ELLE: Why I am not embarrassed to be a hopeless romantic

The first time I fell in love was with a girl who looked like Florence Welch.

On my 15th birthday, she plaited her auburn hair, cut it off, and gave it to me in a heart-shaped box.

At that moment, I fell. Not just for her, but for love itself.

It didn’t work out with the girl (too crazy, even for me), but love’s mad excitement, its giddy stupidity, hooked me like a drug.

That heart-in-mouth rush when suddenly all pop songs make sense – I wanted to feel it forever. And I’ve been in love with love ever since.

My longest love ran for 15 years, unrequited. The shortest lasted 24 hours. For the first boy I loved, I bashed out drunken poems on a typewriter (it was the Nineties, not the Eighties, but the drama appealed).

I’ve rushed across cities at 2am and caught flights to Berlin.

I’ve spent hours and overdrafts on over-elaborate gifts, couriering an antique bottle with a love letter curled inside to seduce a boy; sending one girlfriend heart-shaped cookies at work.

To me, love – impassioned and ridiculous – is irresistible, however it appears: in soppy books, on TV shows or in grand opera.

For years, I found this character trait a little embarrassing. Being hopelessly romantic isn’t ‘cool’.

I’ve grown accustomed to friends cringing as I sing Adele’s Someone Like You at karaoke, cry during the credits of The Notebook, or play Ed Sheeran on repeat.

Never more so than now, as Valentine’s Day approaches, bringing with it an avalanche of soft-focus adverts, chocolate boxes and helium balloons.

Yet recently, I’ve noticed a change.

Accustomed to being the only one in the cinema to swoon when screen couples kiss, to tear up when they don’t, I’ve started to feel a little less lonely.

Whisper it, but love– uncynical, romantic love – is making a comeback.

It’s not just that 3.6 million of us watched Love Island last summer – and cheered when the genuinely besotted Jack and Dani triumphed (shame it was ultimately short-lived).

Nor is it that emojitracker reveals the heart emoji is often the most used on Twitter, while #love is the top hashtag on Instagram.

No – look around at the past year’s biggest cultural talking points and you’ll notice something.

Sally Rooney’s novel Normal People, an exquisite story about how falling in love can change your life, became one of 2018’s biggest hits.

Where Should We Begin?, the podcast that sees psychotherapist Esther Perel counselling a different couple each week, pulls in 10 million listeners.

Instagram poet Rupi Kaur’s musings on love have made her a viral sensation, and Amazon has commissioned a TV series based on The New York Times’ iconic Modern Love column, directed by John Carney of Once and Sing Street.

Then there’s the great rom-com revival.

After their Eighties and Nineties heyday – when the likes of When Harry Met Sallyand Notting Hill kept Hugh Grant, Meg Ryan and Julia Roberts in endless gigs – by the Noughties, the genre was so maligned it looked dead.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN ELLE: https://www.elle.com/uk/life-and-culture/elle-voices/a26337536/why-i-am-not-embarrassed-to-be-a-hopeless-romantic/


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