THE ISSUE ABOUT LOVE 7*14
ÂŠ Unless otherwise noted, the copyright for all parts (photographs, texts and illustrations) as well as for the whole design is reserved by myself.
is an emotion of strong affection and personal attachment.
LOVE IS MORE THAN THREE WORDS MUMBLED BEFORE BEDTIME
What IT IS
Erich Fried Es ist, was es ist
It is madness says reason It is what it is says love It is unhappiness says caution It is nothing but pain says fear It has no future says insight It is what it is says love It is ridiculous says pride It is foolish says caution It is impossible says experience It is what it is says love.
INFATUATION IS WHEN YOU FIND SOMEBODY WHO IS ABSOLUTELY PERFECT. LOVE IS WHEN YOU REALIZE THAT THEY AREN'T AND IT DOESN'T MATTER.
Love is one of the most important, yet most misunderstood emotions we experience. Human brains are naturally wired for connection with others, and we experience loneliness and rejection as painful threats to survival. Long-time love is not automatic, but takes hard work, unselfishness and a willingness to be vulnerable.
Love is Different than Passion or Lust
Love Is Not a Fixed Quantity
Although physical attraction is an important part of love for most of us, emotional love is different than lust. That is why one-night stands and alcohol-fueled hookups don’t automatically lead to long-term relationships. We manifest lust in motivation/reward areas of our brains, while love lights up the parts of our brain, connected to caring and empathy.
Loving one person a lot does not mean you have less to give to others. In fact the opposite is true. Love is a capacity you can build within yourself with mental concentration, emotional engagement, and caring actions. When we focus on and savor our loving feelings for one person, the internal feelings of satisfaction and connection we experience can motivate us to be more loving in general.
Love Is Both a Momentary Feeling and a Long-Term State of Mind
Love is Not Unconditional
New research shows we experience love in the moment as a state of communion or deep connection. Two hearts beat together as one (there’s something in that stereotype) in a resonant rhythm. In this moment of connection, people in love mirror each other’s facial expressions, gestures, and physiological rhythms. On the other hand, love can also be a lasting mental and emotional state in which we care deeply for the wellbeing of another, feel moved by their pain and motivated to help relieve their suffering or protect them. We also share in the joy when they feel happy.
One of the preconditions for loving feelings is a sense of safety and trust. In order to connect lovingly and empathically, your prefrontal cortex has to send a signal to your amygdala – the brain’s alarm center, to switch off your automatic “fight or flight” response. People with childhood trauma, neglect, abuse, or other experiences that threaten secure attachment, may have a harder time switching off “fight-flight-freeze” and feeling safe enough to love. This reticence can be overcome with therapy or, sometimes, by a partner who repeatedly demonstrates trustworthiness and care.
Building Lasting Love Relationships Takes Work Partners think of each other positively when they are not together, support each other’s personal growth and development and undertake shared experiences in which they can learn and expand themselves.
We Can Actively Increase Our Capacity to Love Mindfulness and compassion meditations increase activity in brain centers connected with empathy and positive emotions, and decrease activation of fear centers, as well as making our brains more interconnected – a brain pattern associated with the secure attachment pattern.
Love Is Not Just In Your Head A large body of research shows that loving connection is essential to long-term physical health. Loneliness and lack of social connections has been shown to shorten our lifespans as much as smoking. For men in particular, marriage improves long-term health and the death of a spouse is a risk factor for earlier death. We don’t know if this is because wives encourage their spouses to eat properly and go to the doctor or if it’s due to the emotional and physical connection.
If We Focus on Love, We Can Enhance It When we deliberately focus our attention on loving feelings and actions towards our loved one, we begin a positive spiral of mutual appreciation, happiness, and reciprocity. Let’s face it, we all want to be thought about, cared for and appreciated. Research on gratitude shows that expressing gratitude in words or actions actually creates positive emotions in the giver as well as the receiver.
Love is Contagious Expressions of caring, compassion, and empathy can inspire these feelings in others. This may be why great leaders, such as the Dalai Lama or Nelson Mandela, inspire us to be our best selves and help their followers calm down. The story is told that Black youth in South Africa, suffering with years of oppressive apartheid rule,” were ready to take up their guns in violent uprising, but Mandela persuaded them that this was not the right way. Instead, he set up the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as a forum for people to confess political crimes and for victims to work towards forgiveness.
Love Is Not Necessarily Forever, But It Can Be Shakespeare famously wrote in Sonnet 116 that “Love is not love that alters when it alteration finds.” We now know that fixed, unchanging love is possible, but not the norm. In fact, some theorists even question the idea of a fixed, unchanging “self.” We are not the same person today as we were 10 years ago. Life experience can alter our biology, thought patterns, and behavior. Therefore, relationships may be challenged when one person’s needs change or people grow in different directions. That being said, researcher Art Aron and colleagues at Stony Brook University have shown, that a minority of people reporting long-term, intense love for their partners look the same as newly in love individuals on brain scans, when thinking about their partners.
