The L word

It’s the four letter word that is used and abused so freely by all. It is used to convey great affection or to simply express fondness for a particular pair of shoes.

Now, I recently saw a television ad for a certain cult dating show. A mother was interviewing her potential son in law and asked, “Are you falling in love with my daughter?” What is that even supposed to mean? Maybe it would have been more accurate to ask, “Do you think that it is possible that one day you may actually love my daughter?”

You know that it is fake ‘love’ when someone is already ‘falling’ after the second episode. But we leave the world of TV (more rants to come on this particular television show) and look at the implications in wider society when we use ‘love’ as a throw away term.

Traditionally, the word ‘love’ has conveyed a much deeper emotion, an intensely positive affection or connection with another being. It grows and develops and changes as the relationship matures. We long to love – a husband, a child, a pet or even a possession – and we yearn to be loved.

Yet, despite the important connotations we associate with the word ‘love’ we still abuse it. Often this is just to emphasise a point but occasionally it is literally the opposite of what we want to convey.

“I love that dress you’re wearing today”, translates to “I think that dress looks better than your other dresses.”

“I love that football player”, translates to, “I really don’t know a lot about football but I know enough to say that he is my favourite player and is good at what he does.”

“I love chocolate ice-cream, it’s my favourite flavour,” translates to, “Chocolate I ice-cream makes me feel sick and I honestly can’t believe that you forgot this again!” (If you’re using sarcasm only – honestly, who doesn’t like chocolate ice-cream)

“I think that I’m falling in love with you”, translated to, “My feelings towards you are becoming more intense but I’m not willing to say love yet and I don’t want you to freak out about it so I will pacify you with this.”

You decide. Has the overuse of the word ‘love’ taken away from the deep emotional meaning and replaced it with a superficial cop-out?

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