The Year in Love

The Year in Love

Why you should care

Chances are, love drives you — to ecstatic heights, to distraction or in and out of the abyss.

Happy Holidays! While OZY’s on vacation, we’ve put together some of our favorite reads of the year.

As we write, it’s a few days before Christmas. The office is all but empty. It’s just us, the co-founder and our cleaning lady, all working in our different corners. Our real company is the blinking cursor. How to frame a year in love? As a bachelor of close to a decade, we could easily go the cynical route. As someone allergic to saccharine, we are genetically incapable of throwing down Pollyanna style.

Thing is, whether you’re pro or con, love is there, like chlorine in the water. The twist and pull and tug of it defines most of our lives. Some of us figure out how to pull partners and families out of barren hats. Some find love early and, at the frail and gray end of it all, look with satisfaction at a landscape of successful offspring spreading the family talents into infinity. And some of us, deprived of or poisoned by love, get twisted into ugly shapes — we withdraw and petrify.

Who’s to say who’s the winner? Not us. What we can do, however, is present a handful of takes on the infamous L-U-V. Our rundown on the five types of men who try to marry you in India leaves us looking for a sixth or seventh type whom our lady friends in India might actually find appealing. Taylor Mayol wants to put an end to “same-siders” — couples who sit next to each other at restaurant tables, à la Lady and the Tramp. (We’re single, and we do that, but it’s because too many punk shows compromised our hearing. Sorry, Taylor.) Libby Coleman clues us in to the little-known phenomenon of fruit fly harassment. Spoiler alert: It’s not easy being a superfly fruit fly. Another surprise: Beloved children’s author Shel Silverstein — our mom and dad gave us all his books, inscribed “Love, Mommy and Daddy” — was for a time Hugh Hefner’s sidekick. The ladies loved him. He loved the ladies back. Playboy cartoonist Skip Williamson once said that Silverstein “knew his way around a skirt.” (Why, Mommy and Daddy, why?)

Looking out for the kids in a full-on wholesome — and righteous — way is Stanford law grad David Domenici, who’s working to overhaul the world of juvenile detention. Let’s not forget the love of God. In partnership with TED, we look at Chelsea Shields, a Mormon feminist working to balance respect for religious doctrine with the arguably higher mandate of equal rights for all. And if you’re deputy editor Eugene S. Robinson, there’s the hands-down greatest love of all. That would be the love of daughter. In one of our favorite pieces of the year, Robinson explains why he insisted all three of his daughters learn a martial art. “To me, it seemed as irresponsible not to have my daughters know how to defend themselves as it would have been not to teach them how to read,” he says.

In these and other stories, we scratch at the surface of a persistent human itch.

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