Satellite of Love
“We are so lightly here. It is in love that we are made. In love we disappear.”
– Leonard Cohen
The ancient Greeks had it right, and frankly we’re a little bitter that their seven types of love haven’t been more widely acknowledged in the West. We are so here for all of these brilliant Greek classifications:
- Eros: romantic, passionate love
- Philia: intimate, authentic friendship
- Ludus: playful, flirtatious love
- Storge: unconditional, familial love
- Philautia: self-love
- Pragma: committed, companionate love
- Agápe: empathetic, universal love
The point is, recognizing additional categories of love seems like such an easy way to make every day better. At its core, this is all about connection. And enchantment. And owning your weirdness.
Wait: what’s love got to do with all of that? Well…in a word, everything.
When you connect with anything—be it animal, vegetable or mineral—and it causes the pleasure center of your brain to light up, isn’t that enchantment?
And the things that you find most enchanting—those very specific things—aren’t they often so specific as to be potentially weird?
With so many quotes, aphorisms, and truisms about love that we revel in (to say nothing of love song (about which, be sure to check out our playlist d’amour)), why do we not spend more time and energy acknowledging all of the different things and people and ways we love?
- Love for the exact way someone pronounces a particular word.
- Love for a song that’s helped you get through low periods of your life.
- Love for a person who caused you great pain in the past…which you then used to strengthen yourself and open your heart even further.
- Love for a fictional character who’s given you new ideas about how to live.
- Love for a memory that makes you feel centered and warm.
- Love for the way it feels and sounds when you’re behind the wheel of a car with a throaty engine and you shift from fourth to fifth gear.
- Love for a particular expression on your child’s face, and the way it remains the same even as they grow.
Connection leads to enchantment leads to owning your weird. This, as Montell Jordan once sang, is how we do it. And so here are a few of the things we’re celebrating this Valentine’s Day:
Soft velvet pillows and the first sip of a dirty martini. The incomparably satisfying umami of a perfectly soft-boiled egg atop avocado toast (and, yes, the delightfully vulgar Bourdain quote from the Waffle House episode of Parts Unknown that it brings to mind every time). The fluffy belly of a warm cat. Various bizarre and hilarious lines from one of Shirley Jackson’s novels, Life Among the Savages, which inexplicably come to mind at inopportune moments. The instant camaraderie of linking arms to share support with a woman you’ve never met in the front of a raucous pit at a Gogol Bordello concert. The pre-show excitement of a new film or play (and the hope that it won’t be too much longer before we can experience it again). The anxious anticipation of flying in an airplane. (Somewhere. Anywhere.) The proto-goth way David Bowie delivers this line in The Bewlay Brothers: “With our backs on the arch.” Disasters successfully sidestepped. The smell of burned popcorn, and how instantly it takes Katie back to her grandma’s house. The memory of Emma’s grandfather laughing, his voice full of smoke, a sound she can conjure up even now. The feel of freshly washed linen sheets on bare skin. The easy, gentle dignity of Phillippe, a character in the film The Intouchables, who reminds us that true gentleness and dignity are two sides of the same coin. The way it tastes to say the word “luminous.” A bone-and-sinew-and-soul-deep hug from Emma’s Pa that tells her she is loved. A long-overdue reunion. That brief moment of absolute peace just before sleep.
Every story is a love story.