Love is a Strange Song Inside Your Head

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About Jackson Bliss

Jackson Bliss is the author of BLANK, The Ninjas of My Greater Self, Dream Pop Origami + Atlas of Tiny Desires. His essays + short stories have appeared in Tin House, Antioch Review, Kenyon Review, Fiction, Quarterly West, ZYZZYVA, Fiction International, Stand (UK), Huffington Post UK and African American Review, among others. You can find him at and on Twitter.


  1. What a sweet and short piece, I really like reading your pieces Jackson. I completely get your notion of “idiosyncratically beautiful”. I often get told that I “date down” (whatever that means, I don’t believe that anyways), but I think what people fail to see is how beautiful people are when you aren’t wrapped up in their physicality. With that said, as a young woman in her 20s, I find it more and more difficult to find a “good man” who isn’t so wrapped up about physicality. Here is the perfect time for my pitch: can the good men project please create some kind of dating site (I know, how desperate) in which readers can connect? When I read these articles I think “where are these good men??! and how can I date them?” Just an idea, love this site.

    • Carolina,

      Thanks so much. That means a lot to me.

      Haha, a good men project dating site, huh? I’ll run that by the publisher. In the mean time, just know that there are many men out there who are looking for a woman just like you, as you are. I wish you luck in finding love, wherever it is. Don’t lose faith + good luck.

      Peace, Blessings,


      • Jackson! Carolina!

        If it would help we could start a petition… I love the idea of the good Men Project starting a dating site, or forum or a way for like minded men and woment to talk and connect. I keep meeting women who share the most disturbing and sad stories of betrayal and disappointment, but I continue to have faith that there are millions of good men- the question is: where are they? Are they here… if so can I see one…write with one…meet one?


    • I am 100% behind a Good Men Project dating site!

  2. Theorema Egregium says:

    I have had that notion in my head for most of my life. I resonate strongly with it. Compared to my male acquaintances I have a history of finding the “wrong” kind of women attractive. But then again: Those Hollywood beauties, who all look like created on a computer (or by a scalpel, for that matter), who I mostly have honest trouble telling apart (don’t they all look the same?) — they just don’t do for me. If you want to turn me on, give me a woman with freckles, a hooked nose, glasses, tiny breasts or short hair every time. In fact it is my honest opinion that almost all women look beautiful, not only a select few, who invested the right sums of money with the surgeon of their choice.

    But this is a thing I can say here, however telling it to a women who asks me if I find her pretty is impossible. I don’t think there is a way to phrase it so that she will not be angry and dejected. To stay with one example, while it is true that many men prefer women with smaller breasts, no woman would ever believe it.

    • Glad to hear it,

      With the exception of Nathalie Portman + Scarlett Johansson, I’m not attracted to most Hollywood actors at all. But idiosyncratic beauty will kill me everyt time. So glad to hear you’ve found your own things to fall for.

      Peace, Blessings,


  3. I love my boyfriend’s crooked teeth. He hates them. When I look over and catch him laughing really hard at something, he is beautiful.
    This might be because he is self-conscience and doesn’t like to show his teeth so the big giant smiles are rare. Regardless, I love it.

  4. Help putting on a bracelet… Or helping out of jewelry you happen to be “stuck” in (I find myself in jewelry conundrums more often than the next person)… Extending a hand to hold in the car, always the same way, palm side up… The way they get dressed in the morning… That little skin bump that I can always find through clothing (weird, I know, but there is something so comforting about it)… The unique ripples on their nails… The way they share their food or ask to taste yours… The way they interact with kids and pets… Or talk to their mother… Or the way they look when they can’t find something in the kitchen… Or the terribly inaccurate accent impressions… Certain facial expressions, voice tones, or sighs have literally made me lose my breath… My list could go on and on… Such simple things that are so mindless or inconsequential in the moment are really some of the things that more impacting than we ever could know…

  5. I am truly Blessed to have found my ‘soul mate’ – There are actually to many things to mention that I Love about him. Actually MANY of the things in you article apply :0) – I very much enjoyed this article. My wish to people is that they are someday as Blessed as we are and find their true ‘other half’…

    • Congrats on finding the love of your life. That’s awesome. I wish the same for other people, though some are looking for their other half + others are looking for their missing third or fourth too. To each their own, but I’m with you. I want everyone who wants to find love to find it.

