Innocence. Pass it on.
Yesterday a very nervous girl stopped me on Broadway. “I always tell my boyfriend how much I love him,” she said, “but he never believes me. I was hoping you could help me send him a message.”
“On the blog?” I asked.
She hesitated, then answered: “Yes.”
I told her I couldn’t do it. “I’ll take your photo and email it to you,” I said, “but I can’t share it.” I explained to her that I have a hard rule about not photographing people who stop me on the street— otherwise the requests would quickly become unmanageable.
In addition to this, I get so many emails from very young couples asking me to document their Greatest Of All Loves. They normally express their relationships in cinematic terms, saying things like: “It took me 15 years, but I finally found my soulmate.” Or “Even though we go to different high schools, the strength of our love has allowed us to persevere through the hardship. Please take our photo.”
I think I join the rest of the adult community in a little eye rolling, along the lines of: “Yeah, yeah, been there. Don’t worry— the hormones will level off.” But while editing the girl’s photo, I realized that I’ve probably been a bit too dismissive of these sentiments. Young love is a huge part of life. Sometimes it evolves into something steadier and longer lasting— more often it doesn’t. But few things have the power to consume us so completely.
So here’s my tribute to that experience. To the recipient of this message: Your girlfriend really, really loves you.