So, what is love?
It was either Aphrodite or Oprah Winfrey – or possibly Jessica Fletcher – who said, ‘Love is giving someone permission to break your heart but trusting them not to.”
Well, it’s fair to say that I have loved. I have sent my heart out there into battle and trusted in another person not to break it and I have been lucky.
I have been loved.
And love is nice. And when you love someone and they love you too and you involve an episode of your favourite TV drama – let’s say, anything by Jimmy McGovern or a repeat of Murder She Wrote – and a box of Maltesers, love is very nice indeed.
I sat upon a rock on a beach in Oban after a comedy gig as my new love stood a few inches away with his back against the harbour wall.
Looking out to sea, I said, “I think… I’m… falling… in love with you.”
Then I glanced down at the rock clenched hard in my hand.
In a moment he said, “Yes, same… well, actually, I’m already there, so… yeah… “ He stumbled on, shuffling from foot to foot as his face burned red with awkwardness. Then my hives started playing up. So we went to the pub and got absolutely hammered.
I really, really thought our love would change the world.
Well, it did change mine.
I have waltzed down the brown Danube laughing with my love drinking premium Hungarian beer from large plastic tankers on a warm summer’s night and it was very good.
I have sung Karaoke with Air Force One in a bar in Bratislava whilst downing gut-busting cocktails as my love laughingly looked on. And it was really, really good. – The pilot sang Up Where We Belong to me and I took that flight of fancy with him – as my love encouraged me in some harmless flirting.
I have slumped in pyjamas for hours on a Sunday afternoon with the blinds tightly shut watching marathon runs of Come Dine With Me whilst sharing a carry-out-curry with my love and feeling in a perfect state of bliss and peace and saturated fats.
So, I know that love is good.
Romance is overrated. When you eventually get to the big romantic things in life oftentimes the experience does not live up to your long-held expectations.
I have eaten ice cream at The Trevi Fountain on a warm night in July with my love wondering how much longer we should linger and thinking that I’d eaten too much at dinner and needed sleep and a cardigan. – Of course I appreciated the spectacular fountain and the ice cream and the night sky but I did not feel the love.
I have dined spectacularly at The Four Seasons, smiling down at the beautiful cornflower blue sapphire and the nineteen pin-head diamonds on the double-white Gold band newly placed there on the third finger of my left hand, feeling like it would have been nice if my love had actually proposed.
The words, “D’ya wanna shove this on now or what?” were still resounding round my head and I ruined that experience with my destructive thoughts.
I have sipped cocktails on the coast of Croatia and watched the sun disappear behind the horizon, sitting silently with my love but feeling lonely.
It took a few Pina Colladas, several rounds of Rakija and a bowl of Strukli to ease the passage of loneliness into oblivion.
It is the simple moments in life that I have found love to be at its most pure.
I have been enveloped in my love, as one with him, entwined in peace and I have rolled to sleep in his arms in deep pleasurable happiness and love.
-And then he has farted – which definitely tests true love.
Sex is not love. But you can bring the love to it, if you want.
I have made love in the freezing waters of a Scottish Loch with a man I was in love with which was funny but rubbish.
I have made love in a locker at a spa resort in Central Europe, which was funny and good. My boyfriend knocked on my cubicle door asking for talc, then forced his way in and demanded sex.
- It was thrilling!
I have made love on a warm beach on Gran Canaria under the stars with a guy called Top Banana who looked after The Dolphin Experience. – We saw the stars, but no dolphins.
I have made love on a cold mattress in a multi-storey flat somewhere in Thornliebank with a guy I really fancied because he looked like Lionel Ritchie in The Commodore years – NOT the Hello years! – which allowed me to overlook the putrid state of his flat.
- And his kit on the floor next to his signing-on book.
“Sing Nightshift to me!” I demanded, excitedly. But he just slumped into a drug-induced coma and I had to negotiate my way home from Armageddon, alone.
I have made love in a warm condo in Kowloon with a sexy German barman called Goswin who had the largest…em…‘personality’…I have ever seen. As the catamarans rolled into the harbour, we listened to Kris Kristopherson on his wee mini-disc player and the buzz of the nightlife click-clickety-clacked beneath our window and the air filled with exotic quixotic romance.
- I never saw him again.
I have made love with someone whom I loved deeply and who loved me too. I have made love with someone I didn’t even know. I have made love with a person I hated.
I have loved a dead man.
I have danced and sang with joy in love, alone. I have swam in the open sea with the deepest sense of happiness and love that I felt like I could fly and tried but couldn’t.
I have snuggled up in bed alone feeling the presence of love with me; beside me; inside me. And, as I closed my eyes I dreamed of him, of me, of love and of our pure happiness so much I could cry.
So I cried.
I have sobbed and sobbed long and hard into my pillow then turned it over and I have gone to sleep on the dry side so as not to get a wet-face-rash.
- Always consider your complexion when crying on pillows.
I have awoken wondering if what I dreamed was real. I could feel his hot breath on my neck and his eyes on my face and his chest hairs tickling into my back but I turned around to find only some snotty tissues and an empty box of Milk Tray.
- That Milk Tray Ghost-Man is my constant companion.
I have awoken with a start wondering if what was real I dreamed only to feel his warm arms fold around me as I stroked the soft hairs on his skin and whispered to myself, ‘He is here! He is really here’ then jerked myself into the moment as I knew it couldn’t last.
