A ristotle said: “Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.” Plato said: “Love is a serious mental illness.” Somewhere in between the two lies another form of love: the fantasy kind.
The human capacity for self-deception is boundless, especially where matters of the heart are concerned. The more you yearn to fall in love, the more likely you are to contrive romance and concoct meaning out of even the most hopeless love affairs. Yes, sometimes we see mirages in the barren desert of singlehood.
Women, I’m sorry to say, are the worst offenders. We search for signs and symbols where there are none. We engineer coincidences and fabricate synchronicities to prove to ourselves — and anyone else who’ll listen — that this love affair was written in the stars.
“I got a chipper the night before we met and so did he! AND he ordered a spice burger as well!”
It’s a sad state of affairs when you really think about it…
If you’ve been miserably thumbing through Tinder, or circling nightclubs with that unmistakable look of intent spread across your face, then perhaps you need reminding of the many ways you know it’s the real deal:
1. You get pelvic twinkles — otherwise known as butterflies — when you’re near them. It’s as though your bodies are magnetised and being drawn together by some invisible force. Even the most deluded and love-hungry can’t fake this one.
2. You talk about them with anyone who’ll listen. Anyone. Hairdressers, taxi drivers, the postman... Indeed, you’d even talk about him to your ex-boyfriend if that was deemed appropriate.
3. You’re delighted to wake up beside them as opposed to frustrated that they have, once again, taken all the blanket and starfished across the bed.
4. Polygamists may disagree with this one, but you don’t want to be with anyone else. Likewise, you don’t imagine you’re in bed with someone else.
5. There’s a feeling of familiarity and recognition when you look into their eyes. More to the point, you’re capable of looking into their eyes.
6. They're smart. Just as every parent thinks their child is a genius, every smitten lover thinks their sweetheart is gifted or, in some way, special.
7. You are completely understood and you communicate using emotional shorthand. It’s as though you have your own bandwidth, which you can tune into, even when in company. You know that they are thinking exactly what you’re thinking...
and the occasional sly glance only confirms it.
8. You use the word ‘amazing’ to describe them. Even if it was never before part of your vocabulary.
9. You don’t have a list of their shortcomings. Or even a loose plan to update their wardrobe as soon as their birthday rolls around.
10. Your fights are more lively debates than no-holds-barred clashes. As for the smug couples that claim they “never fight”? It’s fairly safe to conclude that they must be heavily medicated.
11. Life gets easier and not just because you’re getting breakfast in bed. It feels like your love could light up a whole room and, as such, everyone you encounter together — shop attendants, waiters, cinema ushers — seem to want to go the extra mile for you. You want to exclaim, “Goodwill to all men!”, even though it’s July.
12. Is there any worse feeling than seeing the look of concealed disappointment on your parents’ faces when you introduce your new partner? Yes, actually, there is: the gut feeling that they’re probably onto something.
13. You don’t use a nickname when talking about him to your friends — Burger Guy, The Doctor, The Midget. It fundamentally smacks of disregard and rarely bodes well.
14. You smile like a big gobshite when you receive a text from them (and you’re past the point of moderating your response so as not to appear too interested).
15. Song lyrics begin to make perfect sense. What’s more, it’s as though they were written especially about you. “Hello! Is it me you’re looking for?” Yes, Lionel, it’s me!
16. Babies And while I don’t want to go all Bryan Adams and suggest that “you can see your unborn children in her eyes”, you can certainly see it happening some day.
17. Speaking of which, your eyes have taken on a slightly glazed and gooey sheen. You look like you’re under the influence and, in many ways, you are.
18. Neither of you are addicts — drink, drugs, gambling, whatever the poison... Addicts either attract other addicts or co-dependents.
19. Their unperfumed skin smells nice... even when it shouldn’t. Scientists say this one has to do with the major histocompatibility complex genes (MHC). Do you like his aftershave more than you like him? It could be telling.
20. You’re not even asking if this could be love. You just know.