Fandango’s Provocative Question #123


Welcome once again to Fandango’s Provocative Question. Each week I will pose what I think is a provocative question for your consideration.

By provocative, I don’t mean a question that will cause annoyance or anger. Nor do I mean a question intended to arouse sexual desire or interest.

What I do mean is a question that is likely to get you to think, to be creative, and to provoke a response. Hopefully a positive response.

There are two old sayings that have always intrigued me. The first is “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” This expression means that you feel more affection for those you love when parted from them. You realize how much you love that person, and the desire to see them often increases when separated.

The other old saying is “Familiarity breeds contempt.” This expression means that the more you are exposed to someone, the more bored you become, the less appreciation you have for that person, and the more you find fault with that person.

So my provocative question this week is about absence versus familiarity and how they affect relationships.

Do you think that these two sayings are two sides of the same coin and that “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” is just a nice way of saying that “Familiarity breeds contempt”? Or do you believe that these two expressions have polar opposite meanings?

If you choose to participate, write a post with your response to the question. Once you are done, tag your post with #FPQ and create a pingback to this post if you are on WordPress. Or you can simply include a link to your post in the comments. But remember to check to confirm that your pingback or your link shows up in the comments.

Take Weaver — Time’s Up


“Time is on your side…or is it?” the Philosophy 101 professor said. “Open your blue books. You have one hour to express your thoughts, starting now.”

There was a low murmur through the classroom as the students reacted to the unexpected pop-test. Mark thought about how time was definitely not on your side when asked to write a paper about time in just an hour. But he didn’t think that would go over too well with the professor.

Then his mind wandered to his parents. After they had been married for nearly 20 years, their marriage had fallen apart. His mother told him that with the passage of time they had grown apart. His father said that when you live with someone day in and day out for years on end, you sometimes focus too much on their faults and weaknesses, rather than on how much they have to offer and what they bring to the table. He used the expression “familiarity brings contempt.”

And so, about six years ago, when Mark was fifteen, his parents got divorced. It was tough on him, as he stayed in their home with his mother, but spent every other weekend, plus two weeks each summer and most holidays at his father’s place.

When it came time to go to college three years later, Mark decided to go out-of-state just so he didn’t have to be around his parents and deal with their being divorced. There was still a lot of bitterness between them. Fortunately, he had qualified for a full-ride scholarship to a very good college halfway across the county and he came back home as infrequently as possible.

After completing his junior year at college, Mark return home for the summer to his mother’s house and was surprised to find that his father had moved back in and they had decided to remarry. His mother told him that they both realized that they were better together than they were apart. His father explained that being separated from his wife for so long made him realize just how much she meant to him. He used the expression “absence makes the heart grow fonder.”

Mark thought about the topic for the paper, time being on your side or not, and then thought about his father’s comments about familiarity breeding contempt and absence making the heart grow fonder. He decided to write about the dichotomy of time in his parents’ case, where its passage was not on their side and then it was. He thought that would be a great way to demonstrate that the impact of time can be circumstantial. This is A-plus material, he thought to himself as he put pen to paper in his blue book.

But before Mark could finish writing the first sentence, he heard the professor say, “Time’s up. Put your pens and pencils down, sign and close your blue books, and drop them off on my desk as you leave the classroom.”

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Tale Weaver prompt, where we are asked to consider the notion of “time’s up.”