This Is What We Really Mean When We Talk About Love


One of my favorite books is an anthology of short stories by Raymond Carver titled, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, and my favorite short from the book shares the title. I think I enjoy that story so much because it isn’t necessarily about love. And I mean that in the Nicholas Sparks sense where there is a lot of crying, kissing in the rain, and usually at least one person dying. 

The characters of my favorite short story start talking about love, but not in the usual way we see in most books, on TV, or in the movies. To make a long story short, and for shameless promotion of my favorite book, I’m going to say read the book, and long story short of the short – they talk about the things we think or supposedly do when we love someone and what that looks like.

I think that story is my favorite because it made me really think about “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love,” and I realized that when we talk about love, we don’t talk about love itself.

I mean, as a society we often say, “I love (insert name here)” or “I’m in love with (insert name here)” but that’s not what we talk about when we talk about love.

We talk about the way she either sticks out or bites her tongue when she laughs. 

We talk about how she runs around barefoot no matter where she is to make herself comfortable. 

We talk about her sassy attitude and that she will argue with you until she proves she’s right or finds out that she’s wrong. Then we’ll talk about how she reluctantly conceded. 

We talk about her penchant for books – all kinds of books from bestsellers to classics.

We talk about the clothing she likes to wear – you know, dresses that are flowy and expose most of her back, or oversized flannel shirts that double as dresses – because those are comfortable and make her feel beautiful and good. 

We talk about how she knows she doesn’t need to justify her actions to you, but if you’re out of line – she will put you right back in your place.

We talk about her love of food, like peanut butter or nutella.

We talk about the way she runs her fingers through her hair and fluffs it when she’s feeling insecure about it, but how she doesn’t realize that makes her only look even more like a damn goddess.

We talk about how she would rather receive flowers than candy.

We talk about the fact she actually knows what she’s talking about when it comes to politics or feminism or activism because it matters to her and she’s done her research. She states her views solely for the intent of enlightening and educating those who know little or nothing about those things – which I appreciate because I don’t know much in those departments. She also does it to once again put ignorant people in their place when it’s deserved.

We talk about how she uses her past struggles and experiences to help those who look up to her.

We talk about why she’s not ashamed to be the way she is.

We talk about all of that – because she, my friends, is absolutely incredible – I will always talk about all of this because I Love Her and because This Is What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.