Skip to main content

The Love Series: "Portrait of The Artist as a (Needy) Young Man"

A few weeks ago, I came across this tweet:

It sparked a heated discussion in the magic land of Twitter, with many prominent members of the British Twitterverse sharing their stunning takes on the topic, since their contract clearly states that part of their duty as Twitter Writers is to ALWAYS find a way to make EVERYTHING about THEMSELVES lest they lose a chunk of their (mostly fake) followers who make them relevant to the eyes of the clueless editors who commission them in the name of social media engagement instead of decent journalism.  

Now, if you’ll excuse me, the time has come for me to make this discussion about myself. But before we get into that, I would like to expand this conversation by including different occupations other than writer because this column is aimed at a mass audience (yes, all 14 of you) and not at a cult-like sect of twitter-verified scribblers who spend their days crafting self-congratulatory social-media posts that purposefully alienate a section of their audience (those with less than 5k followers) that they have inexplicably dismissed as unprofitable.

The original question was: should I stop dating someone who does not consume my work? But I would like to reframe it in a way that is not so harsh and definitive because dumping their ass because they don't read your abstract poetry seems a bit excessive to me. So I ask you: do you think a good partner should make an effort to consume (or attempt to consume) your work in order to show support? The answer is yes. And no. But mainly yes.

Allow me to valeriosplain the nuances of this conundrum by highlighting the most effective arguments that people on both sides have offered so far. For creative jobs, this is a non-brainer. If you pour so much time and energy into something, it follows that said thing is clearly very important to you (or else you wouldn’t be doing it). If your partner claims you are important to them, then it’s only natural to assume that he or she would take a healthy (and nobly forced, if necessary) interest in the very thing that drives you and motivates you.

If I were a musician, I would expect my significant other to show up at my gig and initiate a standing ovation when everyone else is ready to start throwing rotten tomatoes at me.

If I were an artist, my partner would be expected to show up at my performance art exhibition in Lower Clapton (the number with me reading Piers Morgan’s tweets in reverse to reveal the presence of satanic verses being the piéce de résistance, of course).

If I were a chef, I would expect you to at least pretend you enjoyed my latest transcendental recipe that combines genetically modified Himalayan corn and nigella seeds cultivated by Nepalese monks and lightly crushed by a coven of albino witches who hide in the Norwegian Tundra. And no, your gluten intolerance is NOT a valid excuse.

There’s always an exception, of course. One of these is… work that requires a specialist knowledge to be consumed that your partner may not necessarily possess. Why would Cindy, who is a primary school teacher married to neuro-surgeon Archibald, want to spend 50 minutes reading an academic journal entry on ‘Micro-Scaled Method Holds Promise as Improved Prostate Cancer Diagnostic Platform?’ Nope, Archibald. We love you - but it ain’t happening.

You get where I’m going with this. I obviously can’t speak for Cindy and her husband. But I can certainly speak for myself. I’m a journalist and writer – and I won’t lie to you, a blatant and repeated lack of interest in my craft would certainly be seen as a red flag. No buts, no ifs. It’s not rocket science, it’s pop-journalism – you can handle it, sweeties.

I’m all about free will (like our Lord Jesus Christ would have wanted to) but if you’re willing to sit through two hours of Jake Whitehall making jokes about his penis, or waste time on a Buzzfeed quiz to find out which STD you are, then don’t come to me and tell me you couldn’t spend five minutes reading my bloody 600 word article, ‘cause that is bovine excrement (aka bullshit) - and I won’t have any of it.

On more than one occasion, I’ve had to force myself to conjure an interest in several, deeply uninteresting subjects in the name of conjugal support. If I could sit through two hours of my then romantic interest outlining the 17 main arguments in favour of paper straws as part of a panel of six then you can definitely read my article about how Instagram has contributed to the evolution of booty calls. It’s as simple as that. I'm not necessarily arguing that your partner should be your biggest fan. But at least a mid-sized one? A part-time stan? Is that too much to ask?

I don’t believe in nice gestures having a transactional nature but a certain sense of gratitude/cosmical justice would bring obvious benefits to a relationship as an often necessary reminder that love is not professed with words but shown with actions and that the enlightened path to a loving relationship is, famously, a two-way street.  And if you’re not willing to meet me halfway, you might as well pack your tote-bag, jump on your hoverboard and hit the road. Needless to say, you are NOT getting a mention in my Pulitzer Prize acceptance speech.   


Popular posts from this blog

Valerio's Press Review: "GQ Magazine, April 2021"

Welcome to Valerio's Press Review, the series in which I read a magazine or newspaper (okay... look at the pictures) and write mean things about the people in them. It's fun! 1) A revitalising afternoon of clam-digging on Southend beach? A day of snorkelling by the port of Dover? Make sure you pack Rolex’s newest submarine watch! You don’t want the fish to think you’re poor.  2) Dolce & Gabbana’s latest collection. The question on everybody’s lips is: do you really want to look like your rich friend’s beach house bathroom? The answer is, and always will be, yes. 3) Sam Claflin for Barbour. A GQ insider told me that his puzzled expression is due to the fact that, for the whole duration of the photo shoot, Sam couldn’t help but wonder if he’d remembered to feed the cat before he left his flat. Models... they’re just like us <3 4) GQ’s Staycation must-have items. If you were stranded on a desert island and you could only bring one item with you, what would it be? Duh! A £32

La (Not So) Dolce Vita

Being Italian has been the single most beneficial asset in my dating life. Growing up in Naples, I was just a guy. In London, I became a “charming” Italian guy. In Milan, my Neapolitan accent is a liability. In the UK, apparently, it’s the sexiest sound known to man (and woman), the immigrant version of the siren song.   After taking residence in the Big Smoke, I quickly realised that Brits have a very precise idea of the Italian man, made up of mainly preconceived notions. They’re harmless for the most part, certainly romanticised, often flattering, but prejudiced nevertheless.   You know what they say: if you can’t beat them, join them. And join them I did. I first came to terms with the extent of my super-power that one time in 2015 when I held the door for a middle-aged woman at a Pret in North London. I said something like “after you” or “good morning” and as soon as she heard the effortless way with which the Rs rolled off my tongue she almost dropped her butternut squash salad o

Getting on with it

A friend of mine messaged me the other day about an opportunity to pitch a piece for a new magazine looking for articles about happiness and well-being. She swiftly withdrew her suggestion upon realising I had literally nothing to contribute to the subject. I can’t seem to shake off the ever so slight suspicion that my particularly abrasive brand of defeatist sarcasm is unlikely to go down well with an audience that’s after feel-good stories for a much-needed start-of-week pick-me-up (that’s enough hyphens for today). Life in the time of Miss Rona is predictably slow. Aside from the customary episodes of wretchedness which stud my life that I have already discussed at length on this platform, I have very little to write about. I am of course binge-watching the Crown (hence me casually using words like “wretchedness”). I have also decided to finally do something about my life-long shampoo addiction and reduce the frequency of my hair washing from once every 24 hours to once every 30 hou