LOVE IS NOT A BECAUSE, IT'S A NO MATTER WHAT.
23 most ROMANTIC movies
It’s a Wonderful Life
When Harry Met Sally
Married love is the adventure of a lifetime for James Stewart and Donna Reed.
Convinced that love ruins friendships, pals Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal try not to fall for each other.
Sleepless in Seattle
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Thanks to his young son and a radio call-in show, widowed romantic Tom Hanks finds love with reporter Meg Ryan.
Can struggling party girl Audrey Hepburn and young writer George Peppard afford the price of love in Manhattan?
You’ve Got Mail
Struggling book seller Meg Ryan finds soulmate Tom Hanks online, unaware that he works for the megastore that’s destroying her business.
Snake-hipped dance instructor Patrick Swayze teaches sheltered teen Jennifer Grey some smooth moves. Ghost
The Notebook An elderly man tells his Alzheimer’s stricken wife the story of their courtship: The mystery is which of her two suitors he was.
Patrick Swayze defies death itself to protect grieving girlfriend Demi Moore. Love Actually
Gone With the Wind
The romantic mishaps of a cross-section of characters, from besotted prime minister Hugh Grant to a druggy pop star.
The Civil War pales next to the tempestuous love/hate/love union of Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh.
Sense and Sensibility
Pride & Prejudice
Self-sacrificing Emma Thompson must hide her true feelings for Hugh Grant for the sake of appearances and propriety.
Keira Knightley is the spirited heroine of Jane Austen’s story of love pitted against snobbery and willfulness.
Romeo and Juliet
Teens Romeo and Juliet love each other, but their warring families try to keep them apart.
Stressed-out princess Audrey Hepburn takes a vacation from responsibility with reporter Gregory Peck.
The Bridges of Madison County
Photographer Robert Kincaid wanders into the life of housewife Francesca Johnson, for four days in the 1960s.
Unhappy rich girl Kate Winslet and freespirited pauper Leonardo DiCaprio find a few moments of happiness aboard the doomed Titanic.
Casablanca In WWII-era Morocco, cynic Humphrey Bogart makes the ultimate sacrifice for ex Ingrid Bergman, helping her husband escape Nazis.
Love is the perfect storm that batters star-crossed Heathcliff (Laurence Olivier) and Cathy (Merle Oberon). Annie Hall Woody Allen and Diane Keaton try to merge their neuroses in this NYC love story.
Bridget Jones’s Diary Four Weddings and a Funeral
Smart, quirky, insecure Bridget (Renee Zellweger) braves the dating scene with a little help from her friends and lots of drinks.
The intertwined affairs, crushes and break ups of a closeknit group of friends play out against these titular events.
Workaholic businessman Richard Gere hires an escort, Julia Roberts, but finds the woman of his dreams.
A movie about the secret love affair between two cowboys. It’s a heartbreaker. www.movies.amct.com
LOVE IS HARD. IF IT WAS EASY, IT WOULDN'T MEAN NOTHING THOUGH.
meet someone new
break-up d nloa Dow e her
like each other
talk until sunrise
The anatomy of a relationship
Smile, Laugh, kiss...
EW! discover each other's weird yet lovable habits
Fall in Loooove
10 rules ON HOW
a woman If youâ€™re a guy, here are 10 tips that can make the first date easier.
1. Take charge
We do not want to decide where to go. We will never tell you this, but it is true. Ask us what kind of place and/or food we like; then, pick a place like that. Do not leave it up to us to choose. You are the man. Act like one.
You can’t just ask a bunch of questions, and then not listen to the answers. They call this a “date,” but, really, for women, it’s more like a “test.” If you e-mailed or talked on the phone beforehand, remember what the hell she told you about herself. If you forget, we will feel angry and want to leave. Then you will be sorry.
2. Smile When we arrive, smile. Maybe you are a tough guy. Maybe you are nervous. Maybe you are paralyzed. Either way, smile. Women are strange, exotic, intuitive creatures, and we respond well to positive reinforcement. 3. Mind your body language If your legs are crossed and your hand is over your mouth, we will unconsciously think you are hiding something. If you are sprawled out all over with your legs spread wide and your hands behind your head, we will think you are a slob or generally loose. Sit up straight, lean in closer, and keep your hands where we can see them. 4. Ask questions
7. Act confident We really do not care if you are secretly neurotic, deeply insecure, or mildly nuts. We are interested in how you portray yourself. Act confident, interested, engaged, self-assured, ambitious, and happy. We like that. 8. No pawing allowed If you’re going to score with us at some point, we will let you know. Trust. Occasional physical contact is OK: a hand to the small of the back, a touch of the thigh, a brief holding of the arm while making a point. Do not grab anywhere in the red light zones. If we want your hands there, we will put them there.
