That is a question that fascinates us all. Does it happen when a little chubby imp shoots you with arrow? Probably not. It can be defined as a strong feeling we have for one another. We think love comes in many flavors. There is love between mother and child. There is love for friends and even love of one’s football team, but it is romantic love that sparks the most interest. Is romantic love is the deep-in-the-pit-of-your-stomach longing that fuels the work of so many writers? Or can it be two octogenarians holding hands on a park bench? This question is one that fascinates me as well.
In Histoire de Ma Vie, Giacomo Casanova talks of love endlessly. He seems never to separate the intense feeling from physical longing. Love and sex were the same to him. I read and reread his words trying to find evidence that he had any concept of platonic love. He did stop writing his memoir at the age of 49, but always his brand of love involved a desire to consummate his love. Today we speak of romantic feelings as having two parts. We use the word love to express the emotional component and sex as the word for the purely physical. To Casanova he only knew he felt love. No separation into distinct parts, just love. In Conjuring Casanova, Monsieur Casanova is horrified when he discovers that, Lizzy, a modern woman, separates his most sacred of pursuits into into two parts. Was he so wrong or are we? In the end does it matter?