I’ve noticed this revisionist Greek myth is common wherein Persephone loves Hades and eats the pomegranate seeds in order to evade her overbearing mother, and that’s all well and good. You know, sometimes I’m in the mood for it and sometimes I’m not. But hear this: as long as we’re doing this, why is no one wondering whether Aphrodite might really love Hephaestus?
Think about it. All the gods in their immortal splendor are lining up to marry her, doing everything in their power to impress her, the goddess of love and beauty, and she choses…that guy. A god in technical terms only, a social reject who’s ugly and malformed and um, no fun. Always slaving away in his workshop when everyone else is quaffing nectar and having their eternal beach party up on Mount Olympus. They can’t believe she’d give up all of them for that.
So, because the gods do not take rejection well (looking at you Apollo), eventually they start to say to each other, well, we all know Zeus made her do it anyway. He’s gotta feel guilty for throwing Hephaestus off Mount Olympus that one time. And it quickly becomes that poor girl, stuck in that workshop full of sweat and dirt and cyclopses when she could have had one of us. Because of course they’ve got love all figured out; it’s entirely technical and dependent on who’s the most charming and good-looking and not at all variable and strange and notoriously unpredictable, right?
Meanwhile Ares, only the most arrogant and brainless of the crew, can’t take a hint and is still showing up wherever Aphrodite goes trying to hit on her, so eventually she and Hephaestus decide to rig up an elaborate mechanical trap for him, using her as bait. When all the gods have laughed at him for getting caught he huffily attempts to regain his dignity by telling them, whatever, guys, you want to know the truth, I was meeting her for an assignation. And they all kind of know he’s full of it but they just accept it as the unvarnished truth from thereon in, because they’d love to believe she’d cheat on Hephaestus with Ares. They’d love it. Come on, Aphrodite, get off your high horse and admit you’re just as shallow as the rest of us.
So they talk, but Aphrodite doesn’t really care about their collective jealousy because she dotes on her misshapen genius of a husband with his sooty hands and his sweaty brow who always takes her seriously and is always so hard at work inventing astonishing new things to make her happy, and she loves the volcano they live in with its internal pressures so conducive to the formation of precious stones and its passages lit with glowing lava that so gorgeously offsets her cheekbones, and all the cyclopses worship her because even with one eye apiece they’ve still got more depth perception than most men do where she’s concerned. True it is that as a couple the two develop a reputation for not getting out much, because all those Olympian parties bore them to death and they’d rather spend time with each other (poor Aphrodite, she’s such a vivacious young thing and her husband is so grasping and insecure that he won’t let her go out and have fun), but they do all right.