Posts Tagged love

Girl or woman, boy or man?

After my previous post, in which I described my process of looking for a romantic partner, one of my friends asked me why I used the word “girls” instead of “women.”  I am a self-avowed feminist and my friend, I think, could not understand why I would use such sexist language.  In the feminist community it has been taken for granted, indeed it is a kind of commandment, that one should not refer to a grown woman as a girl.

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Where to meet girls accurately?

As someone looking for a virtuous girl, I have been working under the assumption that Church is a relatively good place to meet girls. After all, girls that go to church are likely to be (or want to be) of a virtuous nature. But I must admit to at least one flaw with this strategy, which was brought to my attention by Daniel Kahneman’s excellent book “Thinking, fast and slow.” First impressions last.

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Is the message itself offensive?

I want to ignore those (often unintentionally) hateful Christians who cannot accept homosexuals for a little while. Let us talk about those Christians who

  1. Truly believe homosexuality is a sin, but
  2. Do everything in their power to love their homosexual neighbours.

There are not many such Christians, but they should not be judged along with the rest. They are sincere and honourable. But I am not convinced that their stance is not ultimately harmful.

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Don’t t̶a̶l̶k̶ ̶t̶o̶ kiss strangers

This video of strangers being asked to kiss each other for the first time went viral this week. It’s being hailed as “something kind of incredible”. I find it to be something kind of disgusting. My theory of kissing is this:  Read the rest of this entry »

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Love in terms of music, actuarial science, finance and programming

Friends of mine recently got married. One of them has a background in actuarial science and computer science and the other has a masters degree in music. I thought it would be fun to write them a poem that needed both these backgrounds to appreciate fully, and thus I came up with the following:

Love is like a symphony, a Beethoven symphony
(no 7 of course)
its present value cannot be determined
(no hypothecation allowed )
it has more power than compound interest
able to decipher even the most inscrutable VB code
love can make life feel like a stroll 
through country gardens
but sometimes, one must face 
nights on a bare mountain or even
the isle of the dead
but love is a commitment
a contract writ before God
it is a long-term investment, that
rides out short-term fluctuations
(it beats any human benchmark)
with not even death as a decrement

Here are the specific references if you want to look them up. Actuarial science: hypothecation, decrement, contract.  Finance: compound interest, present value, long-term investment, short-term fluctuations. Programming: VB. Music: Beethoven symphony, country gardens, isle of the dead, night on the bare the mountain.

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Marriage: the scariest, most beautiful thing

I’m getting to that age, that age where your friends start pairing off into couples and becoming married. Do not worry, this post is not about how mortified I am that I am still single and how there’s no end in sight. Instead I want to say something about the incredible commitment that marriage is.

I can think of nothing more beautiful and more terrifying than marriage. If you’re a Christian, then, in theory at least, marriage is for life. The certainty you must have to make that commitment… I think I might have to wait till I’m a hundred before I am that certain about anything (except death and taxes).

Marriages do not always last. When you enter into one, you must (even if you are a Christian) be aware that it may end prematurely. That does not mean you should not try. And marriages that do not end in divorce, end in death. There must be no greater grief (except the loss of a child) than the loss of your life partner. If you’re a woman that is most likely what you will experience (women live longer and marry younger), but men are not exempt of course.

Still, a life shared is a beautiful thing. I am thinking beyond the wedding and the honeymoon. It is in every day’s living, in the little joys, in the dull, the dreary, in toil, strife and hardship, that a marriage is built. It is in saying “I love you” every day, to mean it even if you’re in the middle of a heated argument.

Marriage is not a cure for a lonely life. It does not make a broken person complete. But it does, sometimes, make of two people, a single being, inseparable, a force of joy and love and an inspiration to all. It is truly a gift from God (one that like a plant must be nurtured if it is to last).  I hope that all my friends who are married and soon to be married (and those who will marry later) experience this gift.

I wrote this poem for you:

Love is grand – it deserves a festival
and a honeymoon
and a yearly anniversary
romantic dinners and flowers and gifts
perfume and makeup

Love starts with a beating heart
and sweaty palms
with grandiose gestures
but it is in everyday things
that love is made complete
in two lives that become
in  every day’s living
a life shared
in little joys
in leaving for work
in weekday dinners
in the love (or hate) of football
in the dull, the dreary
in shopping
in the choice of asymmetric carpets and paint
in toil, strife and hardship
in paying the bills
together

Love is quiet and unrelenting
its strength is the strength of God
its weakness is the weakness of man
love matures with its hosts
becomes the finer for their wrinkles
and frailty

Love is a gift from God

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Carnaval

100_4048 100_4040 100_4026 100_4058 100_4018 100_4012I attended “Carnaval” this weekend, which is basically a huge party in February, celebrated in the South of the Netherlands. The South of the Netherlands is (of course) historically Catholic. Carnaval is meant to be a big party before the fasting of Lent (like Shrove Tuesday, I suppose). Of course in the Netherlands (almost) no one is religious so it is basically just a big excuse to party.

It is, however, a singular party. People dress up in insane costumes (I was a Viking with a saxophone) and there is a big parade with massive floats. My photos do not do justice to the size of these floats. Some seemed to be three stories high and they all had moving parts and blasted “foutmuziek” so my eardrums nearly burst. I awe at the amount of planning and dedication that had to go into these things.

The towns where I went get new names specially for Carnaval season, for instance Prinsenbeek, a small town near Breda, is known as “Boemeldonck”. The best parade is in Prinsenbeek rather than the larger city of Breda. Carnaval is a festival for country folk.

As with any festival, alcohol is paramount. Many of the floats were beer-themed. (Others were lewd. Some bordered on improper – for instance making fun of the church. They were all quite fun, and I do not think there was any ill intent). Many of course use the festival as an opportunity to drink more than anything else. I missed this part of Carnaval (by choice) and I instead have the memory of a fun time with some crazily dressed Dutchies.

While having fun and walking through town I did notice the remnants of the religion that this festival came out of: A Catholic church and some posters advertising the love of Jesus. Wouldn’t it be awesome if people could celebrate with love of God and with love for each other? The latter I experienced first-hand.  I am most grateful for the residents of Breda and Prinsenbeek who hosted me – they were most gracious and loving. I hope that the love of God will return in time. I also hope that Carnaval retains its risqué yet fun-loving quality. It seems more sincere that way.

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