Dolly Alderton Quotes

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Nearly everything I know about love, I've learnt from my long-term friendships with women.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love)
I am always half in life, half in a fantastical version of it in my head.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love: Now a Major BBC One Series)
Love is a quiet, reassuring, relaxing, pottering, pedantic, harmonious hum of a thing; something you can easily forget is there, even though its palms are outstretched beneath you in case you fall.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love: Now a Major BBC One Series)
When you’re looking for love and it seems like you might not ever find it, remember you probably have access to an abundance of it already, just not the romantic kind. This kind of love might not kiss you in the rain or propose marriage. But it will listen to you, inspire and restore you. It will hold you when you cry, celebrate when you’re happy, and sing All Saints with you when you’re drunk. You have so much to gain and learn from this kind of love. You can carry it with you forever. Keep it as close to you as you can.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love: A Memoir)
I would like to pause the story a moment to talk about ‘nothing will change’. I’ve heard it said to me repeatedly by women I love during my twenties when they move in with boyfriends, get engaged, move abroad, get married, get pregnant. ‘Nothing will change.’ It drives me bananas. Everything will change. Everything will change. The love we have for each other stays the same, but the format, the tone, the regularity and the intimacy of our friendship will change for ever.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love: Now a Major BBC One Series)
Maybe friendship is being the guardian of another person's hope. Leave it with me and I'll look after it for a while , if it feels too heavy for now.
Dolly Alderton (Ghosts)
To choose to love is to take a risk
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love)
Because I am enough. My heart is enough. The stories and the sentences twisting around my mind are enough. I am fizzing and frothing and buzzing and exploding. I'm bubbling over and burning up. My early-morning walks and my late-night baths are enough. My loud laugh at the pub is enough. My piercing whistle, my singing in the shower, my double-jointed toes are enough. I am a just-pulled pint with a good, frothy head on it. I am my own universe; a galaxy; a solar system. I am the warm-up act, the main event, and the backing singers. And if this is it, if this is all there is- just me and the trees and the sky and the seas- I know now that that's enough.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love)
It is futile and knackering to try and make all your tiny choices representative of your moral compass then beat yourself up when this plan inevitably fails. Feminists can get waxed. Priests can swear. Vegetarians can wear leather shoes. Do as much good as you can. The weighty representation of the world cannot rest on every decision you make.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love: Now a Major BBC One Series)
You’re too hard on yourself,’she said. ‘You can do long-term love. You’ve done it better than anyone I know.’ ‘How? My longest relationship was two years and that was over when I was twenty-four.’ ‘I’m talking about you and me, ’she said
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know about Love: A Memoir)
Life is a wonderful, mesmerizing, magical, fun, silly thing. And humans are astounding. We all know we’re going to die, and yet we still live. We shout and curse and care when the full bin bag breaks, yet with every minute that passes we edge closer to the end. We marvel at a nectarine sunset over the M25 or the smell of a baby’s head or the efficiency of flat-pack furniture, even though we know that everyone we love will cease to exist one day. I don’t know how we do it.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love: A Memoir)
All the hours lost in the cul-de-sac of your head torturing yourself with all the stupid things you said and did, hating yourself for the following few days.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love: Now a Major BBC One Series)
You are moving out of the realm of fantasy "when I grow up" and adjusting to the reality that you're there; it's happening
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love)
So much of the love you feel for a person is dependent on the vast archive of shared memories you can access just by seeing their face or hearing their voice.
Dolly Alderton (Ghosts)
Being a heterosexual woman who loved men meant being a translator for their emotions, a palliative nurse for their pride and a hostage negotiator for their egos.
Dolly Alderton (Ghosts)
You are the sum total of everything that has happened to you.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love)
The perfect man is kind, funny and generous. He bends down to say hello to dogs and puts up shelves.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love: Now a Major BBC One Series)
Maybe you just have an unfillable void,’ he said with a gentle sigh. ‘Maybe no man will ever be able to fill it.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love: Now a Major BBC One Series)
I hated lateness. Being late is a selfish habit adopted by boring people in search of a personality quirk who can't be bothered to take up an instrument
Dolly Alderton (Ghosts)
I thought of the blissful mundanity of life; of what a privilege it was to live it.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love: A Memoir)
The contents of supermarket baskets are surely evidence that none of us are coping with adulthood all that well.
Dolly Alderton (Ghosts)
(...) maybe that’s all love is. So much is how we perceive someone and the memories we have of them, rather than the facts of who they are. Maybe instead of saying I love you we should say I imagine you.
Dolly Alderton (Ghosts)
I hadn't ever thought that a man could love me in the same way that my friends love me; that I could love a man with the same commitment and care with which I love them. Maybe all this time I had been in a great marriage without even realising.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love)
Nostalgia: Greek compound combining nostos (homecoming) and álgos (pain). The literal Greek translation for nostalgia is "pain from an old wound.