This seems obvious, but it’s surprising how many men don’t do this. You know what women like? Attention. Also, kittens, flowers, and cupcakes. Nothing else. If you seem curious about the woman sitting across from you, she will like it. For sure.
Feminism, shmeminism. Take care of the bill without comment. That is what we want. Wave off any offer to go dutch. We lied. We don’t want to pay half.
5. Use flattery, appropriately
10. Say goodnight
If at some point during our meeting, you tell us we are “beautiful,” “attractive,” or “pretty,” we will like you better than if you didn’t. It’s just that simple.
Don’t meander off into the night. Do something. What, that is up to you: a handshake, a hug, a kiss. Do it right, and you might get a second date
9. Please pay
TRUE LOVE HAPPENS ACCIDENTALLY, IN A HEARTBEAT, IN A SINGLE FLASHING, THROBBING MOMENT.
true love NEVER dies nadia / patrick
Happy VALENTINE'S day Hurry! Download your Valentine postcard! (The flowers and the chocolate, you have to buy yourself, though)
I AM NUTS ABOUT YOU
Happy Valentine's day
WOOD YOU BE MINE
Happy Valentine's day
I HAVE BEEN SINGLE FOR A WHILE NOW AND I HAVE TO SAY, IT'S GOING REALLY WELL. LIKE,IT'S WORKING OUT. I THINK I'M THE ONE.
Happy Valentine's day
TONIGHT YOU CAN HAVE: A BIT OF A DRINK A BIT OF A DANCE A BIT OF A KISS ABSOLUTELY ALL OF THE ABOVE
Happy Valentine's day
10 rules ON HOW
a man If youâ€™re a woman, here are 10 tips that can make the first date easier.
6. Be decisive
Don’t put pressure on yourself to be witty, smart or alluring. Don’t get caught up in the version of yourself you wish you were. He wants to date the real you.
Hemming and hawing all night – “I don’t know, what do you think? What do you want to do? It’s your call.” – isn’t attractive. If your date gives you options, pick one.
2. Dress smart
7. Be present
First impressions matter, yes, but so does comfort. Don’t wear heels to a picnic date, for example. Pick an outfit
Show interest in your date and be an active listener. Don’t let it be all about you. (If you talk non-stop when
that makes you feel great, look great, doesn’t reveal too much and is age-appropriate.
you’re nervous, try to be aware of this and intentionally refocus the conversation on him.)
3. Show respect
8. Address the elephant in the room
Show up on time, be polite to the waitstaff, and give your date your undivided attention. (Don’t worry. If you don’t hit it off, you don’t have to date him again. But while you’re on the date, show off your social etiquette skills.)
If something feels awkward, if you wish you could take back something you said, or if your mind just went blank and you can’t remember your mom’s name, speak up. By acknowledging that your brain just failed you, you’ll be breaking the ice and making him more comfortable, too.
4. Turn off your phone Your friends and Twitter followers are not invited on the date. 5. Let him lead If he wants to pay, let him pay. (Note: If you offer to split the bill, be prepared to actually split the bill.) Remember that he’s likely nervous and is trying to figure out firstdate rules, too. You’ll have plenty of time in the future to figure out gender-role stuff if you develop a relationship. In the meantime, respect his wishes to lead. Let him follow up after the date, too.
9. Establish boundaries Be careful to not share too much on a first date. This isn’t an arranged marriage; you’ll have second and third dates to share more. Be clear about physical boundaries if he’s over-eager. Sex on a first date is never, ever a good idea. 10. Don’t drink too much A glass of wine is fine, but try to get to know each other sober. You can always drink on your honeymoon.
What’s YOUR passion? O., 39
My biggest passion is LEGO. I can totally calm down while building fortresses or Star Wars worlds, worlds that I can create myself. I can switch off for a while and find a moment’s peace.
Yoga is all I need. People claim that it has a soothing and stimulating effect and I can totally agree with that.
I guess my biggest love might be music, especially singing. Even though there’s only a handful of people who know this innermost secret, it’s the only thing that makes me feel alive and special and valuable. It definitely is some sort of therapy: it makes me feel better when I’m down and I could almost say it makes me happy!
I really love the time I spend developping my own photos in the darkroom: I enjoy being alone for a while with no one to bother me. Being a mom, I can tell you that these moments are very rare!
I do have a few passions, but the most important one might be my bicycle. On the one hand, I am very proud of what I am still capable of doing despite my age and on the other hand it gives me freedom, a feeling of being alive and pushing my body to its egde.
Music has a calming effect on me. Being on stage gives me a great satisfaction, especially when I see that everything went fine and people were having fun.
Driving around with my MG. It simply makes me happy.
On Oktober 2nd, 2011, my heart made an unexpected out-of-body experience. It has now found a permanent home in a little gnome who answers to the name Loni Marlene (most days) and who reminds me every day why I live and love.
