Sunday, March 20, 2011

Love in a Cold Climate

The only way to do it...?
I like the Dutch.  They’re a warm and genuinely friendly nation, open and welcoming, and just generally lovely. In my experience of working with them, they’re also efficient, but with a sense of humour – a bit like Germans after a couple of E’s.  On my recent trip to Amsterdam I was reminded of this, none so more than on the flight over. I won’t bore you with the tales of woe in economy (although, once I stumbled onto the film Burlesque, I couldn’t have cared less if the flight was nine hours: a fabulously camp enjoyable romp!) suffice to say, don’t fly KLM. It’s just horrible.  Anyway I was surrounded by lovely Dutch people in their fifties who appeared to either be having a group trip home, or had just been on holiday in Dubai. They were all in high spirits, including a lovely couple across the aisle from me.

Now, I’m known for being cynical about relationships: I spent the vast part of my twenties going to weddings, and only a small proportion of those couples are still together. There was the one who knew when going down the aisle that it wouldn’t last, the one whose husband told her one month in that he was leaving her for his ex (no, really), and one who actually said to me “well if it doesn’t work out, we’ll just get divorced.”  Surprise surprise, that’s what happened.  

I’ve always been missing the ‘bride gene’: that crazy single-mindedness that seems to grip otherwise perfectly normal women: “I MUST get married, at any cost. Because that’s what I’m SUPPOSED to do.” I’m not anti-marriage, far from it.  Despite knocking back a few tenacious marriage proposals (thank god) I can definitely imagine spending the rest of my life with one person, and saying yes (just not to the txt that last asked me..!)

I think that there’s a more sensible attitude worth adopting, of being a happy single, whose life is fulfilled and fabulous, with or without a man.  If and when you do meet someone worth making time for, then there’s less pressure on both of you to rush into anything: at the end of the day, a wedding is a wedding (and the big white ones have always left me cold – take me to Vegas any day).  A marriage is what you should be thinking about and what you ultimately subscribe to.

Anyway, back to the couple next to me.  They were in their fifties, but clearly deeply in love.  Extremely affectionate (without overdoing the PDA’s) he gazed at her whilst she spoke, their body language mirrored, and they just had CHARISMA.  I hadn’t even had a drink so I promise you I wasn’t drunk.  When we got off the plane, he fetched her things, and touched her so tenderly on the cheek that I almost wept. (Still not drunk, honest.)  Who knows, he might have been having an affair, she might have been his third wife, but equally, they made a lovely couple.  And in a sea of mediocre relationships, infidelity and disposable partners, that’s something to aim for, surely?

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