17 years later: Love is ……

This Moment    +  17 years
This Moment + 17 years…

Public displays of affection are for those incapable of expressing love privately. Without exception my only reaction to having a bouquet of flowers delivered to my office is thinking ‘how will I get that lot home on the bus’ followed by ‘I wonder if it would be inappropriate to just leave them here’.

There was a period of time when my now husband would send me flowers after a fight, not to make up, but just so that I would have to carry them from the bus stop up our 4 flights of stairs. There is nothing quite like floral revenge.

I dread when it rolls around to valentines. After dating my husband for 17 years, a plastic covered rose or a sentimentally challenged card is not my idea of romance. For the first decade it was fine, I treasured cards and presents in a shoe box of memories. But then we moved house for the umpteenth time and I lost the box somewhere on the N3. So now I have 3 real and about 10 replica cards (showing what I think he might have written on the cards, from memory) just in case he ever looks. Or in case I need to prove that what a loving and sentimental wife I am. Although the only time I can think when I would need to prove that would be in a divorce court where some sort of payment was being worked out. So basically I am collecting loving memories from him to me so I can shove them up his ass later. Love isn’t dead, it’s busy collecting Exhibit A for a jury of its peers.

A box of chocolates doesn’t cut it either. This is not wartime Germany. If I want chocolates, I’ll add them to the supermarket shop, and a nice man with a van will deliver them to my door and then leave so I can eat them. No sharing. As Charlie Sheen says you pay the pros to leave.

It’s not that easy in the other direction either. I can’t imagine my husband real wants another aftershave that could melt through metal. Or my other go-to a CD (do they even make them anymore?!).

The last time I offered him :

Roses are Red, Violets are Blue,

Here is a free album, it’s from U2

He came back with

Roses are Red, Violets are Blue,

There is nothing as romantic as a day without you (two)

(he isn’t as good at rhyming as I am, but then I’ve got mad skills)

Now, I can see you thinking that we are veering back towards the divorce court here, but let me put this into context: we have a child.

Really if you are a parent it’s all I have to say on the matter for you to get it, but if you are not let me explain. Since our son was born the one commodity neither of us can procure for ourselves is time alone. Like blood, it cannot be borrowed or stolen, it has to be given. If one of us wants to be alone, the other has to agree to mind our son.

These days nobody seems as privileged to me as someone who causally mentions that they rolled out of bed around 12pm on Saturday and went into town for some breakfast and then to a movie. Forget the Porsche driving twats, or rings the size of tumors, the only status envy I have is for people who haven’t noticed that they spent 10 hours alone this week re-watching West Wing.

The other day my mother gave us both the most generous gift that we can receive right now – she offered to take our son overnight. We went out for dinner to a fancy restaurant at night, for the first time in seven months. This simple act we had taken so much for granted when we were just a two, was so precious to us now. We drank, we laughed, we were reminded that we are still very much in love, and on top of that nobody had to do the night feed. For us at the moment this is a gift beyond compare.

So now, as it rolls around to Valentines, and then into my birthday, and my husband inevitably asks ‘Oh love of my life, oh star that lights my sky, what thing can I bestow upon you as evidence of my eternal love and devotion’ (yup, he really talks like this) I have my answer ready: ‘Time, my sweet, a little bit of time’.


A Singleton’s take

In the run up to Valentines I thought we would reach out to our favourite single lady: Maire, to see if she had any sage words about surviving this annual treat. Here is what she offered …..

 A Singleton's Take

Are you single? Are you crying every day because your life has no meaning without someone else to validate it? Do you fear family occasions, such as weddings? Are you wondering how you will fill the void of life until death? Is your biological clock whacking you in the face every morning? Are you worried that you’re becoming a burnt out husk with zero capacity for love? Do you feel like you need the special tax breaks that come with being married? Are you terrified of being alone for ever?

Well fear not, I’m a singleness expert and I’m here to help.

Worried about dying alone?