      Be well.

      Peace, Blessings,


  6. Another wonderful piece, Jackson, and truly inspirational.

    I often wonder if one can have multiple soul mates, or lovers, or whatever phrase you want to attach to that idea of “the one”.

    Upon analyzing the different men I have loved, I love them all for a variety of different reasons. There is one who knows me better than I know myself. There is the boy who used to drive me crazy, the way he would always shake his hair and fill the air with his favorite fruity shampoo. There is the man who would always do this weird thing with his hands when he spoke, twisting his fingers like entwined tree branches.

    I often wonder if there can ever be a marriage between the person you love and the person you love the most. I often wonder if a relationship somehow creates a barrier between these two ideas. Does the nature of a marriage infer that the person you are tied to is the person you love the most? Can you be married to someone you love but (outside of the marriage) still have that person you love the most?

    I suppose these questions lie outside of the realm of your article. Sorry about the ADD moment. Back to IB: I think you are absolutely right, that love and relationships are not a mathematical formula. We love who we love and there are no words. And I think, once you fall in love, you are in love forever, even if the relationship doesn’t work, mainly because of these IBs about that person. Past, present, future, I believe, is just a a question of grammar, not existence.

    • Jackson Bliss says:


      Great hearing from you + more importantly, great questions too. I don’t have answers to them, but one thing I’ve noticed over the years for me to be true is this: while the love I’ve felt for other girlfriends was perfect in its own shape + form, the relationship wasn’t. In fact, I’d argue that one of the big reasons why breaking up with people we love hurts so much is because we genuinely love them, we just don’t know how to be with them, which requires a completely different skill set. So, in a way, I completely agree with you that sometimes a relationship is absolutely an obstacle to the very thing it brings us: Love. So, the jackpot love will be when you love someone you also how to be with!

      Anyway, your ADD moment was great. And I agree with you that there’s always a part of us that will always love that person, no matter what happened to your relationship. And I think you’re so right when you talk about the timeless of love. Beautifully said. Good luck with everything. I enjoyed hearing from you.

      Peace, Blessings,


  7. Mark Radcliffe says:

    Great piece, Jackson. Feeling this one, big time. I’ve been a sucker for a number of atypical qualities in a woman over the years, but the biggest is: I’m a sucker for a woman with a strong, prominent chin. I don’t know what it is, but I’ve always felt it a sign of strength and power. And I’ve always loved strong women. Somehow that chin sticking out into the wind, not backing down, not afraid, I’ve always wanted to know where that woman was going. And whether I could be by her side.

  8. Erika Bliss says:

    I love the red specks on my husband’s green eyes because they remind me of a Seurat painting. I also love that he makes up songs about our dogs and sings them to them. In all honesty, there’s too many things I love about my husband. When I think of them, my heart swells with love.

    • LB!

      Te amo, mariquita con todo mi corazón. Sabés que sos el amor de mi vida y me siento iqual que vos. Cada vez que me mirás, el corazón se desborda de luz, amor, alegría y agradecimiento. Doy gracias a dios por vos. Para mí, es imposible odiar al universo dado que nos juntó. No hay suficiente papel por todas las novelas que escribo por vos. Te amo, te amo, te amo.



  9. Thank you, Jackson, for the chance (and excuse) to share a list like this. I’ll start here: The fact that he reads goodmenproject and shares it with me. The fact that the first time he told me about it, I assumed it was some kind of BS men’s-rights-corrosive-to-women’s-lives thing and went on a rant about organizations like that… while he patiently listened. The fact that he didn’t call me out on my faulty assumptions, but instead waited, with grace, for a chance to show me the site when I was not in front of a big group or on a soapbox.