It’s not that one really NEEDS diamonds…
BUT IT NEVER HURTS TO HAVE ONE, RIGHT No valentine date to offer you a shiny gift? Self-reliance is the name of the game: Download the template and go make your own!
d nloa w o D here
How-to 1. Print out the template onto a sheet of paper. Cut around solid line. 2. Using a needle (or compass point) and ruler score along all the dotted lines. 3. Turn over and lightly bend along scored lines. 4. Using a glue-stick glue each flap into place. (I would recommend that you glue one flap and stick in place and then glue the next flap etc). See more at: www.minieco.co.uk
YOU NEVER REALISE HOW MUCH YOU LIKE SOMEONE UNTIL YOU WATCH THEM LIKE SOMEBODY ELSE
Have a look at those lovely couples who managed to stay together for a very long time (up to 63 years of marriage!) And then try and do the same!
BECAUSE WHEN SOMETHING HAPPENS, SHE'S THE PERSON I WANT TO TELL. THE MOST BASIC INDICATOR OF LOVE. DAVID LEVITHAN
DIFFERENCE between and
like, in love to love
is the same
for now FOR A WHILE
ad o l n Dow e her
29 Songs love
17. Etta James
18. The Supremes
19. Joni Mitchell
Just the way you are
Time after time
Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terell
21. Joe Cocker
Ain’t no mountain high enough
Wouldn’t it be nice
23. Chris Isaak
I will always love you
24. Meat Loaf
Have I told you lately
Baby love A case of you Somebody to love You are so beautiful More than words Wicked games I’d Do Anything For Love
9. The Pretenders
25. Bonnie Tyler
Total Eclipse Of The Heart
I’ll stand by you
10. Stevie Wonder
26. Bon Iver
You are the sunshine of my life
I Can’t Make You Love Me
11. Goo Goo Dolls
27. Sinead O’Connor
12. Barry White
28. The Police
The first, the last, my everything
Nothing Compares 2 U Every breath you take
13. Nat King Cole
29. Skunk Anansie
14. The Cure
15. Pink FLoyd
Wish you were here
With or without you
n to e t s i L plete m o the c list on play cks 8tra
NEVER LOVE ANYONE WHO TREATS YOU LIKE YOU'RE ORDINARY
shrink All is not well in the life of Sara Moris. Her friends are in constant catfight mode, her dates end in panic attacks, her promotion went to somebody else and suddenly the only men she meets, seem to be “older”... Nothing a good therapist couldn’t fix in about an hour’s session or two. If only she just could get herself to make an appointment instead of writing notes to an imaginary doc! A serialized novel, part 5 the simps Follow the simps on twitter
Click here to read up on Sara’s previous adventures in the last editions of selfish. magazine! Hi doc. Before you despair over my evidently hopeless situation of finding an expert on all things PTSD, I should probably give you the allclear. You’ll understand why quite soon. Yesterday was indeed exceptionally nasty. I left messages on both Lisa and Janine’s cells. None of them called me back and I felt quite dreadful about what happened. I actually felt that miserable, that I couldn’t even enjoy my unexpected free lunchtime. Sylvie had called to postpone our Friday lunch to Friday night cocktails. Usually, this would have sent ripples of pure ecstasy through my body for I was awarded an extra shopping opportunity. One I could definitely use after marriagitis. Yes? No? Too medical a term for what happened at the Burger place yesterday? Or just right? Okay, let’s write it down as a working title and get back to it later. Although to be fair, my spoiled lunch hour might also have had something to do with Stranger Danger. See that’s what I call the guy that repeatedly snatches my table at the Coffee lounge. I realize it doesn’t necessarily qualify as my table, but I go there regularly after various shopping and other leisure activities and four out of five times I sit at that table.
are these bestsellers rather a clever ruse to get people hooked on the drama and therefore constitute an ideal gate-way drug to the addiction that is therapy? Anyhow, sitting at that table allows for the one or the other sometimes even lengthier glance at one of the books without feeling like I have to make a statement about myself or draw too much attention at the register. It will therefore not come as a surprise to you that Stranger Danger annoys me big time. What’s even more annoying about him is his looks. I swear he looks like Javier Bardem’s cousin or like Dean Jeffrey Morgan’s brother. The problem with that is that I can’t give Dean Jeffrey Morgan’s sibling attitude and tell him to leave my table alone. I mean what if he tells his brother? Unthinkable! After work and back at my place I plotted how to best address the various matters at hand with Sylvie over strawberry margaritas without her having to resort repeatedly to the phrase “I told you so” when my doorbell rang. I instantly knew it couldn’t have been Sylvie, because that meant that she was early and that would have been a glorious first in this millennium.
The main reason this exact table is MY table is because of the view over the Hamilius square and the neighboring Royal-Hamilius construction site. Should you adore people watching as much as the next person, you know nothing is better than a good view of people who don’t realize they’re being watched.