Dolly Alderton (Ghosts)
Your life is here, now. You’re not about to live a tracing-paper copy of it.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love)
I was grateful for understanding in that moment that life can really be as simple as just breathing in and out. And I was thankful to know what it was to love the person walking next to me as much as I did. So deeply, so furiously. So impossibly.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love)
It may seem that life is difficult at times but it’s really as simple as breathing in and out,” she read. “Rip open hearts with your fury and tear down egos with your modesty. Be the person you wish you could be, not the person you feel you are doomed to be. Let yourself run away with your feelings. You were made so that someone could love you. Let them love you.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love: A Memoir)
The love we have for each other stays the same, but the format, the tone, the regularity, and the intimacy of our friendship will change forever.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love: A Memoir)
Rambunctious, restless and ramshackle. Roving, raucous and rebellious. My roaming decade; my roaring twenties.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love)
When you are in the middle of a story it isn’t a story at all, but only a confusion; a dark roaring, a blindness, a wreckage of shattered glass and splintered wood; like a house in a whirlwind, or else a boat crushed by the icebergs or swept over the rapids, and all aboard powerless to stop it. It’s only afterwards that it becomes anything like a story at all. When you are telling it, to yourself or to someone else.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love: A Memoir)
Be alone, Jen. You know how to be alone without being lonely. Do you know how rare that is? Do you know how much I wish I could do that? It’s a wonderful thing you’ve got going on there.
Dolly Alderton (Good Material)
I gave almost all of my energy away to other people when no one had asked it of me.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love)
It was at this time that I was reminded of the chain of support that keeps a sufferer afloat – the person at the core of a crisis needs the support of their family and best friends, while those people need support from their friends, partners and family. Then even those people twice removed might need to talk to someone about it too. It takes a village to mend a broken heart.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love: Now a Major BBC One Series)
Love was there in my empty bed. It was piled up in the records Lauren bought me when we were teenagers. It was in the smudged recipe cards from my mum in between the pages of cookbooks in my kitchen cabinet. Love was in the bottle of gin tied with a ribbon that India had packed me off with; in the smeary photo-strips with curled corners that would end up stuck to my fridge. It was in the note that lay on the pillow next to me, the one I would fold up and keep in the shoebox of all the other notes she had written before. I woke up safe in my one-woman boat. I was gliding into a new horizon; floating in a sea of love. There it was. Who knew? It had been there all along.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love: A Memoir)
I know what it is to love someone and accept that you can’t change certain things about them;
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love)
There isn't a pebble on the beach of my inner history that she has left unturned. She knows where to find everything in me and I know where all her stuff is too. She is, in short, my best friend.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love)
You have to take your chance, it’s not like you fall in love with someone every week. How arrogant are you, that you think you’re going to feel like this again about someone whenever you decide you’re ready, on your terms?
Dolly Alderton (Ghosts)
To lower your heart rate and drift off on nights when sleep feels impossible, dream of all the adventures that lie ahead of you and the distances you’ve traveled so far. Wrap your arms tightly round your body and, as you hold yourself, hold this one thought in your head: I’ve got you.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love: A Memoir)
Another thing that no one tells you about drinking as you get older is that it isn’t the hangovers that become crippling, but rather the acute paranoia and dread in the sober hours of the following day that became a common feature of my mid-twenties. The gap between who you were on a Saturday night, commandeering an entire pub garden by shouting obnoxiously about how you’ve always felt you had at least three prime-time sitcom scripts in you, and who you are on a Sunday afternoon, thinking about death and worrying if the postman likes you or not, becomes too capacious.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love: Now a Major BBC One Series)
The love I felt was aggressive and fraught—I loved him with panic and passion. I didn't fall in love; love fell on me. Like a ton of bricks from a great height.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love)
If you feel exhausted by people, it’s because you’re willingly playing the martyr to make them like you. It’s your problem, not theirs.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love: A Memoir)
You should never have to work to hold a man's attention. If a man needs to be 'kept interested' in you, he's got problems that are not your business to manage.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love)
Do you think we’d ever be friends if we met now?” “No, I don’t think so.” “Me neither.” “Sort of magic, isn’t it? To know that we could meet the most exciting person in the world, but they’d never be able to recreate the history you and I have. What a unique superpower we have over each other.
Dolly Alderton (Ghosts)
Life is a bit more difficult for women. More difficult than it is for us, I mean. And you don't need to ask them to explain why or understand it all. You just need to be nice to them.
Dolly Alderton (Good Material)
I’d noticed this was a thing that people did when they got into their thirties: they saw every personal decision you made as a direct judgement on their life.
Dolly Alderton (Ghosts)
It’s easier, being heartbroken in your thirties, because no matter how painful it is, you know it will pass. I don’t believe one other human has the power to ruin my life any more.
