The Language of Love

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.

57 thoughts on “The Language of Love

  1. zephilla says:

    Lenore is always climbing all over me. In fact I feel like a jungle gym around her. But the other day she was happily playing with someone else and would you know it, I missed her climbing antics…cos I know she does it cos she loves me.

  2. flutter says:

    So much of this resonates with me. Well said! Love the bit about the red rose and the self professing nice guy!

  3. dolce says:

    I have to admit, I laughed out loud at him. I couldn’t believe that “a red rose” was the one universal symbol he’d choose as an example. Yerrggh. I thought about all those drunken nights out when okes buy you dodgey roses from those pockmarked flower sellers and think they are being, like, dead romantic. Serial killers and stalkers are what I think of when I see red roses.

    Give me a bunch of sunflowers and some homemade champagne cocktails any day of the week!

    Or my mom’s hand stroking my cheek.

    Or my uncle slipping me R50 for petrol.

    Or my step-mother trying to be quiet at 5am in the morning when I’m visiting the farm.

    Those count.

  4. dolce says:

    Yeah….*cackle* – I actually still hang on my mom, mature individual that I am. When I’m really stressed and scared she lets me put my head in her lap and she strokes my hair. No place safer!

  5. tamaryne says:

    Action speaks louder than empty words and promises

    ‘keeping it real’

  6. dolce says:

    But I guess my point was also that sometimes we don’t even understand those actions

  7. dex says:

    You have a lot of heart.

  8. dolce says:

    and a lot of shoes.

    And a lot of earings.

    And a lot of socks.

    Blessed, I is. Blessed.

  9. tamaryne says:

    Funny how I also still it love when my mom tickles the side of my hairline when I’m down, I’ll always be her baby.

    ‘keeping it real’

  10. ramon says:

    on the money 100%.

  11. dolce says:

    when you reach for the vaso, and Dex knows you really care!

  12. ramon says:

    There’s no vaso!
    It’s a myth; probably invented by some porn star named ‘Tex’.
    The soap is where it’s at!
    100% sa-tis-fac-ion(Spanish accent – drag it out, c’mon.)

  13. dex says:

    You’ve sure got it in for me today, haven’t you…

  14. sugarnspite says:

    Rrrramoanaroner…. listen up babe. What the hell are you doing messing up Dolce’s beautiful blog. You slut!

    So here’s a thing that I’ve been thinking. Do you know about something called NaNoWriMo?

    Basically you have to be crazy enough to try and write a novel in a month. What do you say. Should we give it a whirl, together like?

    Take a look and see if you think its worthwhile.

    “you’re going to have to save yourself”

  15. sugarnspite says:

    I know that you’ve been having a hard time and all, but please stop using the word “Sheesh”. It’s like copyright and trademarked to me. Just like Paris Hilton’s got “That’s Hot” and Donald Trump has got “You’re Fired.”


    “you’re going to have to save yourself”

  16. dolce says:

    to be fair, I started it. What with the vaso talk an’all…I know how it gets the boys going! I can see Dexie quivering in his Y fronts as we type.

    Wait….wait….Dolce’s beautiful blog…ag, no man, lady!

  17. sugarnspite says:

    You know that you mustn’t talk about Dexie in his Y fronts. You know how hot an bothered that makes me…. and I mean on a day like this. If you carry on like that I will be forced to run off and have a cold shower.

    “you’re going to have to save yourself”

  18. dex says:

    I thought I told you to burn that pic!!

    Damn woman, can’t you do anything right?

  19. dex says:


  20. ramon says:

    So, how are we going to go about business?

    In. I’m in.
    Let’s see what happens.
    Give it a whirl!

  21. sugarnspite says:

    I’ve even got the one of you all dressed up and ready to go to the Jolly Rog.

    “you’re going to have to save yourself”

  22. ramon says:

    That’ll do the trick.

  23. sugarnspite says:

    So what say you we both enter, then we keep a daily diary or blog or whatever about how things are going.

