29 Non-Shit Quotes About Love
The Debrief: Bollocks-free notes on romance, from real people rather than tea towels
Love is a many splendoured thing! Love lifts us up where we belong! All you need is– well, money, food, a working boiler, a good dentist, an equal society and a pair of boots that don’t let the rain in, but it’s Valentine’s Day so shhh your mouth and stop being such a killjoy.
Imagine though, just for a minute, that we actually conducted relationships based on inspirational quotes. On Pinterest quotes, Instagram quotes, the quotes you find on wall canvases in terrible cafes and notebooks that somehow cost £30; it’d just be a world of people staring moonily at stars, vaulting airport security gates without the appropriate boarding pass, and standing in front of boys, asking them to please read Nicholas Sparks again and see if they cry this time. It’d be chaos.
Knowing deep down that a combined set text of Beatles lyrics, calligraphy memes and Captain Corelli’s Mandolin will only ever get us so far (probably a park bench in the rain, wearing a very white top), sometimes you need something more practical to inspire you. Because love might feel like coming home... if you don’t live in a five-people houseshare with mould in the tile grout. Love DOES mean having to say you’re sorry... except maybe for farting and even then only when you’ve done it in a well ventilated area.
Love is patient, love is kind – but it’s also messy, ridiculous, inconvenient, funny and easily mistaken for the flu. And like that melt-in-the-middle chocolate fondant from the M&S Valentine’s meal deal, it’s usually best served with a pinch of salt.
So from soulmates to seduction to radical self-appreciation, here are the best non-shit notes on love to power you through Valentine’s Day. Guaranteed Richard Curtis-free.
1. Mae West
The iconic, acerbic West might have been a millennial renter in London in another life.
2. Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou’s vision of love sounds like an eager labrador, and there’s nothing much lovelier than that.
3. Aziz Ansari
The Master of None reminding us that before there was Netflix, lovers only had the stars.
4. Nora Ephron
The first lady of rom-com may have given us false expectations of email, radio phone-ins and salt beef sandwiches, but she knew how to deliver a truth bomb too.
5. Virginia Woolf
Because there’s the need for love and the need for a burrito, and who is to say which is better?
6. Carl Jung
While Freud was busy making everything about sex, his old rival had a more romantic take on things.
7. Maria Bamford
Comedian Maria Bamford, hitting on a new niche fetish for the gluten-free age.
8. EM Forster
Forster’s novel of same-sex love in the early 20th century wasn’t published until after his death, but it had a beautiful message for anyone who’s ever felt trivial or bewildered in the romance game. Which is probably all of us.
9. Carrie Fisher
Suddenly we want to live in the People’s Republic of Carrie Fisher’s Love even more than Stoke Newington.
10. Charles M Schulz
Before we had Fleabag or Bridget Jones, there was Charlie Brown. The Peanuts gang may have been kids (and a beagle), but between them they knew enough about the ways of the heart to put most adults to shame.
11. Charles M Schulz, again
Write it on the back of your hand, in case you forget.
12. Amy Schumer
The inimitable Schumer, helping out everyone who can’t quite their finger on it.
13. Toni Morrison
The Nobel Prize-winning author, turning the cliche upside down in her novel Jazz.
14. Lisa Simpson
The wisest Simpson there, with your go-to line for when that woman in your office gets a huge bouquet delivered.
15. Nina Simone
Let’s listen to Nina and remember that sometimes the hardest part of love, like an all-you-can-eat buffet, is knowing when it’s time to walk away.
16. William Makepeace Thackeray
The Vanity Fair author, helpfully legitimising all those times you’ve fallen in love with an obnoxious heartbreaker, an unattainable dreamboat or the back of somebody’s head on the bus.
17. Anais Nin
The groundbreaking diarist and erotic author, on why love isn’t really so different from your Ikea spider plant.
18. Amy Winehouse
One for everyone who has ever known that in-love-with-the-world-today feeling. We still miss you, Amy.
19. Joan Crawford
Grand dame Joan Crawford, bringing a whole new meaning to the instruction ‘drop and roll’.
20. Staceyann Chin
Is there any more powerful image to pick you up after a break-up than Staceyann Chin’s?
21. Robert Graves
The poet’s take on love is more painful and beautiful than most. They don’t make a special Nurofen for it either.
22. Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama’s marriage advice for young couples is about as real and gorgeous as you’d expect.
23. Dorothy Parker
The peerless Ms Parker, with an alternative ‘roses are red, violets are blue’ to pop on your fridge.
24. Gloria Steinem
Steinem at her finest, Steinemest, with a solid strategy to help whittle down your Tinder matches.
25. Pearl Bailey
It’s mostly digital admin these days Pearl, but you’re still 100% right.
26. Ellen Degeneres
Ellen there, raising the important question of where homophobia and owning a Lamborghini with a spoiler might cross over on a venn diagram.
27. Zelda Fitzgerald
It might not be practical, but you can’t say Z-Fitz’s strategy wasn’t romantic as hell.
28. George Bernard Shaw
Shaw called it before Elizabeth Gilbert did – a relationship with pizza is the purest love of all
And finally, a message from our Queen..
Can we get an amen?
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