A well-loved child is set a challenging precedent. In its very nature, parental love works to conceal the effort which went into generating it. It shields the recipient from the donor’s complexity and sadness – and from an awareness of how many other interests, friends and concerns the parent has sacrificed in the name of love.

Objects mimic in a material dimension what we require in a psychological one. We need to rearrange our minds but are lured towards new shelves. We buy a cashmere cardigan as a substitute for the counsel of friends. We

Watching crowds step off the escalators and onto the concourse, I thought it miraculous that in the midst of so many people, I should ever be able to find her–as well as testimony to the strange particularities of desire that it should be precisely she whom I needed to find.

By overwhelming consensus, our culture locates the primary difficulty of relationships in finding the ‘right’ person rather than in knowing how to love a real – that is, a necessarily rather unright – human being.

Whereas we can say something sensible and polite to any stranger, it is only in the presence of the lover we wholeheartedly believe in that can we date to be extravagantly and boundlessly unreasonable.

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