    Should we wager a bet for the best word count, or person to come closest to the end line?

    Nothing substantial, given that I am likely to fail miserably given my other commitments.

    No I won’t. Yes I will. Not I won’t. Yes I will.

    (Excuse me!)

    OK. Let’s go for it.

    What say you – how do you think we should do this thing?

    Scuffles off to think of the big idea for a fahahabulous book…

    “you’re going to have to save yourself”

  24. dolce says:

    Flip, Sugs…that’s priceless. Dex get’s to sniff to his little heart’s content and be incognito. Brilliant.

  25. sugarnspite says:

    You’re a bloody crazy woman… I love it.

    The only thing is he’s wearing them back to front.

    “you’re going to have to save yourself”

  26. dolce says:

    I used sheesh, like, WAY before I blogged here. So [*blows raspberry*] I will be using it. Lots.

    But I agree, Dex can’t use it!

  27. ramon says:

    The bet is not important, that can be discussed at a later point in time.

    *Ramon answers phone: “No, Alicia, I’m busy for fuck’s, no, you can’t. Bitch.” Hangs up.

    Sorry, yes.

    Rules of the write-off (i.e. you!):

    1. Blogging about it is cool.
    2. Only on ‘mark.
    3. Everyday (except Saturdays and Sundays)an entry on how the novel is progressing has to be posted (200words at least)
    4. Advice may be sought from fellow bloggers, etc. Fellow bloggers may assist R or S in any way possible, thus making it fair.

    Fucking fantastic.

    I’m in.

  28. dolce says:

    that’s were all the best bits are. All guzuncklenutted together. Fragrant. Alluring. Sssheeeessshh!

  29. sugarnspite says:

    I’m sure if you ask really nicely Dex will lend you a pair…

    “you’re going to have to save yourself”

  30. sugarnspite says:

    I am not that big into rules, but yes, I’m in. Let’s go for it.
    (Still thinking of a big idea).


    “you’re going to have to save yourself”

  31. micatyro says:

    …use ‘capiche’?

  32. sugarnspite says:

    That one belongs to Tony Soprano and there’s no ways that Dex can use it unless he wants to take two behind the ear.


    “you’re going to have to save yourself”

  33. micatyro says:

    …Toni Soprano! When them wiseguys comin’ back? bb downloaded half of season ‘whatever number’ and reckons it kicks Jersey ass, but for some reason or other, mebbe sleepin’ wid de fishes, the rest wasn’t there. James Gandolfini been whacked because he’s asking for too much money? Just dunno… doan like to ask a lodda questions, if ya knowaddamean…

  34. bbmatt says:

    It’s so suprising how much those little things count – that form your opinions of those close to you.

    A Red Rose is a total copout, unless it’s a spur of the moment thing for someone who really likes them. If it’s a planned “ah heck, I’ll just get them a rose, that’ll do the trick” then it’s meaningless.

    In terms of showing affection through gifts, you have to show that you’ve been listening, watching – that you know or are starting to know someone. Pick up on the signs. It means so much more to give a gift “just because” that tells the other person that you’ve been listening and sharing.

    It’s not always easy, so the effort made shows your love.

    Above all, the element of suprise, that “out of the blue” giving is the best bet.

    As for everyday life, it’s as simple as making a good meal, washing clothes for someone, being there – basically thinking about them and their needs.

    Your right, it’s the small things which really count.

    You can buy all the gifts in the world, but if you can’t show empathy, if you can’t give a shoulder to support someone when they really need it, can’t sacrifice your time and effort for another or bother to take time to get to know someone properly, then those gifts have no real value.

    You can’t buy love.

  35. ramon says:

    Skip the rules.
    Start on the 1st of November, right?

  36. dex says:

    Will the rest of us get to see the final product?

