What is Love
Love Among The Ruins, by Edward Coley Burne-Jones (183-1898) via State Library Victoria

I’ve been watching a few romances lately, and I can’t help asking, what is love?

Bearing in mind the standard romance book/movie/song storyline where a person meets another person, falls in love, has a big fight, gets back together and lives happily ever after. Forever. And ever. And ever…

What is Love for Teens?

Modern high school romances such as The Kissing Booth are not as “sweet” as those when I was young. The pashing doesn’t always fade to a blur in a swell of music, and there aren’t always dire consequences for the girl who goes too far (which I suppose is more realistic). But there is still that awkwardness and the sort of breathless need for something you can’t identify and don’t know how to articulate. Not to mention that feeling of slow-motion death when the one you love rejects you. And how could it not, when youth is all about you.

Thanks to raging teenage hormones love is all bright colours, ecstatic highs and depressive lows. It’s no wonder that the older we get, the more confused we are about how love feels. And all it takes is one of those songs, and we’re right back then in the thick of all-consuming teenage love, and sometimes it’s hard to shake those feelings off.

 Love and Marriage

Romances for adults, like Midnight in Paris, focus less on you, and more on the relationship. The story goes a little deeper than the pretty face and sporting physique. It starts to take into account common interests and conversations about them. In between passionate lovemaking. And sometimes around children and ex-partners. But generally ending in marriage which is kind of funny when many modern romances don’t.

Love becomes still and deep. In some cases, so still and deep it’s hardly noticeable at all! And as for sexual tension, well it seems that after a certain age we’re all supposed to pack up our hormones and pretend they were never there in the first place.

Love and Life

I’ve recently discovered a new passion for Korean drama. In K-drama, love is the core of the story, but at the same time, it’s incidental to the story. Not just one all-encompassing romantic love, but love between friends, siblings, parents, and children. And not just humans, but ghosts, monsters, angels, fairies and all kinds of supernatural creatures. All of them living a life infused with love all the time, not just for now.

It is truly amazing how much heart pounding mileage you can get from a long look and the brief brush of a hand if you put your mind to it.

So. What Is Love?

At the end of the movie, the heroine generally walks out of whatever building she’s in, and the hero is waiting. The music swells and the credits roll.

And I’m left asking myself “then what happened?”

When it comes to Love, the older you get, the more you have to work at including it in your life. Protecting the laughter, long looks and trembling knees from the stupidity of modern life.

If you don’t nurture your love in the face of the dullness and apathy of everyday life, it will look for new faces who will.


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