You couldn’t begin to count the poems, songs, plays. novels etc that have been devoted to the subject of love. Human beings are fascinated by it and there’s a reason for that; one you’ve heard many times before: it makes the world go round.
This is a scientific fact. When we’re young, we need to go out there and make more people. So, the hormones exist to make this urge difficult to ignore. We are driven by our desires and if we weren’t, the human race would have died out centuries ago.
Some people blame the medieval troubadour poets of Southern France for creating the notion of LOVE to sweeten the driving desires which consume us when we’re young. Romantic love became fashionable and has never been out of style since.
The young are beautiful. They may not think they are, but it’s so. There’s a glow and a bloom to them they don’t ever think about but which exists to tempt others to love them. To want them. To want to have children with them. That’s the way it goes, generally speaking.
The media falls in with this notion and provides accompanying propaganda: movies starring improbably beautiful people indulging in the kind of sex you only see in movies. Advertisements where the young are batting their eyelashes at one another to denote devotion. More advertisements which show blissfully trouble-free childen frolicking around ridiculously radiant, untired parents….and so forth.
But the need to be loved and to give love is more than just a drive to populate the planet. We love our parents, our siblings, our friends, and especially our children. Those of us fortunate enough to have enjoyed a long marriage see the first glow change and deepen. When you’re older, history becomes part of the narrative. There are shared memories. There’s the pleasure of not having constantly to compete for attention. You and your spouse have many interests in common, There is, in a long marriage…for want of a better word, and I wish it weren’t associated with unglamorous shoes…COMFORT. Don’t knock it till you have had to live without it. It’s very …yes, again, that word…comforting.
People who fall in love in later life have to deal with the disapproval of the young, who somehow think that love and especially sex, are yucky when it’s two older people involved. What they don’t realize is that even though your libido might not be flaring away like a lit torch, it’s still there, smouldering quietly away, probably until you breath your last. This syndrome is a sort of parallel to feeling as if you’re 27 when you’re really 72 and getting a slight shock every time you look in the mirror.
Single older people are understandably sometimes reluctant to marry and involve themselves in someone else’s (generally complicated) families, but that doesn’t stop them from being able to love, to fall in love, to suffer the pangs of love. And there are pangs, make no mistake, at every age.
As for me, I like writing about both kinds and that’s why I often have both older and younger protagonists in my novels. Love is, as the song says, a many splendoured thing.
The latest novel by Adèle Geras, LOVE, OR NEAREST OFFER is out now , and it is a warm and funny book about finding love – find out more about it and her other books on her website
‘Her brilliant writing, emotionally intelligent content and gripping narratives place her right at the top of this genre‘ Daily Mail
If you liked this post, then why not catch up on…
Sarah Vaughan shares what books are on her bedside table and why
Team Bookends confess their guilty pleasures
Linda Green reveals her own ‘I lost my child story’ and the inspiration behind While My Eyes Were Closed