True love = the slow burn approach

silver-linings-playbook-jennifer lawrence

Sophie Edelstein’s article titled True Love  got me to my core. She so cleverly observed documented and captured what I believe is the essence of true love. Time. As the old saying goes ‘only fools rush in’.

Be prepared to be shocked, true love is often not what you think it is, at least in the beginning. True love wears many masks. True love lingers quietly in the shadows for years it seems, ever so gently simmering preparing to bloom. True love brews slowly like the world’s best pot of green tea that you’ve never ever had the pleasure of tasting before, and probably will only ever taste once in a lifetime.

Here is Sophie’s article below for you all to enjoy, I hope as much as I did!

This past weekend I attended my best friend’s pre-wedding festivity and it was actually one of the best I’ve ever been to. We were on water, there was vodka, there were favourite people everywhere and there was rap music. However, the thing that made everyone have the most fun (as cheesy as it is) was that the bride and groom to be were in love, happy, and got engaged two weeks ago, so had no time to spiral into wedding-crazy people that you wish you’d never ever met.

It did get me thinking, though. I’m deeply romantic and also weirdly cynical about marriage. Perhaps I’m cynical because I never want to live a life without romance. Ever. Or without adventure. I never want to stop laughing or dreaming. So, I started to do some research. I watched the movies that seemed to me to be the touchstones – for me – of romance. Not cheesy movies like The Notebook (sorry, ladies) but films that spoke to me. As I’m usually experiencing some darkness and existential crisis, this meant I watched Manhattan, Annie Hall, The Royal Tenenbaums, Le Mépris, Death in Venice (I didn’t say I was light and airy) and of course for a modern twist,Silver Linings Playbook. What is more romantic than mental illness?
I jest. But I do think love that cuts through that exterior must be quite something.

The thing about my friends from the weekend is that they balance each other so perfectly – one is more highly pitched than the other, one can cool the other off. No matter what, they’ve got each other. In romantic settings of the past, I’ve experienced something that feels like the electrical cable is singed off and the wires are sparking and singing together in wild abandon. It’s intense, wildly addictive and can paralyse you to the point that you are possessed, having no other option than to pursue this love at the cost of everything else – including yourself. Rather like when Alvy Singer (Woody Allen) met Annie Hall (Diane Keaton). He asked if he could kiss her before dinner – perhaps a lesson in how to seduce when suffering from anxiety – and they dived into their relationship fuelled by passion, only to separate by the end of the film.

Someone said to me a long time ago (a man, obviously – men think like this, women who are ‘ambitious’ might) that they think about girls as ‘long term’ or ‘short term’. I was horrified, but also hadn’t realised you could think about things like that if you were caught up in the moment. As I’ve learnt and often struggled with, sometimes the long game is the strongest, and that’s exactly how my friends on the weekend worked it out. It took them 15 years.

And maybe that’s why, in Manhattan, the relationship between Isaac (Woody Allen) and Tracey (Mariel Hemingway) is meaningful. The last of scene of the movie is pure heartbreak-heady romance. She tells him, “You have to have a little faith in people” – possibly the most romantic line of them all – and we see why, against the odds, they should be together. She balances him and isn’t afraid to play the long game. In fact, she wants to. Patience, so often forgotten in love, actually provides us opportunity to establish foundations with people before we emotionally entangle ourselves, blinded by sex and lust. It was, in that film, contrasted with the electricity of Isaac’s relationship with Mary (Diane Keaton), all high jinx romance that blew up when the wires singed. 
Similarly, one of my favourite scenes of romance is the final scene of Silver Linings Playbook. As cheesy as it is, there is a moment of real pathos when Pat (Bradley Cooper) tells Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) “I love you. I knew it the minute I met you. I’m sorry it took so long for me to catch up. I just got stuck.” I mean, my God. It takes them the entire movie to get there and it’s worth it. It’s worth it in terms of our investment in them too. They don’t rush it, we don’t rush it, and together we’re on a journey together that builds and intensifies and ultimately pays off in creating the most romantic moment I’ve experienced in a while.

So maybe what I realised is that this long game, this less intense more gradual and delicate meander into love, is the one that works and ultimately ends up being the most romantic of all.

Maybe it’s more romantic too to allow those passionate relationships to always have a place. To always have love lost or a love floating around in the world is quite idyllic in a way. Someone you know you can never be with but that you may always love. It’s romantic to be secretly in love with someone, and leave it at that. That idea was famously and beautifully articulated by Margot Tenenbaum (Gwyneth Paltrow) in The Royal Tenenbaums in reference to her adopted brother Richie Tenenbaum (Luke Wilson) and forever more I have thought of that as I walk away from the exposed electrical wires. Or Alvy and Annie. The last scene of them together in Annie Hall, shot with delicate beauty looking out from inside a restaurant (also making us, the audience, feel like a secret observer), is the end of a love, a nostalgic goodbye to someone you can never quite let go of. And it’s fine to have those people in your life, in fact it’s a good thing. It’s nice to look back on things with a dappled, soft light.

Perhaps, though, the most romantic thing of all is someone who is your companion. Someone who can make you laugh. Someone who wants you to dangle from the ceiling in sheer delight and will pass you another drink when you come down. Maybe the idea of nostalgia and unrequited love we see in the movies is embedded with more conflict, and this can in turn summon more emotion immediately. But even in the movies, the long game – the delicate and sometimes unlikely path to love – is the most fulfilling and romantic of them all.

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