It’s a nightmarish scenario of course, that we might never find the sort of love we long for. And yet, being prepared for such an eventuality lies at the heart of the art of living – for it is only once we are properly reconciled to the possibility of never finding love that we can be liberated from romantic ideals and can start to appreciate what remains beautiful and meaningful.
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“From the start of adulthood, we have been waiting. We understood love intuitively long before it was ever a practical possibility. We knew that it was bound up with a sense of being profoundly understood and finally able to say everything, without fear of judgement or censure. Love was a two-person conspiracy against everyone else too dumb or leaden to get ‘it’, the true nature of being alive. It had to do with fancying someone totally and the amazingness that they might fancy you back, to the extent that you could do anything with them, like rest a finger inside their mouth and ask them to bite it hard. We imagined from the first that love might be the best part of life – and we were not wrong.
In the name of love, we put ourselves in extraordinary situations. We went out far more than we would have wanted. We bought fancy clothes, we thought about our hair and worried about our spots, we drank intensely coloured cocktails, we ended up at small hours in alien parts of town, in the bedrooms of people we knew weren’t right but that seemed at least in some way to be an advance on the cause. We accepted dates with people we knew were problematic because we wanted not to ossify or grow too peculiar. It wasn’t always right, in fact, it was mostly always wrong, but we kept our spirits up and told ourselves it would eventually be OK, as they kindly assured us it would be…”
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