Jen: Yay, yay, it’s V-Day!

I’ll be honest, I seriously considered calling this post ‘V-Day, rhymes with bidet’. Partly because the rhyme amused me but largely because, let’s face it,  for even the most stoic singles Valentine’s Day can be a bit of a douchy experience.

But as diligent readers will know, the Beau Dacious ladies are all fired up about love at the moment. Love in ALL its forms, not just romance. So if you’ve come here looking for an anti-Valentine’s Day whine-fest, best you move swiftly on because here, today, we’re making like Candi and Florence and belting out “we got the love”! Hell, we are the love!

Regular readers may recognise this spirit from last year when I got all dressed up in crimson-soaked love garb and marked the day by handing a Valentine’s card to a random stranger on the tube. I’ll admit I think I scared the poor chap just a little, but that one playful act of love – and the response it elicited from readers – set me on a high for the whole day. If ever I needed proof that it feels good to give, especially love, this was it.

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Pucker up, I loves ya!

At the risk of sounding like a drug addict, I want that high again. So there’s just nothing for it; I’m going to have to step out today, once again, the very picture of love indistinguishable almost from Cupid himself. Except of course that Cupid’s a chubby baby boy and well, I’m not.  But that unsuspecting gent on the tube needn’t fear for the sanctity of his public transport invisibility cloak. Nope, he’s safe this year because 2014, my friends, is the year I choose to celebrate the love that is friendship. And all those people who do such an exquisite job of filling my heart 365 days a year, well, they are the ones who’ll be getting carded.

Of course, most newsagents have yet to get with the programme and so I took it upon myself to illustrate and design my own special friend-friendly Valentine’s Day cards. I doubt Hallmark will come knocking at my door any time soon but I had great fun putting them together and each one was sent out into the world in an envelope stuffed full of love. And you know what else? I didn’t have nearly enough to send to everyone who contributes in some way to pumping love into my life. Now if that’s not worth celebrating, I don’t know what is!

Happy love day, y’all!

 

PS Popping into the new Foyle’s store in Waterloo this week I couldn’t resist buying a copy of the best-selling book The Rules of Love, a list of the top 1oo Rules observed by people shown to have the most successful relationships – not just romances. For obvious reasons rule 8 – in the Rules for finding love section – struck a chord, and there are a lot of good practical reminders of what the application of love looks like in a variety of situations, but it’s perhaps the closing section Rules for everyone which ended with ‘Other people are where it’s at’ that really sums things up nicely. If you’re serious about love, you may find it worth a scan.

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Cisca: All’s fair in love and war?

I dated my sister’s ex-boyfriend.

I can feel the collective sigh and disgust emanating from would-be readers as I write. I should add that he was one of my sister’s many ex-boyfriends left in her impressive wake when she was 17… and I was dating him 9 years on, after a rigorous egging on from my by then married and pregnant big sister – and much to her amusement.

The relationship did not last but over the years, in that situation and greyer ones, I heard and uttered “all’s fair in love and war”, “they’re not married”, “what if it’s meant to be?” Regurgitated platitudes to justify a multitude of transgressions, my own included. The idea being that if love – romantic love – is involved, there is no amount of effort or distress (yours or that of others) too great to achieve what you desire: love.

Love and War

Is it really all fair in love and war?

Would you?

Somewhere in the process of growing from baby sister into beau dacious babe, my sister got divorced from her one, big love. It was without doubt the most painful experience of her life and by extension one of the most painful of mine. I saw my vivacious, beau dacious sister shrink into sadness for a long time.

One evening, after one of my regular outings with my niece and my (by then former) brother-in-law, my sister asked me, without jest or irony: “You wouldn’t date him would you?” Her voice was sombre, almost pleading.

I felt sick. Of course, I told her – the biggest love of my life – that I would never ever do that to her. But I had dated her less-significant ex years before. It may have been “absolutely fine”, but it did leave a question mark as to whether or not I would consider it again. This time with someone who mattered.

Who do you love?

It’s the stuff of Hollywood: [insert movie title of your choice here]. Some people end up with the so-called wrong people and then end up running off with the boyfriend or girlfriend of the sibling or best friend before the final credits – and we feel certain that the outcome is the right one. It happens in real life too: we meet couples we could not imagine apart, who left their spouses or sacrificed friendships to be together. Perhaps we’ll say “it was meant to be”, “all’s well that ends well” or “all’s fair in love and war”.

I have learnt many things en route to beaudaciousness and the most important one is that, for me, romantic love is nothing without the love of friends and family, and romantic love is not the be all and end all.  Now the question is not “should I date her ex that asked me out (particularly one that still matters)?”, the question is “who do I love… him or her?”

The fact that the idea of dating my former bother-in-law seemed preposterous to me aside, he mattered to my sister – deeply and vividly. She was still in love with him and I knew that I would never do that to her.

If you can't decide, just keep choosing love.

I’m choosing love; I’m choosing her.

I know there’s a rule, but aren’t there exceptions?

What about the couples that are meant to be? Okay, few things are black and white and you may choose to pursue romantic love at the expense of friendships and other people. You may believe that this is the best or even the only option for you (and you may be very, very happy and get married and have children adding further evidence that it was “meant to be”).

However, nothing will alter the fact that your choice inflicted pain on someone else and that your happiness came at a price: perhaps as much to you as to others. Contrary to that old chestnut, when it comes to love or war, it is not at all fair.

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Naturally, this is just the opinion – and choice – of one Beau Dacious member and it does not necessarily reflect the opinions of other Beau Dacious babes. This is how I want to make all future decisions after my sobering experience. What do you think? Have you had to choose? How did you come to your decision? Is everything fair in love and war?

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