Valentine’s Day 2016: The greatest non-romantic love stories ever told | The independent


Let’s be honest, I love love. I am charmed by the chocolates that come in heart-shaped boxes. I love a message from a mysterious admirer – even when, like last year, it comes in the form of a card that says “A really happy Valentine’s Day from everyone in your local Waitrose “. And I’ve been addicted to love stories, in all their forms, since I was eight, and I desperately need Belle to do things with her hairy crush in Beauty and the Beast – even though the subject of his desire was decidedly less hot in human form.

However, the collective obsession with the boy-to-girl fairytale tale that sets in each February is not only horribly heteronormative. This means that our focus is narrow and we are losing the opportunity to celebrate so many other wonderful relationships. If you’re unhappy single, or even unhappy in a relationship, you might hate Valentine’s Day because of its emphasis on romance: Today I’m just a girl, sitting in front of her Netflix account, asking her to propose appropriate vision recommended. this is not the notebook ….

So, rather than dismissing the day altogether, why not revel in the love you have for your friends, family, or even yourself? Here are some of my favorite celebrations of love in its less forbidden, no-snog forms.

Family love: “The pursuit of love”

A scene from the 2001 Love in a Cold Climate miniseries by Nancy Mitford


Mitford’s 1945 novel is, at first glance, so much about romantic love that it might as well throw you a scented, embroidered handkerchief from the library: Fanny tells the story of her beautiful and brilliant cousin, Linda Radlett, who is so in love with love that she can’t help but marry people. However, family is at the heart of the story – the terrifying Uncle Matthew runs a house where his daughter Linda can return whenever one of her relationships goes down.

Even Fanny’s rebellious “bolter” mother is back in the fold, with her Spanish lover – a relationship that caused a stir in the pre-war xenophobic period. Linda’s family make it clear that they don’t approve of his behavior, but they will always support her through it. It helps that his siblings are equally glamorous and temperamental: Jassy flees to Hollywood to marry a movie star, while Matt goes missing to fight in the Spanish Civil War. The “chase” in the title could hint at the time when nice brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles were sent halfway around the world to look for runaway children. It is a perfect representation of family love, in all its tender, enduring and exasperated glory. The Radletts remind me of my other favorite fictional family, the Simpsons. Both inhabit a world of chaos, but love allows each to make their way through it.

Love of the community: “Parks and recreation”

Parks and recreation


Few can claim to be as attached to their region as Leslie Knope, the fictitious deputy of the Parks Department in Pawnee, Indiana. In the dearly departed American sitcom, we see Leslie as a woman who lives to serve her community, as proud and protective as a lioness. Leslie’s love is obsessive, and anyone who’s ever composed and deleted a thousand “casual” texts for a potential lover will appreciate her comparable work watching her produce a 472-page brochure before a town meeting, working 16 hours a day, then write a book about Pawnee in her spare time.

Indeed, Leslie loves Pawnee so much that she puts her personal life aside for it, breaking up with her boyfriend Dave (Louis CK) because she can’t stand leaving her hometown when she is offered a job at San Diego and then end a relationship with her boss Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott) because romances at work are prohibited. (Spoiler alert – they get it to work in the end.) She cares about her community so passionately that she volunteers as a garbage collector, stays awake all night with the local doomsday cult, becomes a city councilor, and continues to be a city councilor. worshiping the people of Pawnee even when they campaign for her to be remembered. The strength of his feelings reminds us all that the greatest loves are the most selfless. Love is an all-powerful force, and if you can channel it outward, like Leslie does, its potential for good is limitless.

Platonic Love: Jeeves and Bertie Wooster

Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie in Jeeves and Wooster


A key part of all love, romantic or otherwise, is “esteem” – respect, admire, and hold in high esteem. And no couple better personifies “esteem” than Bertram Wooster of PG Wodehouse and his valet Jeeves, the “gentleman’s personal gentleman”. Wooster is constantly plagued with a ‘scratch’ usually involving an angry aunt, and Jeeves is always called upon to go above and beyond his job description – although you can argue that he is such a committed valet as to him, there is no above and beyond.

Wooster is keen on spreading the idea that he really is his own man, but generally relies on Jeeves when it comes to dress, manners, and romantic love. Jeeves depends on his client in a slightly different way. As an incredibly learned man, familiar with all aspects of art, culture and aristocracy, he would be wasted with any other employer. However, Wooster’s predilection for comedic disaster allows him to use each of his problem-solving skills on his client and Wooster’s equally troubled friends; The real-life double act Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie then took the couple to the small screen and injected their performance with perfect levels of platonic chemistry. In this weird couple, we see how the most successful expressions of platonic love are built on near psychic levels of understanding, unlimited patience, and a very well-stocked drink cart.

Self-love: ‘Frances Ha’

Granted, there is great potential for a chuckle here, and I was tempted to suggest “Teenage Kicks” from The Undertones, or maybe this song from The Divinyls. But while I would say that all successful self-esteem includes an element of self-abuse, let’s keep it more cerebral. For a long time, my self-esteem heroine was Bridget Jones. She may seem like an unlikely choice, at least in her big-screen incarnation, spending a lot of screen time chasing Mark Darcy and Daniel Cleaver as she does. But La Brigitte des livres has a much more interesting interior life. She explores her status as a “single” with curiosity and courage, and by seeking love, she learns to love herself at the same time.

I believe Bridget’s fictional heiress is the eponymous heroine of Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig’s 2014 film. At first glance, it’s a film about France’s friendship and relationship with her best friend Sophie. But I think it’s really about a breakup and Frances struggle for independence when Sophie moves out and moves on. Frances’ expensive and unnecessary two-day trip to Paris is a celebration of the most terrifying and exhilarating elements of being alone, and the joy that comes from knowing that it is often more pleasant to waste time than to waste time. be on someone else’s clock. There is no greater cinematic love letter for independent women than the plans of Gerwig as Frances at the Town Hall Park fountain, dancing alone.