“We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.” (Dr. Suess)
Damsels in distress. Knights in shining armor. Gilded carriages. Prince Charming. Cinderella. Cloud nine. Star gazing. Growing old together. Comfortable silence. Children. Grandchildren. Anniversaries.
When we think of love, what do we see? Maybe we see two people full of youthful enthusiasm sitting on a porch swing. They hold hands and gaze into each others’ eyes and you could swear a violin is playing a romantic tune.
Maybe we see two people crippled with age sitting on their separate sofas, occupying the long hours with their own projects, comfortable in mutual silence. Photos of children and grandchildren decorate the mantelpiece, while a card reading Happy 50th Anniversary lies on a side table.
Most of us have a vague idea of what love is, and while we might not be able to define it clearly, we know it when we see it. And when we see it we want to keep watching. Why?
Love speaks to a universal desire within all of us to find that perfect person who will come into our lives, sweep us off our feet, take on the world with us, fight battles, listen to our stories, dry our tears, hold us in silence. We want that person to have it all.
Yet some of the greatest love stories have not been of perfect people. They’ve been about two souls—flawed, lonely, misunderstood, unlikable, damaged, weak—who find each other and, in a moment or in a decade, know each other, all their flaws and problems, differences and disagreements, and love each other, not just in spite of those flaws, but for them.
And if it takes a second or a year, it is a journey we all like to see unfold. And while it is easy to be swept away by two good looking leads in a series of intense sex scenes, deep down we know it is not nearly so epic or satisfying as watching two people become friends first and lovers second. Because in being friends first, you are establishing that in 50 years, you will still like your partner. Everything about them: their ups, their downs, their annoying way of slurping cold cereal, their obnoxious habit of leaving dishes in the sink or food on the counter—and loving them all the better, because those faults make up an undeniable part of who they are.
I’ve always loved… well, love stories, so Bones hooked me the moment I started watching. What more could I ask for in a TV show? It has good looking leads with smoking hot chemistry, fleshed-out supporting actors, witty dialogue, smart plots, well-developed characters, and fluid storylines. Bonus: it is a crime show.
I was obsessed within two episodes.
Luckily for me, I had five plus seasons to catch up on. I could have Bones for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And, if I had the time, for a snack, too. I never had the time. But I’m pretty sure even my ice cream was Bones-flavored.
Having watched this show in its entirety three times in one year (yes that would be 402 episodes in 365 days), I’ve had ample opportunity to reflect on the kind of love Booth and Brennan have for each other. Watching their story again and again is like reading a great classic a second or third time: you always manage to learn something entirely new, make another connection, or understand just a little bit more. I’m always amazed that no matter how many times I watch the same episode, there’s always something else that catches my eye and makes me go WOAH!
The first time I watched the show all the way through, I saw Booth being in love with Brennan right from the start. I believed him when he said, “I knew. Right from the beginning!” And maybe he did, somewhere, but not truly. Not enough to get them through 30, 40, 50 years of life together. I think that had the two of them slept together on their first meeting, they would not be together now. Yes, there was immediate attraction and chemistry, but what else can you expect between a beautiful woman and a handsome, highly-evolved, well-built man with perfect acromia?
Brennan wasn’t ready to love him the way he wanted to be loved, and Booth neither knew nor understood her. If they had slept together, their relationship would have been one based on sex and sex alone, and that is not a strong enough foundation upon which to build a life. An emotional connection would have been forged on a physical level, but their relationship wouldn’t have lasted. Other connections need to be made in order to make it through the long haul. (In fact, several studies have shown that marriages in which the couples lived and slept together beforehand are 50 percent more likely to end in divorce.) The logic is simple: couples sleep together and the hormones and chemical processes in their brains go haywire. They believe they are in love, get married, and when the sex drive wears off and kids are taking over their lives, they suddenly realize they have nothing in common with their partner and even worse, don’t like them.
Brennan and Booth would have been no different. Brennan was too compartmentalized and Booth was too serious too quick, and both are all-or-nothing, strong people who wouldn’t have been able to compromise or back down. Luckily, Brennan got cold feet when Booth told her he thought it was going somewhere. She panicked and, since she was not ready for that kind of relationship, backed off. It was the anti-catalyst catalyst that started what is now my all-time favorite love story.
It’s that serious.
And so are they: they’re seriously in love. They like each other. They love each other. They’re fascinated by each other. They’re friends, best buds, lovers, colleagues, partners, the arm on which they find support, the shoulder on which they cry.
In short, their love is…
“Knowing all about someone
and still wanting to be with them more than any other person.
Love is trusting them enough to tell them everything about yourself, including the things you might be ashamed of.
Love is feeling comfortable
and safe with someone,
but still getting weak knees when they walk into a room and smile at you” (author unknown).