There’s more to love than sex. Apparently
What’s a nice cliché like you doing in a pick-up line like this?
If you’re practising your ice-breakers for Valentine’s Day, sexperts suggest a quirky quip makes the best first impression. But it needs to be original, which rules out “You’re so sweet you’re giving me a toothache”, “If I said you had a good body would you hold it against me?” and “Don’t walk into that building because the sprinklers might go off”.
One of the most famous lines about love, if not advisable as a pick-up line, is “Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”.
If Tennyson tweeted that I would probably follow him, though I’m still not sure whether I fully agree. Some would. Others wouldn’t. I suppose it depends how much you lost. But the crux of the quote is clear: when you fall in love you enter life’s casino.
But you don’t have to be 18 to gamble on love.
When you’re at school, rubber in both wallet and pencil case, Valentine’s Day is an anonymous chance to “confess” your love for someone, if you’re old enough to know what love is.
At that age you barely have an inkling that what starts with chocolates can end in alimony. As the saying goes: “Love is grand. Divorce is a hundred grand.” But the double edge of the sword is a long way off. Right now you just want to see him or her naked. To peel the apple of your eye. So you pen poems, purchase flowers, squeeze pimples and perhaps even recruit a cuddly toy to do the work of cupid.
At least, that used to be the way. These days there’s probably an emoticon.
One hundred years later, married with 1.9 children, Valentine’s Day is more like a table for two by the window, provided you can find a babysitter. Rather than pick your Valentine up, as it were, you depart the mortgaged house together and elbow romance out of the way early by discussing the broken fly screen or little Johnny’s report card. Sure, she’s wearing kinky knickers.
But why is she telling you the bloody lawn needs mowing? Unless it’s a euphemism.
These dollar days, most people cynically dismiss celebrations such as Valentine’s Day as commercial constructs. And yes, February 14 makes florists pots of money. But some people like it when the shops remind them it’s time to treat their other halves. If only they’d do the same for birthdays and anniversaries. The dog kennel is so uncomfortable.
The way people celebrate Valentine’s Day is pretty much standard the world over. There are few variations on the amorous theme of chockies, flowers, sustenance… and then “back to mine” to test the strength of the springs.
The only variation I’ve heard of is in Scotland, where “the search of the Valentine date” decrees that the first person you see on February 14 becomes your Valentine. Garbage collectors have never had it so good.
Love has many moods and is the human body’s strongest emotion. (Apart from its opposite, but there’s no room for hate on Valentine’s Day.) Few people go through life without having a soft spot for someone. And even fewer people go through life without having a soft spot for soft spots.
Marriage has traditionally been seen as love’s sublimation, yet some governments still seek to dictate who can and can’t love each other, at least on paper. This gets the humorists delivering the old chestnut: why shouldn’t gay people be unhappy as well?
On a flight from Sydney to a destination I can’t remember (which might sum up some people’s marriages) the captain came on the blower and said: “Ladies and gentlemen, we have newlyweds on board who are heading off on their honeymoon. On behalf of myself and the rest of the crew I would like to wish them every success in their life together. I hope they’re as happy as I thought I was going to be.”
One in three marriages ends in divorce, which sounds like a depressing statistic until you smash that half empty glass and realise that means the majority succeed. Marriage has its ups and downs. Sure, the ins and outs become less frequent. But there’s more to love than sex. Apparently.
Happy Valentine’s Day.
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