The Luv Doc: The Via Dolorosa
When is it acceptable to use the L word?
Dear Luv Doc,
Are you saying you're not lovable or are you saying you're not that easy to get to know? Truthfully, I don't know you well enough to make that call, but my bet is that you want me to give you some definitive time frame wherein it is reasonable to use the L word. I am a bit of a simpleton, but I am not dumb enough to try and put a toe down on that water bug.
There are literally volumes and volumes of printed and recorded material regarding the subject of love, and none of them are definitive in any way. No, not even the Bible, so back off, cross huggers. If anything, Jesus spent his whole life talking about love and nobody believed him until he took one for the team. Just like every other sack of meat and bones, Jesus had to prove his love. If the Bible tells anything at all, it's that talk is cheap.
The reason you're probably feeling like this guy is blowing smoke up your ass is that he hasn't really walked the walk. I know you don't need him to run the Via Dolorosa, take a sword in the side, or be crucified – and if he's into that shit you should at least establish a safe word – but you probably at least want him to have to make some late-night Tampax runs and hold your hair back after you've power-chugged a couple of boxes of Franzia.
Has he even gone to IKEA with you? I hope not. That is a terrifying trek littered with discarded Swedish meatballs and the frozen corpses of dead relationships. In fact, instead of premarital counseling, people should have to make several trips to IKEA instead. It's the only way to truly know the cut of someone's jib outside of having them help you bury a corpse. Both are equally shady endeavors.
Now, regarding your boyfriend: I would say his proclamations of love are more about the feeling he gets when he's around you than it is about feeling he's earned the right to use the L word. Therefore I don't think he should be condemned for his obvious enthusiasm. The English (and even French for that matter) language is painfully inept at conveying the intensity of emotion the mind can create. Let him enthuse. He is going to need that enthusiasm to endure whatever Via Dolorosa awaits.