Of all my friends Sylvie Vries is the one I’ve known the longest. We met when I first came to Luxembourg and were inseparable for many, many years. To me she used to be this beautiful, fun, clever and charming girl. She always knows exactly what she wants and knows almost as often how to get it. She grew up at her grandmother’s and due to my mom’s frequent double shifts at the hospital I spent a lot of time at their place. We conned half the neighborhood into believing that we really were sisters, that my mother was our mother and that her grandmother was our grandmother. Even with all my numerous cousins she is the closest thing I ever had resembling to a sibling.
Not to mention, that MY table is right next to the self help book section. You know the embarrassing “How to become a more confident person” or “He doesn’t love me and I don’t care” self help book section. Side bar question for you doc: Do these books make it more difficult for you to get new clients because people can now heal themselves with the advice of published therapists or
Then we went to high school. Different schools. We met boys we both liked, developed tastes and opinions none of us liked in the other and so we grew apart. To be honest, Sylvie used to be the stronger person in our friendship. As a kid, I would like the toys and games she liked. As a teenager I would buy the clothes and see the TV series she fancied. All in all I just agreed with her way too much.
Until there was this one boy. This is hardly the moment nor the place to warm this long-forgotten story up, but let’s just say that this was the moment I started to see her with different eyes. I had known her well enough to be aware of every single not so charming character trait: the occasional selfishness, the urge to be in the centre of attention and the intolerance of everything and everybody she didn’t agree with. I exaggerate, but you see I really liked that one boy. She apologized and I soon forgave her but things have never been exactly the same. I still adore her, but the worshipping ended abruptly.
When I opened the door I went into instant crisis mode because before me stood Janine and she was as pale as vampire who had gone cold turkey. Her grandmother was a sweet elderly lady who meant only the best but who had a tough time dealing with Sylvie’s – let’s call it, say – free spirit. I loved her dearly. Sylvie’s grandmother confirmed my feelings for her were mutual when she left me one of the apartments in the building she inherited from her own grandmother.
support and resources the program was to be temporarily interrupted.” She said using air quotes to illustrate these weren’t her words. “We have until the end of the year to finish our reports and all the paperwork so our researches can be resumed at a later date…” Her voice croaked a little bit “… and that’s that.” In case you guessed Finesteen to be her boss, you guessed correctly. She was calm, composed even but I could see that she had been crying. I was looking for something smart to say but I couldn’t come up with anything good so I said, “I’m sorry Janine. I really am.” I was about to offer her a strong drink when the doorbell rang again. “I was expecting Sylvie.” I said apologetically when her wounded eyes locked into mine inquiringly. I took a deep breath before opening the door determined to send Sylvie home or to ask her to come back later no matter the size of the scene she was going to produce. Only it wasn’t Sylvie! “I slept with him!” Lisa cried out under tears. “I slept with him and the bastard’s already married!”
Sylvie inherited the building itself, as you might already have suspected. The financial freedom only enabled her further. She quit her job at an art gallery and has considered herself to be an independent artist ever since. To be fair, she sold a few paintings and scored quite decent reviews from recognized art critics.
“Oh honey!” I hugged her while she wept only harder. Suddenly her body stiffened. She must have noticed Janine who came closer to see what was going on. When I renovated my apartment, I thought that an open floor plan was a good idea. At that moment I wasn’t so sure anymore. The world knew I couldn’t deal with another major dispute in less than 48 hours and actual walls may have prevented that.
When I opened the door I went into instant crisis mode because before me stood Janine and she was as pale as vampire who had gone cold turkey.
“Can you ask her to leave?” Lisa asked.
“I was fired today!” was all she said, before she stormed into the apartment leaving me speechless by the door. Describing Janine as a devoted pharmaceutical researcher was putting it mildly. Her job was her life and her life was her job. “What happened?” I asked once I had maneuvered her to the couch. “At 5 pm sharp, Finesteen cited us in the meeting room to announce that due to a lack of financial
“I’m sorry honey I can’t. Janine lost her job today!” I replied. “But … she was healing cancer! They can’t fire her!!” I couldn’t help myself I had to smile. I didn’t know what evil spirit had taken possession of her body just the day before but this person here was my friend. My real friend. Whatever happened to her these last days, she still had the biggest heart on the planet and she was still constantly fighting any injustice she laid eyes on in that unique naïve way that was hers.
