Love in the Time of Cholera – Love for Singles: Let Me Count the Ways – Part Two

by |January 30, 2010

Singles! The darkest day in the calender is nearly upon you.

Valentine’s Day!

The day when you are forced to look into the dusty heart of your singledom, the day when that brave smile will not come, when all your claims of happiness are exposed as lies, the day when Valentine cards from well meaning friends serve only to remind you of your large bottom or your wonky eye or your hideous fashion sense or your awkward walk or your venomous tongue or your dull, dull mind…

Valentine’s Day.

It will soon be here. There is no escape, but there is hope.

Love is adaptable, love is varied and love is as kind as it is cruel.

I am here to offer you a chance at love this Valentine’s Day…

I present :

Unrequited Love!

(Now don’t knock it before you have really given it a go.)

Once you have experienced the exquisite heart strain of an unrequited love, where the joy of loving cannot quite overcome the knowledge that you are not loved in return, you will recognise that such painful pleasures come with benefits.

What possible benefits are there to having a one-sided love affair?

For one, you are no longer technically single.

I know it’s only a technicality but it does serve as a buffer – if your friends know you are hopelessly in love with the woman/man of your dreams they can hardly set you up with someone from accounts.

Two, it fills up hours of your day. Even if you don’t turn into a stalker, even if you restrain yourself and turn it into a harmless hobby, unrequited love will give you something to do. Exquisite pleasure or pain – and trust me, sometimes you won’t know the difference – takes time.

And lastly, though I could go on and on, unrequited love is Romantic. So, without having to make any commitments, or sign any papers, without dull dates and awkward sexual encounters, without even having to leave your house, you can experience two separate kinds of love – both Unrequited Love and Romantic Love.

That’s a two for one deal you weren’t expecting!


Tune in tomorrow when we explore the social impediment that is Forbidden Love: exemplified by the ever criminal Humbert Humbert but also glorified by the exemplary Mr Knightly in Jane Austen’s Emma who says –

The good was all to myself, by making you an object of the tenderest affection to me. I could not think about you so much without doating on you, faults and all; and by dint of fancying so many errors, have been in love with you ever since you were thirteen at least.

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About the Contributor

While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. ​Now, as the Director of Books at, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection. His novel, The Girl on the Page, will be published by HarperCollins Australia in October, 2018.

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