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In the wee hours, when you have neither the energy nor desire to hide from your worst self, you can finally whisper the awful truth into the darkness: I really hate that expression “I love you to the moon and back.”
Seriously. Hate. It.
It’s the new “Not!” If you follow social media, everybody is out there proclaiming “love to the moon and back.” Which makes me think we’re becoming a nation of sentimental mush pots clutching Trapper Keepers covered in rainbow stickers even as we head into work.
“I love you ...”
Whoa. Stop right there. Let me guess. Hmmmm. To the moon and back?
We really must find better ways to say we love each other. Go ahead. I’ll wait. And, no, you can’t simply substitute a planet.
The moon is linked to love, I get that. We are “moonie eyed” when we fall in love. We are “moonstruck” if Cher can be believed. Which she can be, of course.
The problem with trite professions of love involving large gas bags is that if everyone says it, it starts to lose its meaning.
It is the height of laziness to profess your love in such predictable ways. It’s the same way the kids abbreviate ILYSM (“I love you so much”)
Do you really LMSM? I mean do you have the kind of “I would run into a burning Panera to save you (from high prices)” love that is required of history’s truly committed couples? Think Antony and Cleopatra, Victoria and Albert, Donny and Marie, Kim Jong Un and the guy who bakes his cream horns every morning. I’m just asking.
Now it should be noted that “to the moon and back” is familiar to us thanks to the famous children’s book, “Guess How Much I Love You.”
I’ll skip the particulars, but basically it’s a bedtime story about a rabbit dad telling his rabbit son how much he’s loved. After a day of comparing “how much” one loves the other (including lots of references to tops of trees and deep rivers and steep hills) the daddy rabbit whispers into his son’s floppy ear: “I love you to the moon and back” and the baby rabbit drifts off to sleep knowing he will never, ever have the last word as long as his father’s alive.
But now ... NOW ... we learn that parents are going with their offspring to have “Love you to the moon and back” tattoos inked over their hearts together. Etsy and Pinterest are one big giant mush-pit of loving to the moon and back merch.
I hate to point this out but to the moon and back — about 477,000 miles — is finite. It’s like when Duh Hubby gave me an eternity band for our 25th anniversary and only the top half of the band had diamonds.
“Does this mean you love me for just HALF an eternity?” I cried.
He sighed and looked decidedly un-moonstruck, as I recall.
Well. I had to ask.
— Wilmington, North Carolina’s Celia Rivenbark is a NYT-bestselling author and columnist. Visit www.celiarivenbark.com
Celia Rivenbark: Don’t say it ... unless you’re Buzz Aldrin