We were talking about the language of love, over dinner. The things we say or do, in varying degrees, that express how we really feel.
Some nice, unsuspecting boy referred to a Christian relationship counseling book called ‘The Five Languages of Love’, which I gather ponders the ways in which we demonstrate and understand the gestures of love. Its premise being that we need to learn each other’s language. That what says: ‘sjoe babe, I dig you’ to one person might not necessarily resonate with the other. The nice boy’s opinion was that this was bollocks. That a red rose says: ‘I like you’ in any language. I said: ‘Nope, it says boring, unimaginative loser who’s trying too hard or not hard enough, actually.’
But that conversation, and another, got me thinking. All weekend. About why we need an entire section in Exclusive books to help us decode our most fundamental emotion. About the ways in which we show people we care. And if they even notice. Or worse, if we do.
An Example: I have a mate who rocks up when I’m down, with the makings of dinner. Pours massive amounts of wine down my throat, washes the dishes and then buggers off. The rest of the time, she’s difficult. With a capital D. But when the chips are down, she’s the first one there, bottle of vino and Woolies packet in hand. Ag, bad example.
Another example: my evil grandmother. Hitler in drag. B.I.T.C.H. Tells me I dress like a bergie. Asks me why I can’t make an effort like my cousin. Listens to bad radio at ear drum blasting levels. But, yet, she makes my favourite meal every time I visit. Every single time. And if I so much as looked chilly as a child, she would knit me another perfect jersey. Or smock me a frock. In scratchy, navy blue wool or stiff crinoline, admittedly, but do you know how long it takes to knit a frikkin’ jersey or smock a fekkin’ frock?
And then there’s my dad. Who wouldn’t know an affectionate gesture if it smacked him in the kisser. Who once asked me what I needed a dad for anyway? But who still makes sure the fridge is stocked with Amstel when I visit. And takes me, out of his way, to Gansbaai or Hermanus, just to get me to taste that pumpernickel or try that antipasto they make in that little place.
So, I’m thinking about these things we do for each other. Silent. Mostly small. And I wonder if what I think I need is really as important as what I’m getting. In spades. And I wonder if I’m really listening, to these whispers, that tell me every day just how immersed I am in love.