“Here is what I have learned from my adventures of the heart. Drugs are better than love. If there was a drug that had a comedown like love, you would never take it. Psst, take this. You’ll feel fantastic for a while, then after the high has gone you’ll feel like someone has plunged a broken shard of window pane repeatedly through your chest ……. I’m kidding, if you see a chance for love then go for it . Throw everything you have at it like you’re a fool. Life without love is wilderness” Frankie Boyle
February, the most pointless month of the year, a final purgatory before the arrival of spring and the fresh impetus of hope it brings. There is also that dreaded day to confront on February 14 – Valentines Day. Even in January I see it being advertised as the corporate machine seeks to milk the theme that for one day we are obliged to make a visible declaration of romantic interest.
A lot of people profess total indifference to the day, but I wonder if beneath this veneer whether a lot of anguish resides. It’s a bit like New Years Eve in the sense that you are supposed to have a good time or be seen to be doing something. To me it’s a situation which can really enforce a sense of isolation or bring back memories of a relationship in the past which then leaves you in a state of nothingness.
Charlie Brooker’s excellent “Dawn of the Dumb” has a splendid piece regarding his (at the
time) long term singleton status. All his simple domestic failings are held up by others for his need to get a wife. I know that very shortly that people will ask me like they do every year as to what I have planned as well as the odd thread to drop me in it with someone. Then will come the rather pitying look and comment that surely one day I will want to settle down because everybody has to at some point. Then of course the next issue, and maybe if maybe I do care very deeply then there is the mental noise as to whether I should adopt a gung ho approach to make my full declaration of sincere attraction or simply ignore the day and pretend there are no intentions. A conundrum of the highest order and one which might make some people want to stay in bed for the day.
Brooker’s piece is a fantastic dissection of the pitfalls in looking for love. He concludes that if
the world demands he must have a wife then can’t he just be assigned one by the government. It saves the whole arduous process of looking for the right person and filling in the forms saves so much time. His musings of early 2007 in which he spells out his horror at partnership, marriage and parenthood have a certain significance now since his recent settling down with the beautiful Konnie Huq (child number one on the way !)
As an outsider and long term single man looking in, it does seem that we make love, the greatest experience of them all, a ridiculously complicated and negative affair. If I am being critical it’s only because we could do this whole business so much better. Why one day a year to oblige in letting your special person know they are loved in some garish corporate exercise? Each day spent as a partnership is to be acknowledged and deeply revered. Similarly, internet dating. Please never swear at me again. I’ve seen friends from each gender plough headlong into the futile exercise of creating profiles, going on numerous dates with built up hopes to only see them cruelly dashed. My biggest loathing of the social media dating experience is the observation that net dating and it’s ilk encourage people to build up their own identikit, ideal partner, tailored to their own likes and tastes. Gone is the deep connection, now it’s a tick box exercise and unrealistic expectation – “He is lovely and we really get on but he doesn’t have the same interests as me”. Profile pictures are mercilessly viewed and dismissed with the possible love of your life being ruled out because of their hair colour. Mankind might be at the the cutting edge of technology but our mindsets are as primitive now as they were 2000 years ago.
If you are lucky to find love then people are seemingly intent on making the experience as difficult as possible. Call me naive or ridiculously optimistic, but once that connection exists, there is nothing else to worry about. There is a worrying down heartedness too when things go wrong, the return to the soul crushing status quo of our daily lives is accepted too easily as we renounce our dreams and aspirations to experience something so pure and liberating. People become embittered and pretend outwardly how brave they are in resisting the chance from then on to go forward and achieve what they secretly yearn for.
Then there is the settling for second best, going off with anyone, they are not the love of our life, but hey they are stable and there is nothing worse than being alone. Drudgery has won and I’ll stand by my view that selling out for not quite the best is inherently wrong.
I’ll let you decide if I am deluded, overly optimistic and innocent. Maybe that is why I am on my own and unfussed about it. It’s just because I love who a person ‘is’
and the aim would be for them to know that they are amazing enough to go out every day to achieve anything. It’s about encouraging a certain freedom so someone knows they are loved and that you are happy at anything that makes them feel at peace with the world. And as I said before, once you have that connection, nothing else matters at all.