One of my most favourite maxims, which I’ve been repeating over and over recently, as the nights get progressively colder and my ability to pay the heating bill gets progressively fictional, goes like this: you can tell how little regard God has for money when you consider the kind of people He generally bestows it upon. Still, as Christmas advances and I recall the annual horror of facing a festive dinner sans lover, caught up in the cross fire of familial expectation re: breeding, the thought of enough money in the bank account to take January respite in Barbados dulls my contempt for riches. I shall certainly not be donating my lottery millions to charity, should I decide to play and be fortunate enough to win.
But, I do like to think, even though I don’t totally believe in God (and certainly don’t believe any God who might exist is a He), that you could replace the word ‘money’ with the word ‘love’ in the truism above and make it even more true. In fact, as I consider those friends and family upon whom the universe, in its infinite wisdom, has bestowed love, I start to think that the universe might be insane.
Certainly, many of the most vociferous lovers I know are insane, crashing from one affair to another, cheating, sexing, sneaking, weeping. Idealistic love causes more pain than money or drugs, and yet it is not only legal, but actually sold to us by means of social coercion from birth to the grave via fairy tales, every film ever made – from Fatal Attraction to Bridesmaids – and sentimental Sandals ads. I’d think there was a government conspiracy, if I didn’t know about biology.
The problem with love, of course, is not really love itself. The problem with love, like the problem with money, is the people who snatch at it with grabby hands, caring not for the many heavenly pleasures it might offer, only for having more and more of it, which might, eventually, fill up the empty parts of them so that they are whole. Hoarding secret stashes of it away in hotel rooms, second homes and lock-ups off the M5, they rarely step back to examine the cavernous voids growing cancerous spaces in their souls.
It would be far better for the world if the rich people and the careless lovers spent less time hoarding and more time doing the only thing that might really fill up their emptiness: getting their shit together. Taking a good long look inside one’s selfish heart, spending a good few tears on crying it out and good few precious food dollars on therapy is a wiser way to fritter one’s youth than lurching from romance to romance, like a ship in a violent storm; dating in desperation, sloping home the next day with borrowed bus fare and hair that smells of cigarattes and unwashed regret, and failing to reply to follow up text messages. I don’t mean to sound like your Nan here, but it is worth remembering that getting your shit together before embarking on a love affair will ensure solid foundations are laid from which to build a future life; whether that life is spent alone or with a partner or with that loyal Dalmatian you always dreamed of owning is dependent on what you find your shit consists of.
I’ve found that mine is fairly full of empty margarita glasses, neglected puppies and spiky, hand hewn weaponry. No wonder my romantic life’s been floundering these past few years; who knew I needed a veterinary mixologist with pacifist tendencies? Do you think there’re many of those online? I could do with a comrade; just to shield me from the Christmas dinner crossfire. A girl can’t cope with everything all on her own.
But don’t tell anyone I said that.