There’s a passage from Dolly Alderton’s memoir Everything I Know About Love that women have started choosing as a reading at their wedding. It must be about 350 words; an irresistible, concise definition of what love can be. In a page, Dolly somehow gets to the sweet nuance of love: its great, rollicking moments of joy and its quiet, tender gestures of companionship. She speaks about it with such disarming familiarity, that women are foregoing things like the classic E. E. Cummings poem for a bit of Dolly on the day they stand in front of their friends and family in a big white dress and promise forever to someone. It’s probably the purest sign that a piece of writing has nailed the concept of love.
“I know that love can be loud and jubilant,” Dolly writes. “…And I also know that love is a pretty quiet thing.” It’s yelling at each other at a music festival, it’s skinny-dipping at dawn, it’s the pride of introducing them to your people. But it’s also drinking coffee side by side, hanging out their laundry when they leave it in the washer and exchanging mundane texts throughout the day. “Love is a quiet, reassuring, relaxing, pottering, pedantic, harmonious hum of a thing; something you can easily forget is there, even though its palms are outstretched beneath you in case you fall,” she writes. It’s perfect.
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