Don’t Ask Me Howard?!

Today sweethearts around the globe will drink a toast to mark a special day for the patron saint of love……. No, it’s not actress Margot Robbie’s birthday (I don’t think anyway!), I’m alluding to the perennial mid-February love fest which goes under the moniker of St Valentine’s Day.

Throughout the world, enamoured couples will make affectionate gestures like the sending of red roses, chocolates, sensual underwear and fragrances, accompanied by cards containing soliloquys of undying love.

In some instances these cardboard clad salutations are the sentiments of a known suitor, smitten by their fragrant beau. On occasion the admirer could be of the clandestine variety, leaving the recipient of the greeting pondering the identity of a secret admirer and if they need to take steps against this stalker.

Either way, most will hold the same aspirations of romantically uttering those three magic words to their paramour –  “Brace yourself, love!”



Evidently the priest Valentine was put to death in 3rd century Rome for undertaking marriage ceremonies against the express wishes of emperor Claudius II. Cynics, though, claim the priest’s ultimate sacrifice is more likely to be consequential of a terse admonishment of the emperors daughter Eros. Enraging Claudius when admonishing her with the order “Will you put that bloody bow and arrow down!!….. You’ll have somebodies eye out!!”

There’s a school of thought which cites love doesn’t exist. Claiming those eliciting romantic prose are ordinarily driven by agendas purely motivated from self-interest, with a solitary ultimate goal of fulfilling a primal urge.

Examples of these primitive compulsions of ‘buttering up’ an amour, the weakening a suitors resolve against acquiring a Sky Sports subscription; or diminishing the ear ache they’ll get for attending the lap dancing club on Frank’s stag night in April.

Footnote – When I say ‘buttering up’ I’m referring to the act of currying favour; not making veiled reference to a particularly lewd act in the Marlon Brando movie Last Tango in Paris!

In the 1980s, British pop singer Howard Jones posed the question “What is love?” …… I don’t know why he asked me, after all I was a 17 year old kid with little experience in the matter. I politely told him to ask my mate Chuffers who’d be able to provide him with greater details of workings of the heart…… Chuffers’ dad was a cardiologist!

Seriously, though, 30+ years hence I’m still no nearer being able to answer Howard’s question. What is love, indeed? From my perspective, I’m not sure there is a definitive answer which can eruditely explain this enigmatic locution.

If I had to describe it personally, I’d probably declare it as an emotion that, like other conscious experiences, is intermittent of arrival and varying of longevity……. I don’t know, though, in the context in which to describe the word ‘it’.

That being said, I’m not overly bothered I can’t eloquently explain what constitutes love. After all, I read somewhere over the weekend it was misguided to beat yourself up when you can’t find answers to all existential questions…… If nothing else, this advice will take the pressure off me during the local pub quiz.

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