The 85th in this occasional series of reprints from Quote Unquote the magazine is from the January/February 1994 issue. The seven-page feature “I Get a Kick Out of This” was a collection of brief pieces by Brian Turner, Jacqueline Fahey, Owen Marshall, Elizabeth Smither, Colin Hogg, Iain Sharp, Nigel Cox, Mary-Louise Brown, Brian Boyd and others – booksellers, painters, publishers, journalists – writing about more cheerful stuff than most books magazines did at the time: motorbikes, daughters, dogs, poker, haircuts, guitars, ice cream, roses, science, shoes and more.
The intro read:
There’s more to life than books. . . For a start, there’s chocolate. Here are another 20 of life’s extraordinary pleasures.
First up: Barbara Else.
Just as a poultice brings a boil to a head, the pleasures of romance give intense focus to your very being. In the first flood of a romance, everything in your day – and night – is connected to A Meaningful Other. Someone else concentrates profoundly on you, and you focus unwaveringly on that other person. The only other time that’s likely to have happened in your life is when you’re a newborn at the start of a feed. No wonder we yearn for the experience in later years. The anticipation of being close to AMO makes every cell in your body full to bursting with excitement and energy. I’m speaking of mutual romance, of course, not the miserable unrequited kind.
But what about the side-effects of this condition? Have you realised that being in love is a highly cost-effective and efficient state? The mental benefits are huge. Romance is so relaxing. Topics of conversation are all there, ready-made, and never pall. “What did you think, when you first saw me?” and “How long before you knew I was The One ?” And you can always rely on the repetitive two-word standby: “You’re wonderful.” “You’re wonderful!”
Then think of the physical benefits. Happiness makes you move with exuberance and bounce. When you’re in love you automatically stand taller and hold your stomach in. What a saving on gym fees. Even your skin improves: you can ditch the half-used pot of Natural Glow and rely on the inner one.
And never underestimate the importance of that crucial but often overlooked element in romance – lust. Candlelight and soft music, wide eyes and gentle smiles are only part of the package. Romance is, after all, a delectable combination of sentiment and desire. Once the lust aspect begins to be fulfilled, weight loss is a certainty. Orgasm and chocolate have the same effect on the brain, so you don’t need the Cadbury’s Flake so often. And all that prone and supine exercise! Even the middle-aged can recapture the sinuosity of youth. Forty-plus joints readily assume remarkable postures, horizontal, vertical and all the angles in between.