I was about to close the door when Sylvie showed up at the doorstep loaded with grocery bags. “Looks like I missed out on one hell of a party even though I’m in charge of drinks!” she stated dryly while entering the apartment ignoring the three of us. Closing the door with her foot, she said “You mind?” and unloaded half of her shopping bags on Janine before she headed straight into the kitchen. That’s when I felt the blood circulate faster in my body again. Like on the bathroom rug. The neurons in my brain seemed to be traveling at light speed yet not a single one was able to leave my brain or conclude in a helpful thought. I told myself that there was absolutely no need to panic and every need to breathe. Everything will be just fine. So, all three of them were gathered in my kitchen, but that didn’t necessarily mean we were headed towards yet another crisis. That’s when I consciously noticed there were in a kitchen. A room with knives and other sharp instruments. I thought about calling 112. Just in case. But I didn’t think they’d appreciate my proactive thinking. It didn’t take long. Lisa was violently squeezing the kitchen roll, desperately trying to regain her composure. Janine watched Sylvie unwrapping the different supplies then rose to fetch a bottle of cointreau from my bar and put it next to the strawberries, the rum and the lemon juice. “We won’t be needing that” informed Sylvie condescendingly and moved the bottle out of reach. Before Janine could retort anything Lisa croaked “Wait, you’re not adding alcohol right?” And off they were - worse than a canister of combustible in the open sun - discussing the way I was usually preparing that particular drink. Sara always does that. She would never do this, etc. It would have been appropriate to step in at some point and explain cocktailgate, but it was useless anyway so I focused on adding oxygen to my blood flow and I waited for them to get all worked up and leave one by one blaming me for the worst night of their life. Well, to be fair their night seemed already pretty bad, so all they could blame me for was abandoning them during the worst night of their life.
Thinking this, my ears buzzed again and my throat tightened. It felt like someone was sitting on my chest. And although I believed I knew better I did something I stopped doing a long time ago: I intervened. “Stop it. STOP. IT. The reason why you can’t agree on how to prepare this particular drink is because I am preparing it in three different ways for each of you. No alcohol for Lisa because it alters perception and God wants us to have a clear head or something… No grenadine or added sugar for Janine because of the hidden calories and no cointreau but two times the rum for Sylvie because of the “disgusting” orange flavor. And this is where it ends. I am not mutilating any more drinks for you. You either drink them my way or you don’t drink them at all. And before you even think of fighting about the music, I feel like Frank Sinatra today so don’t you dare touching the stereo!” Silence. Wow, where did that come from? Was I developing suicidal behavior? Symptom number six in the making? I so need to order the complete Dr House box set to analyze my mental status more thoroughly. No reason to worry doc, this is not exactly a competition. Mind you, he’s not real. Also I don’t believe he specializes in problems of the mind.
The neurons in my brain seemed to be traveling at light speed yet not a single one was able to leave my brain or conclude in a helpful thought. Continued silence. Had I been too harsh on them? Is there a “too harsh” in cocktailgate situations? None of them did so much as move until I started to mix the different ingredients my way praying for a quick deescalation. It worked. They got installed on different ends of the couch each forlorn in thought and waited for me to put a drink in their hand. “So, who wants to start?” I began. “Lisa?” “Why me?” she retorted grudgingly.
“Because you look the worst,” stated Janine quietly. Lisa gave her drink a long stare, before she finally quaffed it and leaned back on the couch with her eyes closed and the words “This is very good actually!”. She took a deep breath and with her eyes still closed, the words just suddenly seemed to pour out of her. And this doc was worth the while, but I’m sure you’ll forgive me for making it just a little shorter. Lisa met Doug last Saturday. This much we knew already. The preacher introduced them. Nice start to any fairytale. Unfortunately the preacher failed to introduce him as a married man. This is where the fairytale should have ended abruptly. Anyway, it was this church event she was all over her head in to prepare and he was flattering her because of all her good altruistic work. On Sunday, he showed up at church for the service – alone again – and the following picnic. They had an overwhelmingly romantic walk in the park involving ice cream. And they had profound discussions. About euthanasia among others. I mean who talks about euthanasia on their first date? Anyhow, at some point Woody Allen’s Vicky Christina Barcelona came up and they decided to go see it that same night at the Cinémathèque. They had “after-movie drinks” and the conversation revolved around Lisa’s last relationship aka “the Mark disaster” and her resolution to remain “pure” until her wedding night. Agreed, their first date might have been a long one, but what about good old small talk? This wonderfully first-date-appropriate art of conversation was obviously completely neglected in this case. Where was I, I mean she, I mean the story? Unless of course you want to hear about the “the Mark disaster” first? Ok, well here is a word of explanation, or two. Mark was Lisa’s only boyfriend worth mentioning this far. They dated for nearly a year until things went crazy. He finally wanted more intimacy in their relationship, meaning sex. She agreed and believed that meant they were engaged. He thought that a couple couldn’t get married after only one year of dating. She thought that meant he didn’t love her enough. Huge dilemma. Historic fights. The whole thing lasted two long months and three even longer weeks. When I finally thought it was over and had remunerated myself with a gorgeous pair of miu-
miu’s for being such a good friend, he showed up in her classroom suddenly willing to get engaged for the time being if she was willing to sleep with him before marriage and without setting a date in the near future. In a very long night involving virgin caipirhinias – how very falsely ironic in retrospect – Lisa and I debated the pros and cons and the next morning she headed to his apartment to tell him she agreed to his terms. Only Mark had been to a bachelor party the night before. A party with loads of alcohol and strippers. In Mark’s defense – I always rather liked him – I need to add that he honestly believed she valued her principles higher than his love for her and was convinced it was completely over. So he did the first thing on his wretched mind and had rebound sex with one of the strippers. Unfortunately for him, he chose a stripper with light sleep and no manners who didn’t mind answering the door in nothing but a g-string. Merely 12 hours later, I had the irresistible urge to buy myself another pair of miumiu’s. Need I say more?
