposed to be” – whether we admit it or not.

I used to think love was about sharing the same interests, not being able to get enough of each other and always having things to talk about. While those things seem really great, and they’re touted as characteristics of love, I’m not convinced we can define romantic love so easily. Sure, there are values that love should embody (true selflessness, unconditional acceptance, genuine empathy), but the way those characteristics are played out looks different on everyone. It’s unfair to define love as one way or another when we’re talking about how the act of love plays out.

One of my college roommates hates getting flowers from her boyfriend. She doesn’t attribute flowers with love because she doesn’t like them. If her boyfriend were to get her flowers, he might be acting out of his love for her, but she doesn’t feel his love because she’s told him multiple times that flowers aren’t her thing. If he loves her, he should know that getting her a pair of Nike running shoes will show he cares far more than a bouquet of red roses.

We can’t define the act of love because true love requires getting to know a person well enough to know their idiosyncrasies, their pet peeves. It requires a sense of understanding and a willingness to let a person, not a preconceived notion of physical fireworks, romantic walks on the beach and candlelit dinners, speak for the relationship. Unfortunately, that doesn’t fit as easily into the bridge of a pop song, even though it could save us a lot of sleepless nights, pining over who’s girl (or guy) we don’t have.