One Easter holiday I was listening to the radio and the disk jockey was playing love song requests. Listeners could also ring in and give their best definition of love. When a record had finished the dude would read them out. Some definitions were average such as, “When your dog licks your face when you come home, even though you’ve left them alone all day,” or “The completion of yourself” or “Making yourself vulnerable to someone knowing that they may betray you.” There were some cynical ones like “Nature’s way of tricking people into reproducing,” and “A temporary insanity curable by marriage.”
The most memorable one was “Love is an ultimate compatibility where the only enemy is time.” Years have passed since that programme but I can still remember it. It’s a pity I don’t know what they’re talking about (when I grow up I’ll do all that drinking, smoking and loving stuff.)
I’m afraid I’m a little cynical about it all and wonder if its roots are in self-protection and fear of loneliness. I’ve tried to read up about how love evolved but still don’t know. The most recent book I read put forward the opinion that love grew out of the need to survive. About 60 million years ago our primate ancestors were emotionless animals that were mainly cannibals, murderers and rapists (a bit sinister but probably accurate.) Over millions of years they found life and lifespan improved if they lived, hunted and protected themselves together. This allowed males to spend more time raising the babies and the bonds between them and the mothers grew. As craniums and brains grew larger sections evolved that capable of love. Whether this is accurate I don’t know but it sounds quite plausible. I read that love has only evolved in the last 200,000 years so, all in all, it’s quite a new thing. I love eating chips and curry and a buttered muffin while watching old films.
Here is a painting of a couple kissing, done quickly in a few colours in broad naive brush strokes. Painting human beings so close up is difficult; unless you’re Lucien Freud and can paint skin accurately it’s probably best to do a rough version and let the viewer’s brain fill in the blanks of your failings.
About to trim some fat off this arm…