Was I developing suicidal behavior? I so need to order the complete Dr House box set to analyze my mental status more thoroughly. I have to confess that I somehow understood the guy. Of course I never mentioned this to Lisa. I’m a good friend. And good friends don’t have diverging opinions when it comes to cheating boyfriends. That’s just the way things are. After Saturday and Sunday, there is Monday and there was date number two for Lisa and Doug. I am not going to comment the fact that their second date – a candle light dinner by the way - took place on a Monday! It would simply take too long. And on that date he said ten magical words that when you take a closer look meant nothing at all: “I think I might be falling in love with you!” Lisa didn’t hear the “I think” and she didn’t hear the “I might”. All she heard was the “falling in love” bit. And if Lisa is in love with anything it’s being in love with being in love. Apparently they spent the night together in bed talking and dreaming about their future and when they woke up he asked her to marry him.
“I was so blissfully happy. I was engaged to be married to a wonderful man. All my dreams had come true. All the waiting and all my self-doubt and all the teasing I had to put up with over the years, it was all worth it. I ... I felt like walking on clouds for the rest of the day.” Here she stopped and gazed into space. I could tell that she needed a moment, so I said nothing. Just like Janine and Sylvie. They didn’t say anything either. Now, this was weird because these two usually always have strong opinions they share in the most inconsiderate and rarely low-key ways. But hey, I didn’t mind. Or, maybe it was the teasing part that had shut them up. Both of them had been fervent teasers when it had come to Lisa’s wish of remaining a virgin until her wedding night. Yet another reason why they just couldn’t get along. Did they look guilty? I couldn’t tell. They looked miserable. But I probably did too, after all this is a miserable story. “He must have planned it all along. He asked me to marry him one day, so he could have sex with me the following day. I didn’t really think about it. I felt so comfortable and all fell in place so … naturally. I didn’t think about anything until it was over. And then I completely freaked. I trembled. I couldn’t breathe properly. I started to cry. I … and he … he was just so calm and so cool. He was checking the messages on his phone like nothing happened!!” Yup, that’s what a panic feels like. Just experienced it a mere fifteen minutes before that. “That fucking cold-blooded bastard!” I most certainly thought something like this but I was way too speechless to say anything. No, this extremely accurate character description was offered to us by Sylvie. Lisa’s head bounced up at this and something similar to gratitude reflected momentarily in her eyes. Meanwhile Janine was interested in something else. “Was this when you decided to get married at the end of the week?” “Yes, well I decided and he agreed and I was relieved. I calmed down a little. But it didn’t take long until he said he had to leave because of some emergency at the hospital. And I haven’t heard from him since!” I spare you the “what”s and the “how”s and the “what happened”s and all the general confused uproar and get back to the story instead. After Lisa had slept with Doug and had therefore decided to schedule the wedding for the upcoming weekend, she plunged into preparations including calling her par-
ents whom she fortunately couldn’t get on the phone with and crashing my Thursday lunch with Janine at the Burger place. And now the million-dollar question: Whom else did she call? Exactly! Her priest. Whom else does a highly methodist girl, who’s just lost her virginity in a presumably inappropriate way and plans to undo just that with a church wedding, call? And so fell the highly ungrateful task to unveil her lover’s marital status upon Father Erwin. Of course, Lisa didn’t believe him at first. She had to see for herself. As kindergarten teachers don’t work on Thursday afternoons, she borrowed her brother’s car, waited for him in front of the hospital and followed him home where a definitely pregnant woman awaited him with a kiss. At that, every ordinary girl would have either left to crawl into some dark hole to perish woefully or rang the doorbell to make a scene as big as a volcano in full eruption. Not Lisa. No, Lisa waited telling herself over and over again that the pregnant woman must be his sister or some other female in his family or entourage who needed intense but momentary assistance. She followed the woman, whom she believed to be many things but under no circumstances Doug’s wife, to the local grocery store and approached her in light conversation. You know the “Are you new in the neighborhood?” kind. And it turned out that Mrs Doug Witmer was not only new in the district, she was also eight months pregnant and had just moved to Luxembourg with her doctor husband. “And this was when you hurried back to the hospital to rip his balls off and put them through a meat grinder?” Again, even though this was my exact thought, someone else stated it first. Surprisingly, this someone was Janine. If I hadn’t been drinking so much Margaritas I could have come to the conclusion that my friends were actually getting along. Yeah, these drinks were definitely stronger than I intended them to be.
