That desire and bond which ever culture seems to value.
Love, true love.
That tricky, smoggy ideal we all awkwardly stumble around in pursuit of.
The unfortunate cultural fallout of a society without an agreed upon romance manual, comprised of unspoken social constructs developed mostly from Taylor Swift songs, the 60’s, Coca Cola ads, that one weird book you read in high school, and the fall of humanity.
And so we find ourselves in the social dance that no one knows the moves to, stepping on each others toes as often as we accidentally fall into each others arms. Stepping in love as often as we fall in it.
There must be another way!
And so I propose turning back to the old, the tried and true, the Manner of Courtly Love.
After studying Courtly Love in my graduate course this week, I’ve decided that it has the best advice which I will now follow unquestioningly.
And so I present to you 6 ways that love may be acquired, as set out by the twelfth century love sage Andreas Capellanus.
1. Be extremely, very, very good looking.
Capellanus’ first way to win love is simply to be, or look for someone who is, just golly old darnit attractive. Capellanus notes, “A beautiful figure wins love with very little effort.” And really, what could go wrong here? Could there be a more common sense way to find love than to base your affections solely upon physical attraction? If you are wildly attractive, Cappellanus also particularly recommends finding a simple (read: stupid) lover, because they’re happy to settle for a relationship based on looks. I quoth, “A simple love thinks there is nothing to look for in a love besides a beautiful figure and face…I don’t blame such love.” In such happy cases, you can go on being attractive, your love can go on being simple, making you one happy, shallow couple.
And what more could one ask for, really?
2. Have a good character because that’s attractive… I guess. Sort of.
It is, of course, impossible to be both of good character AND attractive. And so, if you feel unconfident about your looks, forget trying to find an inner sense of value and beauty, or developing in confidence, just be a good person. Afraid people won’t like you just for your “nice personality?” No fear. Capellanus reminds us that, “A well instructed lover does not reject… an ugly lover if the character within is good.” Isn’t that comforting? And also a great and totally not problematic reason to be virtuous?
3. Talk a great deal and with many anecdotes which will inspire and enlighten your future love.
Being of “ready speech,” is in Capelanus’ mind meritorious of love. Ready speech, as far I can discover is the general proclivity to say nice and funny things, and to talk a lot. Sorry introverts. But this also applies to being a generally socially mature human. For instance, Capellanus recommends the following for men: “After the man has greeted the woman, he ought to let a little time elapse, so that she may, if she wises, speak.” This is good advice. It gives us women the momentary illusion that you care about what we think, which is very nice. So, being ready to always say witty things is good for winning love, but so is not saying things. It’s really a toss up.
4. Be wildly wealthy.
Mr. Darcy? Romeo? Cleopatra? Queen Victoria? Rochester? They all had one important thing in common: they were out of this world rich. Now, Capellanus notes that this is perhaps not the most advisable reason for falling in love. However, it’s worth noting that, “I know from personal experience that when poverty comes in, the things that nourished love begin to leave.” One might wonder if this perhaps says something about the nature of the commitment and quality of the relationship. Would a real love relationship not grow with each difficulty it encounters?
It is a clear sign that wealth encourages love. Or at least, as my grandmother once said, it is no harder to marry a rich man than a poor one.
5. Be desperate:
What more needs to be said? Join the teeming masses. A great aid in obtaining love is a “readiness with which one grants what (love) is sought.” Basically, don’t be picky. Have in your mind the attitude which approaches each person you meet with this question: are you my boyfriend? How about you? No? Maybe you?
Again, one can hardly imagine where this might go wrong, or how it is indeed a way love might be acquired as it sometimes appears desperation is repelling. Well, I guess my advice is just to not ask too many questions and stay desperate.
And there you have it! The five ways to acquire love. If only E Harmony had told you it was so simple.
It must be noted that Capellanus is doubtful of the last two ways of acquiring love, going so far as to say we should, “banish them from the court.” All things considered, I think this is an overreaction. I mean, what does Capellanus think those of us who are not extremely, very, very good looking are going to rely on? Our good character? Pfft!
And, so these are Capellanus’ ways to acquire love.
Do let me know how they improve your love life.
Tune in next week for more helpful Courtly Love tips like what kind of flowers to bring your beloved and how to woo a courtly lady from France.
Over and out…