it’s better to fall in love later

Posted on November 1st, 2012

I keep coming up with theories on love. It’s a theme in my life. I’m of that age where it strikes everyone around me as odd that I should be single and approaching 40. A real estate agent on Saturday proclaimed he thought it was profoundly weird I wasn’t married. “I mean, you keep yourself fit, so why don’t you have a husband.” It was a logic I refused to try and follow.

I’m also of that age where everyone around me are in relationships that strike me as, well, more than odd (toxic, perhaps? highly compromising?). And so I come up with, and collect, theories.

Photo by Andrew Zuckerman. PS This giraffe has nothing to do with this post. But it’s the third giraffe to pop up in my orbit in 12 hours.

I was thinking about this theory this morning. I met a woman in Provence called Francine who made me lemon balm tea late one night and in her soft voice told me she thought it was better to fall in love later in life. She was 50 or so and single and still believed it wasn’t her time yet.

Her theory has a wonderful French fatalism about it. With a dose of “eat your cabbage first and leave your succulent pork chop till last” thinking (you’re either a “eat the best thing on your plate first” or a “save the best till last” type, right? I’m the latter.).

“When you fall in love and find your match when you’re  young, ” she said, ” you haven’t been around enough to handle the hurt. So when it ends, the pain is so bad,” she said. (French fatalism dictates that love will, of course, end.) Read more

my interview with Nicholas Sparks on what makes love work

Posted on December 4th, 2011

This week in Sunday Life I discuss The Notebook

If you ever find yourself in the laundry at a party skewered against the tub of stubbies by some eye-glazing, go-nowhere conversation, try this tactic. Ask everyone’s thoughts on The Notebook. In my experience everyone has a take on this 1996 novel, turned into a film in 2006. And it’s always pleasantly diverting.

I mean, most of us admit to only having half-watched the movie, and only to witness Ryan Gosling work his magic. Right? Blokes will say their wife made them do it. But in the next breath they’ll confess it made them cry. I know an ex-world number one light heavyweight boxer who’s watched it 14 times and a burly fireman who’s seen it nine. Both cried every time. Which is a phenomenon in itself.

But what I find interesting when I spike party small talk with such a conver-bomb is that invariably women say they love the film because the female protagonist Allie – who’s faced with choosing between first love Noah and her posh, sweater-n-chinos fiancé – eventually goes with her heart. Chicks love this.

Blokes, however, say they get all prickly-eyed because the dude who sticks to his belief that he’d found his girl (and built a house in readiness for her return) wins the day. The nobleness entailed in this and the fact he stands by Allie through all kinds of calamities hits a waterworks nerve for men. Chicks also love this.

Choosing to go with your heart, and determined, stoic nobleness – it’s fundamental Venus vs Mars stuff. But at the core of both takes is the same principle, I think. A “good” decision was made. And committed to. Simple! Phew!

Since seeing the film myself, I’ve always wanted to know author Nicholas Sparks’ take on love. Is he a romantic? A cynic? This week I got my opportunity during his visit promoting his seventeenth novel The Best of Me. Read more

when you’re the “somebody that they used to know”

Posted on September 21st, 2011

Today. This. Dedicated to Pete.

YouTube Preview Image

I saw Gotye play live a few months back. The most sublime experience. He played about six or seven instruments during the gig, dancing between each one. It was a dance, I tell you! More than six million people have viewed this on Youtube, so apologies if you already viewed it. But I reckon it’s special. It’s my soundtrack to today.

This song is drenched in the kind of sadness we all know. Rejection. With a double coat of (feigned) apathy.

The sadness of when the other person looks like they’ve “won” in the hurt game, because they seem to just not care – sending a friend to get the records, treating you like a stranger. You don’t see it as their hurt playing out. You see it as them moving on without you. You lost. They won because you were nothing. We never see it clearly in the moment.

Told myself that you were right for me
But felt so lonely in your company
But that was love and it’s an ache I still remember

Definitely an ache I still remember…we convince ourselves of all kinds of things when we don’t want to be left behind in love. This spoken as someone whose experience flies in the face of the “it’s takes half the length of a relationship to get over a deep love”. I take double.

What do you think? Is the pain of being “somebody they they used to know” about feeling like you lost? And because they won, they somehow know more than you about life and love and everything, and always did, and so now you’re left without their “knowingness” on TOP OF IT ALL…on your own?