    I love that I now know the face he makes when he doesn’t believe something I say or when he knows I’m full of shit—and the face makes me laugh every time… usually before I can finish my sentence (but especially when I see him make it at someone else). I love that he writes me letters, with real handwriting and real paper; that he buttons the top button of his shirts; that he’ll wear a necklace I made out of leaves and will feel sad when they fall apart because I’m a bad necklace maker, but won’t call me a bad necklace maker. I love that he got me to re-examine my beliefs about “cheesy,” so I can now take a bath by candlelight or say “make love” without giggling like a 13-year-old girl.

    This man picks up my kids when they want to be carried even though they are almost as big as I am. He sings to me loudly in public even though other people have criticized his voice and his flamboyance. He can spot a flaw in my logic or a contradiction in my behavior and bring it to me in a way that puts me in check without alienating me or making me defensive. More? His wardrobe. His red suit. Him standing in my driveway in a sweater, athletic shorts, and my daughter’s Stompeez and when people look at him weird, him looking back at them like he cannot fathom why they find his appearance strange, like they are the crazy ones. His wit, the flavor of his words, the sound of his laugh. The way he brushes his teeth next to me and looks at us in the mirror and smiles. The way his body finds mine in the middle of the night and we wake up pretzel-ish, intertwined.

    Aaaand before I write my own blog in the comments section? I’ll stop here: I love that he will know this list is not exhaustive and that he will give me a chance to say more.

  10. Tonya Lance says:

    I love watching my husband laugh and play with our Son. I love his sharp, witty sense of humor that he shares only with a privileged few. I love watching his thick, jet black hair transform into a distinguished (thinner) salt n pepper. I love it when he pretends to be ticklish for my benefit. I love that he is an excellent chef, builder, fixer of all things and lover. Oh I could just go on all day! Thanks for urging me to focus on this today Jackson. Great article!

    • Tonya!

      So great hearing from you. Thank you for coming here + sharing some of the unique things you love about your husband. I really appreciate it + I really appreciate you. What you wrote is sweet + touching. I’m superhappy for you, for your husband + also really happy that your family is blessed with this love too. Your kids are incredibly blessed to have you as their mom. Be well + thanks again.

      Peace, Blessings,


  11. J. H. Walker says:

    I really appreciate your writings, Jackson.

    I have been married to the same woman for 30 years. I have found that as time goes by her idiosyncratic beauty becomes more and more important. I will mention one.

    My wife does not laugh out loud much so there is something charming and unique in her facial expression when she thinks something is funny. Often when we are sitting and watching one of her favorite comedies on TV, I will not watch the television but rather watch her without her knowing it. I look forward to these moments because she has a smile that can belong to no one else but her. And I know that she is laughing in her own way and it makes me smile to see how she expresses her “laughter”.

  12. I love my boyfriends profile. (he hates it) I love when I hear him laugh especially when I am not looking at him, whether it is in a group of people and we are in two different places or him sitting on the couch watching random videos while I am in the bedroom. Everytime I find myself smiling and it draws me to him. I fall deeper in love with him.

  13. You are right. Love is totally illogical. While I love my common law partner, we are not sexual, but we have many common interests and mesh well together. Out of the blue I befriended someone on facebook because he was cute. A few messages led to daily chats of up to 4 hours and yet we have never talked aloud due to privacy, family, language barriers. His english is basic and I speak no Urdu. But despite a distance of 11,000 kms, different language and culture, and a 29 year age difference, I have come unglued at the sight of him. I can’t contain my smiles when we skype. Maybe it’s empathy, a longing to give him a wonderful life, maybe its to satisfy something in me. there is no explanation as to why I dissolve into a puddle at the very thought or site of him.

  14. Russell says:

    The way she looks at me when she knows the only reason I am saying what I am saying is to get a rise out of her. The playful smirk, the lowering of the eyes, and a slight tilt of the head down the left.

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