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What is Love

I have been thinking about this crazy little thing called love for a while. What does it mean to say “I love you”? I decided to ask my husband “What is love”

“Ahhh” he replied….the Latinos always put the romantic slant on things…”love is many splendid things”. What does that even mean? He could offer me no more.

I took my question to the hairdressers. Surely there would be someone who could give me an answer. I asked my hairdresser. She didn’t know. She asked a ‘flighty gal’ who was dating 2 guys at the same time. She should know but she didn’t. She called 1 of the men in question. He didn’t know that he was on loud speaker…and so I cannot repeat what he said in mixed company. There was a salon full of women waiting with baited breath for his answer. He went into a spiel about love being ‘unconditional’. The disappointment on our faces was visible. She hung up on him but not before muttering “I’ll deal with you later”.

My hairdresser having got the bit between her teeth…asked her boss. She of Somalian origin could have insights that I had not thought about. She went into monologue about ‘wanting to love’ but she couldn’t love because her partner was a dirt bag …she said this:

“If he cheats on you what can you do…?”

If he tells you lies what you going to do…?”

If he doesn’t tell you anything what you going to do…?

None of us had the answer to her questions so we collapsed into laughter instead. We alternated between silence and laughter until the next client arrived.

It started something like this…”I have a question for you… I hope you do not mind … but we are all interested to know…what love is”. At which point the person would go into shock.

The facial expression would be the same …I imagine …if you had asked “Did you have a bowel movement this morning”?

The funniest response of them all was a woman who came in only to enquire how much it would cost to have her eyebrows done.

“Eyebrow threading £4.50 …What is love?”

“What is love”?
“Yes what is love”?
“Excuse me I don’t understand the question”
“What… is love”?
“I don’t know….what a weird question… I’ll let you know when I come back for my eyebrows”…and she was gone! I don’t know if she ever returned.

Now I have been going to my hairdresser for about 5 years and I know her very well. I knew her cunny plan. She was prolonging the discussion…for one reason and one reason only…she wanted to wait until it was a reasonable time so that she could phone her man in New York to ask him. As soon as the clock stuck 11.30 am London time she called him.

“What is love”?

For some reason whenever this question is asked the receiver has to repeat the question at least 4 times. So we went through the ritual. In this guy’s case it at least 9 times. He then preceded to say that love was her body and personality. It was a little too Barry White for a Saturday morning but ‘hey’ no one was leaving. She was giggling like chipmunk (don’t ask?) He had obviously passed the test. He knew he was doing well so he went in for the kill….”love is 90% personality and 40% sex”. I don’t think maths was his strong point.

I walked home and pondered the question for my 10,000 steps. What is love? Where do our ideas of love come from? Our parents. The movies. Fairy tales. Wherever our ideas comes from…there is something not quite right. Everyone… if we are honest is looking for true love but if it is impossible to define how will you know it when you see it. How do you know that it isn’t already here…right under your nose… If we are looking for the fairy tale romance or the movie boy meets girl scenario we are probably going to have a very disappointing love life.

So perhaps I should rethink the question. I want something beyond the of the top of the head explanation. There must be more…

What is it like to be in love?

Being in love cannot be described by mere words.
There are no words to describe the rainbow burst of emotions you feel when you are in love. The love is all consuming. You want to hear, touch, taste, feel and smell the person all at once. Day and night. It is madness. It is obsession. You can’t sleep. You can’t eat. You can’t think straight. They heighten your experiences because all the emotions come together and create the synergist emotion called love. Anything and everything reminds you of the other person. You memorise everything and play it back in your head savouring… repeating and rewinding…so that you can wring every last piece of joy and happiness out of the moments you share.

Can you feel love?

Oh yes!
The love bug gives you a rush of hormones that puts you on your very own natural high. An endorphins, dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin cocktail floods your body so hard you do not know what hit you…boosting your immune system…making you feel as if you could conquer the world…making you feel positive about everything….making you feel very smug about yourself. Love is the drug and everyone wants to score!

