Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Relationship Room with Dr. Scales: Love is a Four Letter Word

Dr. Scales once again opens up her Relationship Room to discuss the nature of "true love" and the purpose of monogamy.

*Editor's Note: Dr. Scales welcomes questions from people of all walks of life and love. You can send your questions to her whenever you like. As she is a member of the medical profession, she honors, with the utmost respect, the doctor-patient confidentiality agreement. And she's a hell of a gal besides.

Howdy folks! It’s a glorious day here in New York City (I don’t actually live there, I just get free access to a fantastic website called…one of the many perks of being an accredited medical professional I guess) and I’m feeling abnormally happy. The sun is shining, I’m feeling cute (YOU MUST CLICK ON THIS LINK – if you missed your chance before, you can do so here and here), and, well, let’s just say me and this baby have one thing in common. Before I delve any further into this week’s jambalaya of relationship advice, I have been asked (more like forced, amiright?) by my lawyer, Fay Callagh—un-officially known as the “top condiment lawyer on both the east and west coasts,” to post the following statement before dishing out any further professionally-driven-advice:

“Any writings herein are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute professional medical advice.  Any opinions expressed are solely those of the writer, and no readers or recipients of the blog's contents should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in the site without the appropriate medical or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue.”

Take that state medical licensing board! Oh, I bet you thought you had me this time but I win again. Judge, won’t you throw the book at this pirate (there’s a point here I swear)!?

Dearest Dr. Scales,

I gather just from the tenor of your previous answers that you are in a committed relationship (or believe in their ostensible value) and so I can already guess what the answer to these questions will be. Nevertheless, it seems to me that nothing in life is eternal and, least of all, love. Indeed, true, fiery love seems to be the most fleeting of all human emotions. Furthermore, monogamy seems not only torturous and draconian in nature but also deeply impractical in age when people can easily live past 90 and women are no longer expected to remain virginal while men play the field. Thus, do you believe love is eternal or even exists and do you think monogamy is something to strive for or something we do largely based on fear and the need to possess?

I very much appreciate your time and consideration in this matter.


Doubting Thomas

Well, Doubting Thomas, you’ve certainly made me doubt myself here. This question knocked me on my ass—literally—and it took me a minute to get back up and catch my breath. I don’t mean this in a bad way, by any means…[real thought: unless you consider me second-guessing my past relationships, current relationships, friends’ relationships, friends of friends’ relationship, oh and my profession, too]…yeah, not in a bad way at all…

Really, though, I was kidding before. Your question is both valid and, I sheepishly admit, a little difficult for me to answer—yes, you caught me. Lay down the red carpet, throw on the cuffs—I, Kerri Scales, M.D., am in a committed relationship. And inside that committed relationship, I am in love. So, in short, yes I believe in love and though I am not in a position to say that monogamy is something to strive for (did you even read what my lawyer with a degree from a highly accredited slaw school said? Damn Gina!) but I do think it is worth aiming for and worth maintaining.

Now, I have a slight inclination to assume that you are confusing that fleeting feeling of “fiery love” with that of lust. Kind of like when people confuse their own “accidental” pregnancy with weight gain from “the munchies” and subsequently end up with kids like this one. But love is not lust and lust is not love but the two are not mutually exclusive. I guess my point here is that love exists and monogamy can happen—but it is not that bullshit, cookie cutter, fairytale, “knight in shining armor” crap you see in shit like Pretty Woman and Silence of The Lambs (what?).  It is something people work for, something people fight for, and something that can significantly impact people’s lives for the better —and, well, sometimes for the worse.

No, it’s not easy—but fuck it, what in life is easy? Reap what you sow, my little doubter. Reap what you sow. Love and monogamy—in their most true and honest form— are the outcome of hard work and determination from two flawed individuals who love each other enough to work on their flaws together and work to find ways to maneuver their way through them so they can learn, together, how to deal with them and move forward with nuthin’ but love, baby.

I’ll spare you the details of my personal work life and just get to the point: you can e-mail me here (and only there) with any questions, comments, concerns, inquiries, or idiosyncrasies. First person to stump me wins $100 in Puddles of Myself money—this stuff works miracles people.

Dr Scales: I eat chips for lunch, chips for breakfast and usually have a salad for dinner


  1. Doubting Thomas,

    Love does not really exist, but that is why it is so beautiful. Let me explain: an old woman and an old man did not press a button and become madly in love for 50 years, they worked every day, they struggled to remain together. Dr. Scales is perhaps a bit young to say it outright, but as Rilke wrote "Lovers use one another to hide their own fate." This is, of course, true. Love is about settling and about the desire not to die alone. It is an act of comfort and of denial of the truth of our existence.

    Love is never really the goal but, rather, procreation. Notice that Dr. Scales never mentions babies in the above passage, it is a truth that lovers find deeply disconcerting. For instance, when divorces occur lovers often 'stay together for the kids,' as that has been the only real goal all along.

    What love is, then, is the way in which we struggle. It is, itself, the struggle. Truthfully, lovers do "move forward" as Dr. Scales wrote but not in the way she meant. They separate naturally. To deny this natural entropy is to fight valiantly for love, but we must know all along that this is to be a failed mission. We must be honest about this if we are to be honest about anything.

    I love you all.



    This was great.

    Bravo, Anonymous. Bravo.

    1. Thanks, Matt. Your work/this awesome blog is deeply under appreciated. BTW I was loving that Friday post.

  3. Addendum: Upon review I can see that Dr. Scales does indeed mention "kids" but it is used as an example for a simile, not as an autonomous statement.

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