- He had mail to deliver.
- It was milk.
- Still joking!
- It was a kitchen.
- Or was it?
I have cried for my love, for the loss of him, for my fear for him, for his pain, for his breaking heart, for his smiling face, for his cheeky grin, for his trusting eyes. – And for his vulnerability and for mine.
I have gone mad with love and blamed it on my menstrual cycle.
Yes, it is fair to say that I have loved. I have given another person permission to break my heart and I have not been disappointed. I have wept with the remnants of my world broken across my carpet and my anger at his discarded stinking sock.
I have sobbed with snot running down my face, tears in my ears, howling foetally and silently screaming like a really bad actress in a Greek Tragedy.
- It is always good practice for an actress to stand back from herself during these moments and try to embed the feelings in the emotional memory bank for later use in a Lysistrata audition.
I have quietly wept as I swatted a wasp over the cooker setting alight to the napkin whilst my love sat coldly eating sausages. Then asked for another egg.
- Another egg?!
I snivelled some more as the bacon sparked a further fire under the grill and as I dampened the cloth to extinguish it, an alarm bell bellowed in the hall. But not in my head.
- Why not in my head? Why NOT in my head!!!
Then, as I brandished a tea-towel under the screaming siren, he walked past me, smiling, and left me to manage the burnt bacon and the smouldering fire and my bleeding heart all alone.
I have stood still on a busy street saying absolutely nothing to my friend on the other end of the phone for what seemed like hours just to feel him listen to my silence and the world as it rushed around me and the cracking of my heart as it quietly stopped.
- Amazingly, I still retain that friendship.
I have been in love alone and I have been heartbroken alone. I have been lonely with my love and I have been happy in love alone. So what is this love? Who is making us feel the love? And who is making us feel the pain? How can we be in love alone if it is the other person who is giving the love to us? When we decide to get up and get on, who is making us take that action? I don’t imagine it’s Jesus or Allah or, even, Oprah.
- Well, maybe Oprah.
Aren’t all of our physical and mental actions our own? Is it not us who is creating the pain and, therefore, creating the love? Is it not up to us to always, always choose to love? – To allow another’s love for us into our hearts and lives?
I believe it is. I believe that no-one can give you love and no-one can take your love away. I believe that you can bestow your love on the object of your affection: a chair, a cabbage or a particularly nice vintage tablecloth with butterfly motifs on – I really, really love that tablecloth. And you can believe that the great ball of fire in your belly and the pounding in your heart and the fever in your soul has been created by him or her or Rover. And that this feeling you have inside of you is their love for you and that they will think of you obsessively and expire without you. Which makes you happy.
But it isn’t. And they don’t. And they probably won’t!
It’s just Old Mother Nature there working away trying to ensure the survival of the species, silly.
Snuggles are good. I mean, what is finer than a snuggle? Nothing! That’s what.
I love that feeling when their knees fit neatly into the back of yours whilst ‘spooning’ and you mold yourselves into one united being until the sweat trickles between your bodies and you have to silkily slide yourself away and involve hankies.
Or that comforting sensation you get when his hot breath gently heats the back of your neck and he sometimes kisses it there and you fall a little deeper into paradise. And what could beat that loving feel of his arm curling warmly around your waistline, his hand resting gently on your stomach, your fingers entwined in his as you stroke the tiny hairs there, half-asleep.
- Man, I really miss that dog.
I read a book about love one time and the woman, I think it was either Pamela Stephenson or Tricia Goddard – or possibly Jeremy Vine – who said:
“When you love another person it is his love for himself and your
love for yourself flowing and mingling together between
two whole people who want to share their love.”
- Which is an ideal way to see things if you have evolved above the level of sentient being or have done a lot of Yoga or are Trudy Styler.
But, the truest love you will ever have is indeed the love you have for yourself. You can choose to love a stranger. But, believe me, that love never ends well. You will automatically love your children, hopefully, you’d think! And you can choose to love a dear friend or, indeed, a nice tree. – That last one might even get you into Pick-Me-Up magazine!
- And, possibly, Carstairs.
But, I do not believe it is possible to truly love another person unless you truly love yourself. And if you struggle with that, there is plenty of love available on the high street for a small fee.
- And, for the more adventurous, the Private Sauna at Roseburn has some special deals on a Tuesday.
Now, my final piece of lady wisdom is this: All relationships are your mirrors and all people are your precious teachers.
- Especially if they are actually your teacher and you are paying them to teach you stuff. If they are your teacher and they are not teaching you stuff you can report them to The High Commissioner of the Governor of Teachers Association or something. And if they suggest you run away with them to France and marry them when you turn sixteen, do it. But only if you really, really fancy them.
Each of my great big loves taught me something about myself, and each guided me, inadvertently, onto a new path in my journey through life.
I am the person I am because of love. – The love I have given and the love I have received.
The more destructive the relationship; the more I have learned. And I am a sucker for an education: The abusive ones taught me self-respect; the narcissistic ones taught me unconditional love; the one-night-stands taught me to always carry earplugs and a spare pair of pants.
So, what is love?
Well, who the hell knows!
But if you do find it – kiss the joy as if flies for it may pass your way only once. So, live for a while in the sunrise.
And invest in a dog.