Human romantic relationships, especially long-term relationships, are complex, intricate, and mainly about who takes the recycling out. The preparation of obsolete items for delivery to the vast, smoke-belching recycling plants of Earth has become a microcosm of human interaction. Control, power, discipline, dominance, and the division of labour are all laid bare during the ritualistic sorting of items and stacking of crates, which is always accompanied by the ceremonial chants of, “Who put that in there?” and “Is that bag biodegradable?”

The production and rearing of children also comes into play in this weekly activity, since young humans produce an inordinate amount of waste, and I do not refer to the organic matter here but to the mountain of food packets and packaging, the piles of discarded playthings, and the seemingly endless bundles of slightly soiled wet wipes. On Earth, parents waste hours every week in futile attempts to render their children free of bacteria, oblivious to the fact that the little darlings are crammed full of the things. Humans have a distaste for microbes, perhaps because the suggestion of dirt triggers ancestral memories of the humans’ collective past in the caves and crude huts of earlier civilizations, but they rarely pause to consider that their health is largely dependent on the health of the microbiome that they all carry.

But I digress. I’m afraid that since I’ve been on Earth, and forced to endure their chlorinated water and their habit of spraying toxic chemicals over every eating surface, their odd ideas of cleanliness have become something of a bugbear.

Back to the main topic.

Gender plays a part in most human relationships, but not in as big a way as most people imagine, so for our purposes, we’ll disregard it and focus on the meatier issue of love.

As far as I can tell, romantic love between humans is surprisingly similar to the love between Gloabons, although humans are so lax with the word, it can be confusing. When humans say that they love seafood or pizza, for example, it is not to be taken literally, and the same applies to various sports and pastimes, colours, seasons, modes of transport, musical instruments, clothing, and so on. It’s worth noting that chocolate is an important exception to this guideline, and its consumption produces many of the physiological responses associated with romantic love. Indeed, many a Gloabon has been tempted to try this foodstuff, but beware: some chocolate contains a surprising amount of caffeine, and we all know that will do to our physiology. Just say no, my friends. And if the cocoa solid content is 70% or more, run. As fast as you can. Don’t even sniff it. You have been warned.

So, love is a tricky word to interpret on Earth, and to add to the confusion, human friends will sometimes declare love for each other, especially if one or all of them are inebriated. The bonds of friendship vary in strength and duration, but they tend to be based on mutual trust, whereas romance and courtship are based on mutual suspicion. Humans don’t like to admit that they compete for partners, and it’s best not to point the fact out to them, especially if they’re enjoying a candlelit dinner at the time, and you just happen to mention that one of them is taking a particular interest in a member of the waiting staff.

That’s one restaurant I’ll never go back to, I can tell you.

Moving on, we can see that competitive spirit lies beneath many romantic relationships. This is seen in their elaborate courtship rituals which may involve the display of status symbols, gifts of food, sentimental notes, and bundles of dying foliage. Special clothes are worn for the courtship phase of a relationship, although once the relationship is established, these garments are always discarded immediately or relegated to a high shelf in a wardrobe where they may be stored in what I call a box of regret.

We also see competition rear its head when relationships become dysfunctional, and humans are strongly moved by the fear of losing a partner to another. Guilt, blame, envy, jealousy: these are the words bandied about when relationships break down. Sometimes, humans can repair their broken relationships, but when no one puts the recycling out for two weeks running, the writing is on the wall.

Like Gloabons, humans are capable of forming sustainable bonds with a partner, and when both parties have accepted that they are no longer taking part in the competitive drive to find an ideal partner, they can move on to the next phase, which is based on the building of shelves. Putting up shelves is an outward display to the world that a couple have settled into a happy co-existence and so the more shelves the better, and the more frequently they’re erected the better. When a couple reach peak shelf space they simply move house and start again with fresh enthusiasm and renewed vigour.

Somewhere during the shelving phase, some couples reproduce, but this does not slow their rate of storage unit assembly. If anything, the drilling of holes and the mounting of brackets generally increases after childbirth. After all, the adults have to somewhere to store all the wet wipes.

And that is all I have to say for the moment. In my extensive researches on this planet, I have barely scratched the surface of this subtle and interesting arena of human interaction. But I’ll leave you with one simple observation. When humans are inspired by love, they are at their best. When they are inspired by hatred, they are at their worst.

Until next time, take care and MYSABFL.

Rawlgeeb

You may comment below, but any foolishness may well result in you receiving a visit from a member of the Earth Liaison Unit. You have been warned. Thank you.

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