A Guide to True Love

Fran Newton helps you find romance.

What are you eating right now? Is it a microwave lasagne? Does it say ‘FOR ONE’ in big letters? Are you under the dangerous illusion that having that nice big lasagne to yourself, and being able to watch whatever trashy TV you like, in your favourite PJs, is actually ‘kind of nice’?

Oh dear – looks like someone needs a big dose of Love™! Luckily, this handy guide is here to help you make all your stereotypical and vaguely insulting romantic fantasies come true.

1 – Time spent alone is time wasted.

Look, that restaurant table is meant for TWO people. That’s why it has TWO chairs. I don’t care if you find time alone ‘therapeutic’ or ‘calming’ – you’re ruining the whole aesthetic of the place by being alone.

If you must venture outdoors solo, make sure you refer to the experience as ‘taking yourself on a date’ so that everyone knows it’s just a poor and temporary substitute for a romantic relationship. This will help minimise confusion. Also ideally wear a hood and dark glasses.

2 – Value the judgement and interest of others above your own personal growth.

Are there any aspects of life more important than being a Couple™? Education? Career? Self-love? Pfft. Rachel from Friends could have flown off to Paris, but, thankfully, she knew that a volatile relationship with a mediocre human being was more worth her time and effort than personal success and fulfilment. Aw. True Love™.

Luckily, if you don’t yet have a mediocre human being of your own, there are plenty of other sources of self-abasement readily available to you. For a fun new idea, thank your street harassers every time you get catcalled. Any other person’s interest in you is, remember, much more important than your personal sense of safety or comfort.

3 – Only celebrate collective achievements – or others’.

Think of all the presents that the Couples™ get. They have housewarmings and engagements and weddings and anniversaries and baby showers, and Facebook photos of every single one. You have a birthday. Just the one. That picture of you blowing out your candles is an embarrassment. 

Don’t forget that celebrating your own personal achievements – unless your partner has organised it as a surprise, and dragged you out the front door while you scream “no, really, you shouldn’t have!” – is a big no-no. No-one likes people who are proud of their individual successes. If you want a party, just make sure it’s about someone else.

BONUS POINTS if you’re a fictional character who only exists as plot-thickener or yes-man for someone else’s archaic types of heroic achievement!

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4 – Avoid spending pressure-free time with people whose company you actually enjoy.

Only the most naïve of people think that Love™ is about feeling good or have fun. If you and your partner don’t instantly start picking out the matching tartan rugs you’ll wer over your legs in your shared retirement accommodation on your first date, they’re not right for you. Even if you enjoy their company. Even if you’re only 19. It’s never too early to put meaningless socially-enforced pressure on yourself!

5 – Finally, choose your pop culture wisely.

This isn’t difficult. The music industry is addicted to Love™. Literature too. Hollywood seems incapable of going more than about an hour in a film featuring post-pubescent characters without two people sucking face, regardless of how irrelevant it might be to the rest of the plot. And all three of these media show unrealistic versions of romance that you can punish yourself for failing to emulate! Yay!

Films like Moana, which exclude Love™ altogether as an overdone plot trope, portraying a female character who doesn’t fall in or even rebel against it, are committing a serious trespass. What message does this send? That Love™ doesn’t have to be the all-consuming feature of your life? That focusing on your own individual development is okay? That, maybe, the obsession of a capitalist culture with peddling a fanatical form of Love™ so that it can keep selling you cinema tickets and Valentine’s cards is unhealthy, or even dangerous, because it teaches us that we are incomplete or lacking in and of ourselves? Hippie claptrap.

Hopefully, this guide to finding True Love™ has inspired you to glam up, go out, and find that special someone! If not, maybe it’s inspired you to glam up, go out, and find a really really good microwave lasagne. Extra gooey. 

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