Modern Love is my favorite column in the Sunday edition of The New York Times. This week’s column, by Alexis Schaitkin, about the author’s experience as an American teaching English in Thailand, to a student named Dream just a few months his teacher’s junior, how the academic semester came to a conclusion, Alexis returned to the United States, and how things thereon got really out of hand:
That’s when things really got out of hand (told you so!). Dream signed up for Gmail so we could chat. His profile photograph was an image of a sunflower rising into a blue sky. He sent me Gchat messages constantly, often several times a day. We talked about soccer, his graduate studies in Bangkok, my job search and memories from our time at the university.
But soon the tenor of our conversations changed. He told me that he hoped to continue his graduate studies in New York, so that we could date. His Gchat status became a frequently refreshed stream of brief, poetic expressions of devotion. He promised me that, regardless of my feelings, he would always wait for me, “even the sun won’t shine, heaven bursts, or the words are no rhymes. I won’t change. Always.”
I told him that I didn’t love him, that he should not come to school in New York, and that he could not continue to tell me his feelings when he knew they were not reciprocated. This was the point on which we were most deeply divided: I could not understand why a man would continue to demean himself with such declarations, while Dream could not understand why he should relent when he knew what he wanted.
One night, as I sat at the kitchen table in my parents’ home, where I was staying as I looked for work, Dream went further than ever before: …
To find out how Alexis’ experience with modern love concludes, you’ll have to read the rest yourself. If you enjoy this week’s essay, I recommend these as well:
- My Back-Seat View of a Great Romance by Rachel Monroe
- My Mr. Right in the Land of Make-Believe by Kim Gamble
- A Guest Star in His Romantic Drama by Katherine Ruppe
- Always A Frog, Now My Prince by Julia Gorin
Yeah Yeah Yeahs “Modern Romance”