What is love?

Photo: 
Photo: 

Terence Wong

In 1992, little-known singer Haddaway released one of the most recognizable pieces of music on an unsuspecting world titled “What is Love?” This spurred many to sing along, but few to ever think about the rapid changes in society that have tried to seperate loving intimacy from sex.

I realize I’m wading into what is currently a steadily growing morass — a world that hardly takes time to think over and live out the meanings behind basic words like ‘love’ or ‘respect,’ before impatiently giving words like ‘vajazzle’ enough common usage that it warrants a spot in the Oxford English dictionary.

The term vajazzle, for those who don’t know, refers to the state of a woman’s pubic area decorated “with crystals, glitter” or otherform of decoration — its three syllables form a word that so very well exemplifies today’s cultural objectification of love as money and sex.

Love in comparison is the complete opposite. It’s not supposed to objectified, it’s supposed to be felt in rather harsh terms — human terms of giving and taking. Haddaway’s lyrics, “Oh baby, don’t hurt me/Don’t hurt me no more” sums up the sort of love people should have.

Love is always happening, it’s unconditional, it’s ever encompassing — it sweeps people together in one moment and drops it like it’s hot the next — repeatedly.

It’s a whole flurry of emotions that involve an element of sacrifice, because when you truly love someone, you don’t express your attraction to them long enough just to get in their pants. You don’t do it because it’s a short-term consensual thing, you do it because there is something more that brings you back — you relinquish a bit of control to the other. Vajazzled stuff can only take you so far.

You ‘love’ because it endures in the face of obstacles, it multiples in good deeds, it treats you as a person who feels — and that’s what love is. It can’t be anything else.

Terence is the Opinions Editor at the Journal.

Joanna Plucinska

What is love? Whatever you want it to be, baby.

Most people have a certain vision of what love should look like. Love, in the most traditional sense, is about monogamy, mutual respect and heterosexual romance.

This is one way to love, absolutely. But, as an all-encompassing definition of the word, it’s archaic and, quite frankly, narrow-minded.

In the wake of Valentine’s Day, I urge everyone to open their minds to the different ways one can express love. Love can be purely sexual, purely romantic, purely platonic and anything in between.

In today’s society, we should have the increasing freedom to express these feelings in whatever we please, as long as all parties are consenting. Romantic relationships can be polyamorous, homosexual or casual. It’s okay if you want to express your love through romantic gestures that don’t involve sexual intercourse. It’s also okay to celebrate love in a more overtly sexual way by having a massive orgy, if that’s your cup of tea.

We don’t live in the 1950s anymore. Even familial love, with the increase in families with homosexual parents or with adopted children, is shifting in a more unconstrained direction. The variety of romantic relationships in our society enrich it — we shouldn’t attempt to place boundaries on the way people choose to show those feelings.

I’m not trying to say that there is something wrong with being in a heterosexual relationship in the classic sense — that would make me a hypocrite. If that’s the way you choose to love, so be it. But if you and your casual friend with benefits are mutually respectful, consenting and happy with the arrangement, that can be seen as a form of love as well.

Romantic relationships don’t follow a textbook form anymore. Valentine’s Day should be a day to celebrate love, be it physical or emotional, in whatever way shape or form.

Joanna is the Editorials Editor at the Journal.

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.