“When in doubt, always blame the alcohol. If it does’t solve your problem, it’ll sure help create one.” “I went back to the hospital to confront him. But I couldn’t. When I saw him I froze and I …”. More and
more tears run down her face and the innocent kitchen roll was in for another round of domestic ill treatment. “… came here instead.”
“Can we please change the subject? I don’t want to talk about him anymore. I prefer to hear about Janine now.”
“You want a cigarette?” offered Sylvie suddenly. I was sure, that that was it. No need to worry about choosing a doctor because these notes would never see the light of day. Lisa might have been a little off for she confessed her intimate adventure to three people, two of whom she doesn’t approve of and worse doesn’t even really know, but she would most certainly not tolerate this evident disrespect of her values and principles one of which clearly condemns smoking.
“There isn’t much to tell really” began Janine “You know I work … worked for an independent facility? Well, most of our investors cancelled their financial support. No money, no program. No program, no job.”
“No! But thank you. It was sweet of you to ask.” Believe me, I was as stunned to hear this retort as you probably are right this instant. Lisa did in all seriousness smile at Sylvie for offering her nicotine. Something’s wrong. Something is very, very wrong indeed. I briefly wondered wether or not I was hallucinating. I also considered being in the middle of an extremely weird nightmare, having been mysteriously transported to an alternate universe or aliens imitating human life forms to have invaded the planet. Of course, the more obvious solution at hand was to expect this ill harmony to be the prelude to the biggest fight I have ever had the misfortune of witnessing. I must tell you doc, I still hope it isn’t that. Believe me, when I tell you that nobody needs a re-enactment of the peristyle-incident. Then I thought of the alcohol. Temporarily relieved, I remembered Grandpa’s motto in life “When in doubt, always blame the alcohol. If it does’t solve your problem, it’ll sure help create one.” Why I hadn’t thought of it earlier was beyond me. It must gave been the alcohol speaking, or smiling in this case. And tomorrow everything will be the same again only that Lisa will swear never to touch this devilish substance that nearly made her become friends with Sylvie and Janine ever again.
“I am truly sorry Janine. I know what this job must have meant to you.” Said Lisa and leaned over to Janine to rub her arm in support. “What I don’t understand is how this could have happened. Not when you were so close to finishing that molecule mix thingy of yours? This is as irresponsible as it is stupid. There must be somebody who can see the break through potential of your research and the big money that comes with it…” I tried to reassure her. It is true that Janine had feared this moment since the government shutdown in the States earlier this month and hasn’t stopped talking about it. I didn’t even so much as listen to her properly because I was convinced she was exaggerating. I mean, come on, she’s a genius. And I’m not saying this because I’m her friend. I’m merely quoting several trade journals. There’s that and then there’s the fact that she was handpicked by Prof Dr Finesteen himself. And hey, the man was awarded the Nobel Prize. One day he showed up at the crappy lab she used to work for to meet her in person and hire her. “Somebody did see… ” was the mysterious answer and a spectacular turn of events that lead us directly to story number two. I hope you don’t have plans for later doc because the tale of this classic “coup de théâtre” needs to be told. …to be continued
Follow all of Sara’s notes to her shrink, as selfish. will publish them chapter by chapter as a serialized novel in the next editions.
THERE IS NOTHING RATIONAL ABOUT LOVE. LOVE STUTTERS WHEN IT GETS NERVOUS, LOVE TRIPS OVER ITS OWN SHOELACES. LOVE IS CLUMSY, AND MY HEART REFUSES TO WEAR A HELMET. RUDY FRANCISCO
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Marry someone who lets you have a bite of their brownie, even when you said you weren’t hungry. Marry someone who laughs at the same things you do. Marry someone who kisses your nose on a cold day. Marry someone who you can watch stupid movies with. Marry someone who you can tell everything to. Marry someone who isn’t afraid or embarrassed to hold your hand in public. Marry someone who you can spend the day in Ikea with without feeling stressed. Marry someone who wraps you up inside their coat in the winter. Marry someone who accepts your fears and phobias. Marry someone who gives you butterflies every time you hear their key in the door. Marry someone who you don’t always have to shave your legs for. Marry someone who accepts you all day every day, even when you don’t look or feel your best. Marry someone who puts three sugars in your tea, despite telling them “just the two”. Marry someone who doesn’t judge you when you eat your body weight in cookies. Marry someone who doesn’t make you want to check your phone, because you know they will reply. Marry someone who waits with you to get on the train. Marry someone who understands that you need to be alone sometimes. Marry someone who gets on well with your parents and isn’t uptight about family events. Marry someone who calms you down when you get mad about stupid stuff, and never tells you it’s “only stupid stuff”. Marry someone who makes you want to be a better person. Marry someone who makes you laugh. Marry someone who you love. Marry your soulmate, your lover, your best friend.
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