Love is like catching a bug…and wishing for all your life that you never find the cure!

Why do we crave love?

We crave love because we are social animals.

We need to find someone to share our lives with. It is a lonely world and it feels good to know that there is someone who cares about you. Someone to whom you are significant. To whom you concern. They care when you sleep or whether you have eaten. We crave that feeling of someone paying attention to the things we care about. The feeling of sharing moments, dreams and experiences gives us connectedness. It enhances the moments and deepens the memories. It is only through loving and hopefully being loved in return in equal measure that we get to experience life. If you do not love then you do not get to live.

What happens when the love goes?

Love can be replaced by many things
Couples can be heard saying ‘I love them but I am not in love with them’. The spark has gone. Love becomes routine. Love is familiarity. Love is safety. Love is dependency. Love is indifference. Love is convenience. Love is order. Love is neglected. Love is assumed. Love seldom gets to be the focus. Love gets no nourishment. Love has left the building and love is a past tense.

Watch a couple who have been together way too long. They have a symbiotic relationship like the Oxpecker and the hippo or the whale and barnacles. Both function alongside each other, parallel lives…passing on the stairs. Both getting something from the relationship…enough not to leave and not enough to care.

Why do we fear love?

We fear it because we cannot control it.

We have no control or power over who we fall in love with and neither can we make another person love us. We are at the mercy of love. Because in order to love we have to do the one thing we have been designed not to do. That is to be vulnerable. Survival is in our DNA. We know instinctively that only the strong survive. So we put up walls, barriers and make conditions. We protect ourselves from the thing we desire the most.

To know love is to know:

• The fear of losing one’s self into another person.
• The fear of losing control and being made to look ridiculous
• The other person has the power to annihilate us.

• The responsibility of caring for someone more than you care for yourself.
• To love someone more than the air that you breath.
• The constant fear that something will happen to them. You might lose them or someone might take them.


• To submit. To surrender. To be vulnerable.

When you surrender to love it is a form of dying. It is the death of your preconceived ideas of love. The fairy tales. The movies. The media. Your folks. Your friends. Your circumstances. Your culture. Your language. Your beliefs. You die and you are born again in the person you love. You give your heart and you hope beyond hope that they will be kind.

Can you change the person you love?

Why would you want to?
If you want to change someone that you love what is it and who was it that you fell in love with in the first place? When you love another everything changes. But the idea that you can change the other person…never works. Because as soon as you think about changing another person into what you want them to be…you have declared that your way of being is better than theirs and so you have placed yourself in superior role. Superiority is not a good basis for love. The other person instinctively picks up on this and resists. When they don’t change this leads to all sorts of resentment.

Is love hard work

Oh yes!
I have heard it said on many occasions that love is hard work. How hard can it be? If you have to work at love then how can it be love? When you love someone there are angels singing and lots of wine…right? Actually it is a lot of hard work. But the work is on you. You see you cannot know yourself by yourself…you can only know yourself in the context of someone else. You get to know yourself in the reflection of the other. They annoy you…why do they annoy you…you get to find out what annoyance is to you and therefore you get to know yourself a little more. …if you are smart you will learn from it…you will communicate … you both work at it and grow…together!

All you need is love

…yes …but…

You are not supposed to fall in love with your so called ‘soul mate’. You are supposed to fall in love with someone who challenges you. You are supposed to experience every emotion known to man and women with that person. Hate. Jealousy. Anger. Warmth. Passion. Love is an emotions fest. It’s like going to a music festival. When you are in love you get down and dirty, you get wild and free and little mad. You see sides of each other doing crazy things that you would rather not see… but it bonds you. You sing in and out of tune. You dance in and out of steps… yet…always at each other’s side. I have found this to be true….when you love someone you let them be. You love them in spite of the fact that they drive you crazy and nobody in your circle understands their antics….because you know that life without them would be a whole lot crazier and not in a good way…You love them despite the fact that they do the stupidest things because without them you do not want to do anything at all. You love them because you see beyond them…you see their soul and to you it is beautiful.

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