Friday, 30 March 2012

A letter for the lonely this Valentine’s Day
Jack Marx

Tonight is the night when the lucky get to celebrate their fortune with the ones who make them fortunate. Valentine’s Day. Lover’s day. A day for the loved and a sad day for those who are not. Nobody ever mentions the unloved on this day, and they’re the very people who should be cared for the most. So I’m going to have a go.

So much of life in the 21st century is built on being loved – finding a partner, settling down, having children, making a home. Doing that makes you “successful” as a human being. By extension, not doing that makes you a “failure”. You have failed as a person. You are not loved, you are not important. You have nobody who wishes to witness your life. The heartbroken - the lonely, the loveless - are seen by society as pitiful. They are immature, wounded, insane, not complete. We insult them by telling them they “need help”.

It’s bullshit.

As the couples celebrate, we should remember there is nothing noble about being “in love”. There is some giving in a romantic relationship, for sure – some encouragement, some passion – but it is a greedy thing. You see someone, they turn you on, you want them. If it weren’t thus, there’d be no such thing as jealousy, or the gift of love being “voided” when one party “misbehaves”.

That’s not love, that’s a transaction more befitting to bankers and clients.

We build the ones we love into giants so huge we cannot escape them, forgetting there are no such things as giants. Take our enthusiasm for them away and they shrink into people again. They might be wonderful, but many human beings are wonderful. Nobody on this earth is really much bigger than anyone else.

Despite what Bryan Ferry might have tried to make us believe, love is not a drug. You can’t inject love into someone. You can’t bottle it or sell it. Love is not transferable. It is something within us.

Special people can inspire it – will it to come out – but they can’t create it. The love you feel for someone else is yours. It is a gift you give to the fortunate. Nobody can own your love but you. And they can never, ever take it away from you.

For the lonely today the truth is that their sadness is directly proportionate to the amount of love they have. Some people love hugely, and others love manageably. It is the former who suffer, and the latter who get by pretty well.

You can’t be heartbroken without love, and the more love there is the greater the heartbreak. It’s a simple mathematical fact. If there is a sensible, lovable person who thinks enormous love is ugly, I’m yet to meet them, and I hope I never do.

There are many people – perhaps most people – who don’t really know what superb love is. They feel longing and passion and attraction, they want a partner who’ll tick all their boxes, and they will find them as readily as one can find a dog that suits their garden.

You can see them on websites for “lovers” – they don’t want tattoos, they don’t want freckles, they don’t want people with certain proclivities. They see love as some kind of deal, when in truth love is magic. It happens in spite of everything. Unless you don’t believe.

Those with a special amount of love know that when their love is set forth it washes all those little things away. True love doesn’t care about colours or scars or accents or damages. And people who love truly can’t give their love so cheaply.

So they keep it, and it floods them. It ages and becomes like a poison. They would probably be happier if they devalued their love and gave it to their next-door neighbour. But they can’t do that. So they’re lonely, loveless, pitiful, immature, wounded, insane, not complete. What a dreadful lie perpetrated by bitches and bastards who wouldn’t know true love if it buggered them senseless.

There are many people tonight who will be spending their time really, truly in love. We should love them, too, for the wonderful feelings they share, which really do make the world gorgeous. There are others who are falling in love – do not know what their feelings mean, but have made way for them – and we should love and welcome them too. They are our future.

But there are many “lovers” tonight – with homes and children and cosy futures and all the spoils of love – who will never know love as massive, terrifying and beautiful as the love that the lonely feel. They are happy, because they are not particularly special people. It’s easy to be happy when you’re like that.

The lonely should not envy them. They should trust themselves tonight, on this night of love, and know that the love they have in them will one day be discovered by some of the luckiest people in this world.

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