  37. sugarnspite says:

    Well YFronts if you are that unlucky perhaps you will… I haven’t been able to churn out a novel of any worth in twenty years… so just think of what mastery I’ll manage in a month. All I can say is slip on those Y’s and brace yourself… things might just get ugly.

    “you’re going to have to save yourself”

  38. sugarnspite says:

    Ja. OK. As long as you don’t make too much of a meal of my failure.

    “you’re going to have to save yourself”

  39. dex says:

    Listen up, chick. I’m only saying this once.

    Do you two ladies (and I use the term very loosely), really want to gang up on Dex?

    I’ll have you know that in my teenage years I frequently handled five against one, and always came out on top. So a bit of two against one really does not scare me.

    So ask yourselves: Do you feel lucky… punks?

  40. ramon says:

    I wouldn’t worry about failure.
    I might be the one, working 2 jobs from 8-8, 7 days a week, taking care of a pregnant wife, a 2 year-old daughter and two horny dogs.
    Don’t forget blogging and pub time…

    But I’ll give it my best shot.

    Good luck, lady.

  41. sugarnspite says:

    Listen up fartypants, that tough talk just doesn’t cut it with me.

    Coz I do feel lucky.

    I’ve had sight of your YFronts and even though I know you’d always come out on top with anyone you handled, it don’t matter to me.

    So chill, sweetie.

    Coz I know that you’re really, really, really just a nice guy.

    So nope. You don’t scare me. No matta whatcha did in those gang banging years.

    “you’re going to have to save yourself”

  42. dex says:

    Now i feel so unfknbelievably special.

  43. medusajane says:

    Missed it yesterday, ‘cos I had my head down working. Same again today.

    Would be interested to know whether the Christians have something original to say about love, or whether they’re still churning out the same “agape”, “philos” etc that they were preaching about in the late 80’s (when I had a brief and misguided time as a happy clappy).

  44. dolce says:

    Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise….you are so unfknbelievably special!

  45. sugarnspite says:

    You’re fucking genius. You breath words. For me it’s a struggle. Even if I had ten butlers, three maids a milking, all the kings horses and men and mice and twenty savant celibate dogs helping me. But yes. I’ll give it my best shot too. Scuze me… I’m off to by some Jack Daniels.

    Catch you on the flip side when I have that big idea for that brilliant novel. Hmmm – like this afternoon?

    “you’re going to have to save yourself”

  46. dex says:

    not talking to you.


  47. ramon says:

    Not the sharpest knife in the drawer, to put it mildly.
    Yes, ok – I’m off to the booze shop too, then.
    Fair is fair.

    Hey, you tryin’ to get me drunk?

  48. dolce says:

    was that I didn’t realise he was a Christian (otherwise I might not have taken him so seriously – how intolerant is that!) But I gather they are still waffling on about Agape and stuff. I just get the overwhelming desire to rip my top off, write “satan loves you too” on my chest and run around chanting Hare Rame or something. Just to see what they do. But I was always a bit of a christian baiter. Even when I had my small stint at a youth group.

    But I gather the book isn’t bad (for an American, twee, pseudo-religious text). I’m just not sure I can actually stomach it.

    Although, the idea of it has made my little brain churn for four whole days. And I think something is shifting. Which is always nice. But scary that it took the idea of an American, twee, pseudo-religious text and a small conversation with BP to do it!


  49. dolce says:

    you talking to me again yet. Don’t let the wind change while your lip is hangin’ on the floor. Actually, if it does, will you come and clean my tiles?

  50. dex says:

    fingers in ears, going lalalala i can’t hear you lalala…

    man, I’m so mature.

  51. dex says:

    there you go with the kicking again…

    it’s cool though. I file everything for later use…


  52. zephilla says:

    then maybe you won’t be able to get to that file, hey?

  53. dex says:

    out of a titanium/graphite alloy. The worst that could happen is that I might roll over.


  54. zephilla says:

    I’m so sorry. Life must be so hard

  55. dex says:

    you have no idea.

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