The 5 Ways We Define Love (And Why They're Wrong)

#2. Love Is Being Someone's Hero

Hey, here's a recipe for disaster: I used to think love was wanting to be someone's Prince Charming. A hero. A knight in shining armor. Growing up, the world kind of teaches you that. And man, it feels good to be a prince. Like really good.

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Not that Prince (although I imagine that feels pretty awesome, too).

I once dated a girl who made me feel like her own personal savior. And I'd do little things for her that made her day and I thought, wow, I know what love is. It's being with someone who makes you want to do those things all the time. Don't get me wrong. It's nice to do things for loved ones. It's nice when those little things become big things and you are a hero. But that's not the definition of love.

Here's the thing. The people who are best at making you feel like you're a hero are people who really need a hero, who are desperate for salvation in the form of another human being. Basically, the people who make you feel like a hero the best are the people who need it the most. They're in trouble. And they are trouble.

And guess what? If YOU need to be someone's hero to feel loved, YOU'RE trouble, too. It's an intense feeling both ways. Having someone be your savior and one true path to happiness feels just like love. Knowing someone looks at you like Jesus Christ, but one they get to have sex with, feels like love, too. But at the end of the day, it's not.

Definition of Love Rating:

#1. Love Is Cleaning Shit

When I was about 5 years old, I thought I might like a dog. After all, that seemed like a normal request, and I'd seen a lot of that on TV. My 12-year-old brother then informed me that having a dog meant cleaning up its crap. Literally.

Hey, I used that word right this time!

In any event, that pretty quickly put an end to my dog-wanting desires. Fetch seemed fun and all, but not worth cleaning up shit. For that, you'd need ... love. And the more I think about it, that's the best definition of love I know. Love is cleaning shit.

Hmm, not really the right ring to it, either. Must be why my resume to SomeECards has gone unanswered.

But think about it. What better definition is there? It's not just social services that makes parents change hundreds of diapers filled with godawful stuff. Parents clean their kids' shit because love. People take care of their dogs because love. And what about cats? Well, cats are evil and they know they're evil and that's why they bury their own shit -- so they can be indebted to nothing and no one.

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"Yeah, I'll clean my own shit, thanks. I owe you nothing!"

My friend told me a story once about having a horrific virus while he was sharing a bed with his girlfriend. Long story short, he woke up at three in the morning having crapped the bed, creating some horrible diarrhea-designed mess. He crawled off to the shower, and when he returned, his girlfriend was cleaning the sheets. That's the day he decided to marry her, and that's as good a reason as I can think of.

Love can be messy and complicated and painful. Lives built together can be sloppy and ugly and unpleasant. The best definition of love we have is finding a friend willing to roll up some sleeves and get to work, by your side, in the shit.

Definition of Love Rating:

If you're in New York City, come see Gladstone do standup April 12, 2013, at The Saloon. Show starts at 7 p.m.

Or come see him film a live new episode of HATE BY NUMBERS at the Calgary Expo on April 26, 2013. Also, be sure to follow Gladstone on Twitter and stay up-to-date on the latest regarding Notes from the Internet Apocalypse. And then there's his website and Tumblr, too.

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