Valentine’s Schmalentine’s! So it is that day again, the most commercial of our calendar celebrations; Valentine’s. Or, to quote a dear friend of mine, Schmalentine’s (please go read her hilarious take on it at: http://www.neptitudes.blogspot.com/2010/02/valentine-schmalentine.html). How does a true romantic like me feel about a day dedicated to celebrating Love in a cheap and tacky, kitsch manner? If that is what is required to get people to show some love than good for them, some love is better than no love. Me? Well, dear reader, I am sure by now, if you have been keeping up with my posts, you will know that I am that pudgy, little bastard, Cupid’s bitch! Hell, for me every day is Valentine’s Day when I am in love, hell, even when I’m not! However, I like to think that I am a little more inventive, am a little more genuine, and that I have a lot more good taste and sophistication going for me than your normal, average, run-of-the-mill Valentine. Yes, and as cliché as this may be, I honestly believe that you should not have to have a day, especially not such a commercially-driven one, to tell you to show your love to that special person in your life, you should be doing that in a thousand ways every day.
LOVE: it is perhaps because of the very schmaltz of Valentine’s (Schmalentine’s) that the word love has become so diluted and far too easily bandied about. I feel it is has lost its potency and has become totally inadequate to describe such an immense emotion. It’s like using the word nice to describe something beautiful; it is far too limited to express the gravitas of the presence of true beauty. And so I searched, in the true spirit of the scholar-artist that I am, for words which could replace that white-trash word, love. Did you know that the Ancient Greeks had five separate words for love, each describing a different type of love? To me this makes far more sense for such a huge word. These words are as follows:
Mania – this is a, as the root word suggests, manic love. It is the sort of madness that overcomes one when you truly fall for another completely, without restraint. I think this is probably what I think of as teenage love which I’m pretty good at.
Eros – although being the root word for erotic and all that that implies, it does not only describe sexual love but also the feeling of being in love. It encompasses all those nervous, passionate sensations, the longing and wanting, that feeling of belonging and being connected.
Philos – is a love that steadily grows over time, time shared together. It is that brotherly/sisterly/familial/friendship love that forms due to common interests and experiences.
Storgy – describes the love for a dependant, for example, mother/daughter, it is the caring, protective love one feels for them.
Agapeo – however, is the most selfless of the five forms of love. This love is entirely about the lover and not the loved. It is love freely given and committed to without reservations or expectations. It requires little or no return. It is selfless in that it is a choice and a commitment made by the lover with regards the loved one, and remains strong and consistent regardless of emotions and situations.
Ideally in a relationship one would hope that all five these loves are present, and if they are, how joyous the union will be. I have to say that when I fall in love they are all pretty much a part of my feelings. Perhaps that’s why I am too much for the loved one? That’s a lot of love when you dissect it like it has been above, and probably quite intimidating, I can imagine.
I came across a further five words for love that I thought were pretty cool:
Mamihlapinatapai (Yaghan language of Tierra del Fuego) — this describes a look shared by two people who are each waiting for the other to make the next move. How cool are words? A word that totally describes that look! So cool!
Retrouvailles (French) —this literally translates as “rediscovery,” retrouvailles is the happiness of reuniting with someone after a long separation, and isn’t that just the best feeling?
Koi No Yokan (Japanese) — is the feeling that you get upon meeting someone for the first time that love could easily happen if given the right circumstances. It’s that immediate attraction (not necessarily sexual) that you get when with this person.
Onsra (Boro language of India) —Boro, like Ancient Greek, has a number of words to describe different types of love. I liked onsra, or the bittersweet, “to love for the last time”. I guess it’s the teenager in me, the Twilighter, hahaha!
Ya’aburnee (Arabic) — is the most awesome of them though! The literal translation is “you bury me” — because I don’t even want to imagine life without you. How awesome is that word!!!! Put that on a Valentine’s card, why don’t you?
I’m going to end off with:
THE OFFICIAL SWANY LIST OF AWESOMENESS
My five favourite romantic movies
5 & 4) Baz Luhrmann is more an artist than a filmmaker and his movies drip rich, sumptuous colours, his images crafted in layers much like painter does on canvas. He rightly gets 2 of the top 5 for Romeo and Juliet and Moulin Rouge. Beautiful films that can be enjoyed again and again!
3) 10 Things I Hate About You stars a host of young, up-and-coming actors including Heath Ledger, Julia Stiles and Joseph Gordon-Levitt and is a modern adaption of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew. It’s just a fun movie in the John Hughes mold and reminds you of how much fun love can be. Ledger is great in it, and Stiles’ declaration of love to him in the movie is just awesome:
I hate the way you talk to me
And the way you cut your hair
I hate the way you drive my car
I hate it when you stare.
I hate your big dumb combat boots
And the way you read my mind
I hate you so much that it makes me sick
It even makes me rhyme.
I hate the way you’re not around
And the fact that you didn’t call
But mostly I hate the way that I don’t hate you
Not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all.
2) I mentioned John Hughes, and for those who think you don’t know him, trust me you most certainly do. Or you certainly know his movies: The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. He was the king of the teenage romance movie and he did it with class and real feeling not like the America Pie crap etc that passes for coming-of-age movies these days. For me, of all his movies the most romantic is his Some Kind of Wonderful. It is just, well, “some kind of wonderful”. Watch it!
1) OK! So what is my favourite romantic movie of all time? Dear reader, if you think back on my whole Los Angeles romance, when I tell you that it is Sleepless in Seattle you should not be too surprised. It’s just such wonderfully crafted movie and it makes you believe in love and gives you the hope that there is somebody out there for each and every one of us.