Well doesn’t everyone die alone? Unless you’ve entered into some sort of death-pact with someone. And if you have, more power to you! Marriage and romantic partnership can’t hold a candle to the commitment of a death pact!

Worried about dying and not being found for days/eaten by cats?

Look, you’ll be dead. This is important, because it will mean you won’t have to clean the mess up. And let’s face it, it’s better than worrying about who will feed you cats. You’ll be feeding your cats. If you really don’t want to be eaten by cats, don’t get cats. The only reason cats don’t eat you while alive is that you’re bigger than them… Do you have a cat now? Do you wonder if it’s thinking about eating your delicious flesh? I promise you that it absolutely is.

What if I’m unlovable?

If you’re unlovable well then you’re better off single. If you were unlovable and in a relationship that’d be really crap. Your cheeky smile after you stinked up the bathroom would have no effect. And there’d be nothing to mitigate the annoying sounds you make while you sleep. In short you’d probably end up murdered. Do you want to be murdered?

What about love?

I’m going to be serious here for a minute. Romantic love is not the only form of love, and romantic heartbreak is not the only form of heartbreak. If you want love in your life, then cultivate it in the relationships you already have with family and friends, and the weird guy in the shop or whoever. I can’t promise they won’t break your heart though.

What about children?

Some people have the urge to procreate. Some people do not. Some people aren’t sure. If you really want to have children more than anything else, then find a way to do that. You can be single and have children – many people do. There are also lots of non-single people who don’t have children. If you want to have children, my advice to you, is to ask someone else for advice.

Practical things – events, family celebrations and the like

Now we’re getting to the nub of it. You want a buddy… as a society the only buddy we automatically accept is the romantic buddy. The one where there’s a tacit arrangement of ‘I drag you to the stuff I have to go to, and I’ll let you drag me to yours’. Being single is that crap is automatically cut down by 50%.


For weddings you’ve got two options – you can seek out a different buddy, perhaps a friend who enjoys bad bands, cake and rock the boat, and just say ‘feck it’ and have the craic. The other option is going stag. As a single person you might not even get a +1 invite, so you might not be allowed the buddy option. This is because people assume that you’re tough enough to get through all of life without a buddy, you’re tough enough to brave all their relatives, awkward situations and an empty dancefloor, alone. I’ve gone stag to a wedding a few times, and on one occasion where I only knew the bride. I survived that last one by making alcohol my buddy. If you don’t drink, I’m sorry I can’t help you.


Holiday compatibility is a hard thing to find. Romantic partners might not be holiday compatible, and you could be stuck with them. Don’t think of holidays as a fixed thing. As a single person you’re free to holiday alone or with whomever, so you can tag along on trips that other people are planning, plan trips with other single friends, take some extra days to explore by yourself. Basically what I’m saying is you’re actually in a better situation than couples.


What else is there? Some people don’t like going to the pub or cinema by themselves. Seriously just go – it’s totally fine. Enjoy a nice relaxing pint without someone gabbing in your ear once in a while. Sure you might be the talk of the pub, but you’re bad ass, so who gives a shit. And as for cinema, I just don’t get it. Just go. If you feel very self conscious buy two popcorns, it will look like your buddy is on the way.


There are awesome things about being single that we don’t really talk about.

  1. You are badass enough to go through life without a safety buddy. Bad Ass!
  2. You can do whatever you want, whenever you want.
  3. You don’t do anyone else’s laundry or housework.
  4. You live longer (if you are a lady).
  5. If you buy that games console, no one gets to badger you about it.
  6. You can date whoever you want.
  7. You have only your own baggage to deal with.
  8. You can sleep in the diagonal starfish position.
  9. If people feel sorry for you and your life without a partner and kids, you can tell them how you spent Saturday asleep until 1pm, and watch them cry over their wasted life.

This Valentine’s Day look around and have a heart for the people who are forced to cram into crowded, overpriced restaurants, and express their love for one another, only to be then disappointed that it isn’t everything they’ve dreamed of.

A Singleton's Take