The heat is on Ryan Seacrest, who didn’t return girlfriend Julianne Hough’s on-air affection. I’m proof that you don’t have to say love to feel love, but you might want to anyway.
“I love you.”
“Oh? Well. Right. Thank you. Shall we get you to the gate?”
I remember, like it was yesterday, the first time a boy said those three little words.
His name was Steven, and my name was Jennifer. I was 18-years-old and already a college dropout. He was 19-years-old and a Navy recruit about to ship out to sea for six months–which is three hundred years in teen time.
As we stood in the airport,1 I cried, sure that my love life was over. He wiped my tears away and kissed my cheek. Then, he whispered that thing, and I ruined it. I’d never said it. I didn’t expect him to say it. Left field? “I love you” came out of left planet!
Did I mention we’d only known each other for three days? Teen love works that way, especially when the thought of being trapped on a giant floating prison for six months scares someone to death.
But as time went on and I learned about love, I still never became a big “I love you” person. I mean, I loved people, and I showed them love, but I just wasn’t terribly comfortable saying the words. Admitting such feelings felt like weakness and left me exposed. No, thanks.
I was one of those people who said things like “Look, I told you I loved you that one time, and if anything changes I’ll let you know.” If my life had been a movie, Matthew McConaughey–or some other manchild– would have played me.
Then, sadness struck.
My aunt, with whom I was very close, died from cancer. It wasn’t sudden and it wasn’t unexpected. But I hadn’t told her I loved her enough.2
I was devastated. Suddenly, I was an “I love you” machine.
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Julianne Hough and Ryan Seacrest are an attractive couple.
Like a more anatomically correct, modern day version of Barbie and Ken, the toothy two are frequently seen on red carpets and in paparazzi photos taken, secretly, in exotic locales.
But the beautiful couple of two years has always been a little, well, chilly. Never overly affectionate (and, frankly, looking a bit like big brother/little sister), rumors swirled that Ryan is a “confirmed bachelor,” as they used to say, and Julianne is his convenient and gorgeous smokescreen.
So, it comes as little surprised that when Julianne called Ryan’s radio show a few days ago, to promote her new movie Rock of Ages, things were a teensy bit weird.
As the segment came to an end, Seacrest said, “I’m very proud of you. Go see Julianne in the movie. Thanks, darling.”
Hough answered, “Alright. Love you. Bye.” To which Seacrest simply answered, “Bye.”
The world was all “j’accuse!” and looked at each other knowingly (yes, the whole world looked at each other), sure that Ryan was only capable of loving another fella. His staff wasn’t much more kind.
“She said ‘I love you’ and you didn’t say it back!” they yelled.
“Because you guys won’t shut up,” Seacrest teased before signing off for a commercial break.
Look, maybe Ryan is, maybe he isn’t. I’ve got news for you, even if he were he could love Julianne. After all, I love my brother, and I don’t find him the least bit sexually attractive.
But perhaps Ryan is just not an “I love you” person. Perhaps Julianne is “the one,” and he shows her in other ways. Perhaps Ryan was distracted by a daydream about a fantastic pair of slacks he saw on Clooney the last time they bro’d out.
Nowadays my friends, family, and, yes, even strangers3 know in no uncertain terms how I feel about them. But even without those three little words, love can exist. It always did for me. Now, I’m off to daydream about Clooney’s pants.
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