Wednesday, 5 January 2011


[Originally published Feb 09 in Bent:]

I know a couple who constantly profess their undying love for each other. It’s in their status updates on Facebook; it’s in their texts to each other; it’s all they ever talk about. At least, when they’re not together. When they’re together it’s usually ‘cunt this’ and ‘cunt that’. True, one is 18 and one is 19, so is that all it is? The folly of youth and first love?

‘No couple that goes on that much about how much they love each other can really be that in love,’ said a friend of mine.

But is it that simple? I have another friend, let’s call him Simon, who used to write love letters and poetry to his boyfriends. He’s currently single, but I’m sure he’d do so again, and at least two of his relationships were of the deep, long-lasting variety. It seems shocking to many of us, who think sending a text with the words ‘i fancy u’ in would be too much. But perhaps we’re just unused to romance?

True, teenagers are hardly the best example, as they probably will break up in a few months and be in love with someone new. But there must be real romantics in real relationships out there? Or are there? And how much romance is too much romance?

My friend Simon has been in love with a friend of his for quite some time now. He knows it will never go anywhere, but that won’t stop his feelings. As he himself puts it: ‘How can I get over something that never happened?’

His problem is that without having some form of relationship with this person, or even just sex, he’s been unable to move on because there’s nothing to move on from. Simon understands this and is happy with it.

‘I’d rather have a fantastic friend whom I loved than lose him by trying to push anything. It’s not my fault I love him and it’s not his either, so I just get on with it.’

However, Simon decided he had to tell his friend how he felt to avoid it becoming an issue between them. So he wrote a letter detailing his feelings and how he hoped they’d still be friends. I couldn’t help but wonder if his love interest would reply or not. Would he find such a letter too much information? Would he rather not know? Or would knowing allow him to handle the situation better, in case it ever did become a problem? Or would Simon writing him a letter be enough to ignite dormant passions in his friend and get them together? It seems a difficult situation. But ideally Simon’s friend would find the letter sweet and endearing, and it would make them closer as friends rather than driving them apart, and perhaps grant Simon the closure he needs.

Another example of romanticism at play is love songs. Many of us would feel embarrassed writing some of the lyrics to popular love songs (‘I wanna fall from the stars / Straight into your arms . . .’ etc), but there’s no doubt these songs inspire us. They make us feel good about ourselves and perhaps make us do things we wouldn’t consider otherwise. I’ve also often thought a good love song, or a happy song in general, can do a lot to cure a broken heart. Music is a tonic, and perhaps served with the right gin it can give you that warm, fuzzy, drunken feeling we all pay so much at exorbitant gay nightclubs to feel.

So maybe these romantic gestures—letters, poems, love songs—have their place. Maybe we shouldn’t write them off just yet.

Then again, maybe I’m just thinking too much because it’s nearly Valentine’s Day and I haven’t got a date yet!

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