Modern Love Recap: Embracing the Snakeby Scott Alden on November 14, 2011
This week’s New York Times Modern Love Column is centered around a particularly juicy metaphor — a closeted lesbian trying to get over her fear of snakes.
Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich tells the story of a younger version of herself in college. Hoping that the crushes she’s been having on girls are just a phase, Alexandria begins a relationship with Oren, an Israeli former military man.
“Within months I had decided he was the solution to my own uncertain life,” writes Oren, “That Christmas I looked at him sitting at my family’s dinner table wearing a reindeer sweater he had bought for the occasion and realized how badly I wanted to be a different version of myself. A better, happier version that could love a nice guy in a Christmas sweater and not be freaked out by the future that vision portended.”
Alexandria and Oren move in together and adopt a python — a creature that Alexandria is at first afraid to hold. Quickly, however, she becomes the python’s primary caretaker. Alexandria names the snake “Pretzel.” Alexandria defrosts the mice at feeding time. Alexandria wraps Pretzel around her torso and covers her with two wool sweaters to take her sick snake to the vet.
As the python grows, Alexandria begins to enjoy sideways glances and gasps of neighbors and passersby. She finds that, in the midst of the “normal” life she has finally achieved, standing out from the crowd is like a breath of fresh air. Once Alexandria realizes that she can be “normal” without doing exactly what is expected of her, she begins to embrace her sexuality as well — acting on a crush that she has on a female classmate and ending her relationship with Oren.
The story has a happy ending. Pretzel finds a home in a “room-sized cage” at a snake sanctuary, Oren moves on to marry and have two boys, and Alexandria discovers who she really is.
It’s nice to hear a story of about a person making the wrong choice, for all the wrong reasons and having it turn out right. It seems that sometimes, making a move to change your life, even if it’s a little misguided, will get you out of your rut just long enough to make a real move — the kind that results in greater joy and love in your life.