Wars have been fought, hearts broken. Countless good and bad poems, movies and songs have love as their central theme. Pubs, record companies and dating sites thrive, thanks to this inexplicable emotion. Money makes the world go round, but according to Elizabeth Browning, love is what makes the ride worthwhile.
So what can I possibly add to shed light on love – the most overused, misunderstood and sought-after yearning on this messed-up planet of ours? The big guns like Shakespeare have already cornered the market.
Google to the rescue. I type in ‘love’ and get 1 340 million results within 0.25 seconds. I am way over my head here. I scroll down the page, searching for enlightenment. And lo and behold: ‘How to find love: 8 Steps’ (with pictures). With pictures! Seriously? (Note to self: Double-check what my daughter’s googling.)
Of course I double-click on ‘How to find love in 8 steps with pictures’. It’s known as research, okay… And? What truths did I discover? Save yourself the trouble. That article about varicose veins in the doctor’s waiting room is way more interesting than the drivel they came up with. ‘Step one: Find someone you like…’ (eh, duh).
I opt for face-to-face research. Starting with a romance and pheromones expert – my daughter. This is what I discovered: Young love is… Getting an illegible (well, at least to your mother) message on your smartphone from your cyber boyfriend (a modern version of the old-fashioned love letter).
She also informs me that the ultimate love story is that between a vampire and a human. Okidoki. Before I send her for counselling, I’m ashamed to admit that Aquaman does it for me. I’ve always had a thing for a man with long hair. Still, my beating heart… Hey, don’t judge. Go check him out. Ridiculously gorgeous. And human.
On to another long-haired specimen: I question my reluctant husband about the meaning of true love. Hard to pin him down – he’s channel-hopping. He can only concentrate on what I’m saying during ad breaks. I suppose that’s one version of true love: still enduring him even though he prefers Top Gear to my scintillating conversation. In between CSI and Masterchef I finally elicit a three-letter response: “Huh?” Instead of killing him I return to Google.
A link catches my eye: ‘Click here for Happiness’. Really? It’s that easy? The skeptic within me raises its head. What are they selling? If I click on it, will I be tracked? Hounded by… I don’t know, people who sell happy pills, happiness seminars, the latest Happiness Political Party? Oh, just click on it, Hélène, and get it over with… And I do. Because like most creatures, I too aspire to be happy.
And there it is: ‘Ten skills you need to live a happy life’. All you have to do is send your email address. Of course. There’s an audio book, a video and several essential tools that are priced in dollars. Guess I won’t be buying happiness online after all.
Maybe true love is about softening the truth a bit. No, it’s not lying… it’s completely different from lying. For example: I’ve just squeezed myself into a dress that used to fit three years ago. Hubby is binge-watching Vikings. “Skattebol, do I still look okay in this?” I ask. “You look amazing.” Right answer, but way too fast, meneer.
Since he’s in push-over mode, I try and convince him to take me on a dirty weekend. “It’s Valentine’s… just because we’re middle-aged…” He holds up his hand. “Too many words.” Aaargh! Romance has left the building.
The next morning I’m still a bit sulky. Then I notice that he’s dreamily staring at me with this far-off look. “Why are you looking at me like that, sweetheart?” I ask coyly, my heart melting. “Huh?” (that three-letter word again). “No, I’m still waking up.”
True love indeed. Especially from my side.