Cupid woke up one day when it hit him: he was actually Lucifer. The fallen angel that inaugurated this whole incessant battle between good and evil. He might have known he would blot out this past life in an attempt to reinvent himself. To stamp out all the hate he felt for God and bury it under the construct of love. It was all to mask his other winged persona. Even if that persona lost its wings somewhere around the time it was said by Jesus in the Gospel of Luke, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” Now, after Jesus had tarnished Lucifer’s reputation, “Cupido”—Latin for “passionate desire,” derived from cupiere (“to desire”)—was the one repurposing those lightning bolts into “jolts” of love he infected other people with. But traces of Satan still clearly lingered within since he chose to quite literally accost others with his “gift.” Yet who the fuck was Cupid, really, to be the one to arbitrarily decide who should fall in love with who? When someone even slightly scratched the surface of how violating that was, it was easy to see the evil undertones. There was no beneficence to how Cupid conducted business. Just as his previous incarnation knew better than to suffer fools like God for the sake of “politesse.”
It was crazy to him that no one ever made the correlation between him and “Lucy.” After all, wasn’t it a little convenient that Cupid just “came into existence,” asexually? And didn’t it seem odd to everyone that Cupid bore a kind of celestial power that allowed him to force other beings to siphon off pieces from themselves to create new life? In short, he could make other entities reproduce asexually (you know, before the phenomenon of “gender dichotomy” became so integral to the capitalist propaganda machine). What kind of lowly, minor character of a Greek mythological figure should have such clout? It didn’t add up. And the more Cupid thought about it, the more he saw that the dots connected much too easily to the Devil. There had to be a reason that he didn’t feel like he was helping people “find each other,” ergo “love.” There had to be a reason he instead felt as though he was the source of all pain and suffering on this Earth.
What’s more, that yarn about Venus being his mother was an obvious smokescreen. A myth that came about only because the true origins of Cupid were so muddled that people during the Renaissance era figured they could just make up whatever the fuck they wanted about him. And why not link him to someone as ultimately debauched and depraved as Venus? Always walking around nude like she was hotter than Helen of Troy (news flash: she wasn’t). Alas, in choosing to paint Venus as his mother, they were all essentially attributing him with an inherent baseness (for there is nothing more reprobate than Venus’ obsession with beauty—one that only Dorian Gray could ever match). Then there was the curious fact that no one ever seemed to mention a father figure. Logically, maybe it would be Vulcan, but nobody was jumping at the chance to call that out when referring to Cupid. Why this lazy storytelling when it came to his parentage? And why was there yet another story still that touted there were actually three cupids? Or even “ten thousand,” as Christopher Marlowe once tried to hyperbolically attest. It all sounded like a lot of bullshit. A big cover-up.
And today, Valentine’s Day, when Cupid was at his most visible (and, like so many others, vulnerable), he decided enough was enough. He wasn’t going to endure this charade regarding his identity any longer. He supposed what really clinched his decision was a sudden flashback to being a serpent, whispering something in another naked woman’s ear who wasn’t Venus. Something that altered the entire course of humanity. He knew that if he could take so many forms in his past, that the one he was in at present could only be yet another false veneer. That, deep down, who he still was inside remained—and that’s why his “acts of kindness” were so rooted in violence and the taking away of free will. Because, yes, he was well-aware that people ought to have a right to actually choose who they loved, as opposed to being unwillingly “swayed” (read: attacked) by him. That’s why, as a test of his theory as to whether the world was fundamentally better off without this reanimated version of his satanic qualities (being Satan and all), he decided to stay home this February 14th—appraising how they all fared without his nefarious meddling.
As he spent the day binge-watching movies like Bonnie and Clyde, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Blue Valentine and Scenes from a Marriage, Cupid couldn’t help but bristle. He had a sensation, a tingling up his spine—covered by that fleshy back of his—that wouldn’t subside. He had the sudden urge to fly right out his window and start shooting arrows at random to make up for the lost time of the past several hours. It was the evil within him sprouting up. Because when he did decide to control his urges and go outside calmly to assess the nature of humanity without his interventions on that amorous “holiday,” he noticed that there was a much less contentious vibe in the air. It was like, without people being lovesick or “crazy in love,” there was no tension, no rage or frustration bubbling to the surface. An absence of the typical pervading aura of constant yearning and desire that no amount of love could actually fulfill because love is but an illusion humans merely insist is real so as to give their small little lives meaning in an otherwise meaningless universe.
Maybe that’s when it hit Cupid that, despite certain similarities, his purpose as this “love god” was quite antithetical to his purpose as Satan. Because, as Satan, he wanted to show them how meaningless it all truly was. That the “consequence” of an afterlife spent in hell was actually one giant orgiastic party that just so happened to be Palm Springs-level warm. Where was the “punishment” in that? As Cupid, he was a liar, promoting more disappointment through slapdash matchmaking, causing more destruction than healing—but as Satan, he was a sooth-sayer, opening minds and genital orifices to entirely new horizons. In effect, Satan was a more evolved and elevated version of Cupid.
Cupid, letting these revelations sink in as he strolled through the rain-dappled streets, decided to go into a bar called, what else, L’amour Fou. Living in Paris was obviously essential to his “persona,” and he found the French language comforting rather than annoying, as so many others did. As he took a swig from a glass of cheap red wine, it also dawned on him that being dubbed as the “demon of fornication” wasn’t exactly a vast departure from his OG status as Satan. Honestly, there he was just trying to help people “find” love, and he was still condemned as demonic. As though he would never be able to hide his true nature. And if he wasn’t accused of being a tempter and a knave seducing people into a false sense of love under the guise of lust, he was depicted as indolent, or, worse still, as some kind of champion of stupidity (love rendering most parties involved stupider than usual thanks to their sudden blindness). Why else would Caravaggio be so cruel as to paint him trampling over emblems of erudition and the arts?
And as all the images of himself portrayed in the paintings of men he had infected with his poison arrow began to swirl, he grew increasingly irate. That’s enough already! he thought as he slammed his glass down on the counter, his face turning a very devilish red indeed. “I might as well just be who I am if I’m going to be even more vilified as Cupid anyway. ‘Source of all pain.’ I’ll show them pleasure instead. That’s what Lucifer is all about.” The bartender caught the final lines of his brief soliloquy and asked, “Are you already drunk then?” Cupid grinned, one last grin in this shell, as he slowly started to transmogrify from a chubby cherub—a sort of impish midget—into a horned, hairy man with giant black wings and a red tail. “Not drunk, no. The fact is, I’ve never been more sober. More ‘myself.’” The bartender looked from the newly-minted Satan to the other errant patrons in the bar, all too pissed and self-involved to much care about the sudden materialization of le diable. He then passed out in shock over the sight. Satan shrugged and remarked, in a voice as rich and thick as honey, “I really hope I can find some less lily-livered beings to take to the underworld for my Valentine’s Day fuckfest.”
It was in that instant that he had the bright idea to repurpose Cupid’s bow and arrows as “darts of courage.” Rather than rendering people sappy and hopeless with thoughts of “love,” it would fortify them—give them the boldness of spirit to accompany Satan to his orgy party. In that way, he supposed, he couldn’t shake all those centuries spent in Cupid’s character, for he still couldn’t avoid the need to bring the masses together sexually. The greatest link of all between Cupid and Satan being a predilection for drawing out human carnality.