I’m not going to say the word. The V word. The one that’ll have half of you clicking away and the other half vomiting copiously onto the carpet.
But what I am going to do is write about non-sexual love. The love that I usually ignore here in favour of hot sex or wanking or – very occasionally – posts about men who give me that warm feeling in my chest.
Other kinds of love are often neglected – it’s the topic of one of my favourite posts over at BishUK: more than one love. He talks about everything and everyone we love but we never send cards to or buy roses for. Friends, family, community – the people who support and inspire and care for us.
Love doesn’t have to be romantic
I’m probably guilty of feeding in to the narrative that there’s ‘one true love’ which is more special than the rest. The obsession I have with cataloguing the way I feel – in my heart as well as my cunt – about individual guys. But that’s not the only kind of love, and it’s partly hard to write because when we think of love we think of hearts and flowers and sex before we think of the other things.
There’s love in the sense of friendship – mates who’ll come round my house on Friday nights to get pissed on vodka and sing along to Gaga and swap clothes with me for fun. My best friend, who always buys two pints no matter how far I am from the pub, so when I arrive there’ll be one waiting. Other amazing friends who listen to me whine when I’m unhappy, and leave me alone when I’m stressed, then offer to come round to share a bottle of wine and a rant when I need distractions. Friends who call me out when I’m wrong, and forgive me even when I don’t deserve it. Friends who teach me about love, and tell me which Netflix series to watch next, with wide-eyed excitement at sharing a good thing.
There’s love for my family. And I don’t talk about them much here, for obvious reasons: I don’t want to be outed then have you send my Mum a sappy blog post I wrote about how awesome she is. But they’re there, my family – in every bit of my life. Encouraging me, supporting me, and most importantly laughing at me when I fuck shit up.
My sister, who is the most astonishing person. In turns tireless, warm, fierce, moral, funny, and a million other things that I aspire to be. I love her and I’m in awe of her, and I am incredibly lucky to have her. My brother who I am so desperately proud of, because he’s grown from a bouncy 12-year-old who once nicked my pocket money to a man whose empathy and kindness and warmth blows me away.
Community: it’s a strange word which we’re not as used to these days. It used to mean neighbours and local shopkeepers, and your landlord knowing your name when you popped to the pub. But now it’s @handles and avatars and the people who offer virtual *hugs* when you’re down. It is no less important because of that. When people who don’t understand offer criticism – “you’re always on your phone! Why not engage with the world?!” it’s hard to explain that’s exactly what we’re doing. Comforting friends we’ve never met. Helping people with their questions. Sharing jokes. Offering support. Building community. Loving.
In defence of the ‘impersonal’ internet, you get people pointing out that many meet their wives/husbands/lovers there. Online dating, or twitter flirts that went further and led to marriage or sex. And so we’re back round again to the idea that things are justified by a romantic ‘happy ever after.’ That eros is the most important kind of love.
But it isn’t.
It’s great, don’t get me wrong. The feeling of togetherness and comfort. Knowing your life is incredible just because a certain someone’s in it. But it’s often held up as the most important goal. Everything we should hope for and all the things we need.
And it isn’t.
Because with or without romantic love there is friendship, community, family.
On its own, no one type of love can complete you. No single person can complete you. So this blog is for all the people who don’t complete me, but who give me something awesome.
Who make my life much better just by being in it.