Oasis Magazine Articles

Love is...

By Wendy Williams

January 23, 2013

Shakespeare wrote “Love is a spirit all compact of fire.” Heady stuff, isn’t it?

The Beatles, and approximately 98% of all musicians in the meantime, sing about it. If you search on Amazon for books about it, there are over 200,000 paperbacks alone with the word ‘love’ somewhere on the front cover. Love sells! Some of the titles tell us that love can be found, mastered, and grown like an exotic plant in a greenhouse. The book jackets sizzle with scantilly clad damsels, entangled in the muscley arms of long-haired, swash-buckling, shirtless heros. Without even reading the books in the self-help section, the titles alone will tell you that it is vastly important to love yourself! Love is a language, love is secretive – which makes me think that the language is not always well understood – love is tough, love is a promise, you deserve love and “Elmo Loves You”. And did you know that men love b*****s?! 

With Valentine’s Day upon us, however, and visions of Cupid dancing across the Google homepage, not to mention the re-runs of RomCom classics showing back-to-back on TV, the Oasis editor wanted to know love’s deeper psychosocial meaning. Yes, love defines your life and changes you, but what is love, really? 

Love-ology 101

If you ask around or google around or even, gasp, look in a dictionary, what becomes evident very quickly is that love, both as a noun and a verb, is about “strong emotions” yet it is “impossible to define”, it has many shapes, it is endless (and therefore has no shape?), it is ambiguous, it defies description, it is transformational and it is a “never ending story of an open book”. Daunting indeed. 

There are the expected romanticised definitions of love, you know the “love is patient, love is kind” variety, the “never having to say you’re sorry” type (to which I disagree, it just sounds like bad manners). Then there are the more academic assortments of romantic, platonic and filial or family love. And of course there is the confusion between love and lust, you know, the chemistry – or is it physics? – of carnal, mind-blowing, neighbour-waking sex, or at least the pursuit of it. One friend, whose husband recently ditched her for a younger, slimmer version of herself, claimed that “love is a four-letter word”. Ouch. But it does demonstrate the power of love to break, and embitter, the human heart, at least temporarily. Love can also be intertwined with honour, respect and worship such as love of God, the Queen and Manchester United (or Chelsea). There are also more diluted forms of love that mix with other human emotions such as adoration of, addiction to and fervor for, followed sequentially, at least in my case, by kittens, chocolate and black, patent high-heels. And I like the fact that you can fall in love, instantly even, like falling from the sky, but it takes a long time, and usually an expensive divorce lawyer, to fall out of love. 

  Love Map

Everyone has their own personal definition of love, loving and being loved. And even though the feeling of love and the act of loving are universal concepts, love is also culturally determined. So how you experience love and express love will depend on and be influenced by your national culture, family heritage and your own personal love map, so to speak. Therefore love can be “a spirit all compact of fire”, but also just a big, sloppy bear hug, a cute little pigtail tug, or even silently passing the plate with the biggest piece of cake across the table to the one you love. So love is about strong emotions and it does come in many shapes, endless shapes I guess, and it is rather a “never ending story of an open book”. In the myriad of definitions and concepts and love maps, however, there is one idea that I thought would ring true for all the multicultural, expat, globalised, jetsetting Oasis readers: Love is the home you find in someone. Sigh. 

Whether you married the boy/girl next door or the international mystery man/woman of your dreams, whether your culture, language, race or religion are identical or a global mix and match, love is your common homeland. Regardless of geography and location, whether you live in Egypt just for now or forever, love is the place that you are always together. Once again, love is the home you find in someone. Once again, sigh…

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