Dolly Alderton (Ghosts)
Anyone can be fucking fancied. It is a far greater thing to be loved.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love)
She knows where to find everything in me and I know where all her stuff is too. She is, in short, my best friend.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love)
I would make a strong case for the argument that every adult on this earth is sitting on a bench waiting for their parents to pick them up, whether they know it or not. I think we wait until the day we die.
Dolly Alderton (Ghosts)
To be a desirable woman—the sky’s the limit. Have every surface of your body waxed. Have manicures every week. Wear heels every day. Look like a Victoria’s Secret Angel even though you work in an office. It’s not enough to be an average-sized woman with a bit of hair and an all-right sweater. That doesn’t cut it. We’re told we have to look like the women who are paid to look like that as their profession.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love: A Memoir)
No matter how uncertain and unpredictable life gets, some people really do walk next to you for ever.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love)
Absolutely everyone is dysfunctional on some level, but a lot of people can function dysfunctionally.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love: Now a Major BBC One Series)
A lot of it was just a really good time on our own terms – many of the memories revolve around me and one of the girls leaving a situation we were bored of or didn’t like, just to spend time with each other.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love: Now a Major BBC One Series)
My friends, quite rightly, thought I was insane to have become so quickly obsessed with someone I didn’t know. But they were also used to it – me finding a new love interest had always been like a greedy child opening a toy on Christmas Day. I ripped the packaging open, got frustrated trying to make it work, played with it obsessively until it broke, then chucked the broken pieces of plastic in the back of a cupboard on Boxing Day.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love: Now a Major BBC One Series)
More often than not the love that someone gives you will be a reflection of the love you give yourself. If you can't treat yourself with kindness, care and patience, chances are someone else won't either.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love)
No one has ever asked you to make a floor-to-ceiling-sized friendship collage for their birthday. Or ring them three times a day. No one will cry if you don’t invite them to dinner because you don’t have enough chairs. If you feel exhausted by people, it’s because you’re willingly playing the martyr to make them like you. It’s your problem, not theirs.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love)
Men always have to keep a low flame burning for every ex. It will be flickering in there for him, even if he doesn’t know it is. Whereas women always have to extinguish it.
Dolly Alderton (Ghosts)
If you're feeling wildly overwhelmed with everything, try this: clean your room, answer all your unanswered emails, listen to a podcast, have a bath, go to bed before eleven.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love)
There are so many hidden miniature break-ups within a big break-up.
Dolly Alderton (Good Material)
We made too much comedy of our differences and placed too much meaning on our similarities.
Dolly Alderton (Good Material)
...the person who is in charge in a relationship is the one who loves the least.
Dolly Alderton (Good Material)
I think something happens in your thirties where you slightly let go of this idea of the perfect career. I have so much fun outside of work, maybe it’s enough that it’s just fine. It pays okay, I get on with my colleagues. At the end of the day, it’s just ye olde day job.
Dolly Alderton (Ghosts)
I don’t want the brain of my twenty-one-year-old self. Or the impulses or the bloody . . . inner turmoil. I want everything I have now—I want all the lessons I’ve learned and the experiences I’ve had and to know all the stuff I know. But I want to transpose myself back to the physical state of being twenty-one forever, with all my life ahead of me.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love: A Memoir)
I hadn’t realized quite how much of early-days dating was pretending to be unbothered, or busy, or not that hungry, or demonstratively ‘low-key’ about everything.
Dolly Alderton (Ghosts)
But cynicism, while funny and self-protecting, is very easy. Finding trust, sustaining hope - that’s the real art form.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love)
A reminder that no matter what we lose, no matter how uncertain and unpredictable life gets, some people really do walk next to you forever.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love: A Memoir)
But I feel more powerful than ever. And more peaceful too. I am living more truthfully than I’ve ever lived. I may not be the exact portrait of womanhood that my teenage self envisaged (sophisticated and slim; wearing black dresses and drinking martinis and meeting men at book launches and exhibition openings). I may not have all the exact things I thought I’d have at thirty. Or all the things I’ve been told I should have. But I feel content; grateful for every morning that I wake up with another day on this earth and another chance to do good and feel good and make others feel good too.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love: A Memoir)
And I thought: if I feel single, wouldn't it be easier to be single? And then I wouldn't have to worry about disappointing someone or someone disappointing me? When I'm single, I know where I am. I am alone when I'm ill, but I'm not abandoned.
Dolly Alderton (Good Material)
I break myself off into different bits to give to different people, rather than being whole. I’m so restless and unsettled. I don’t know how to be without all the things I use to prop me up.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love)
No one can stay young for ever, even when youth seems such an integral part of who they are. It’s such a simple rule of being human, and yet one I regularly found impossible to grasp. Everyone gets old.
Dolly Alderton (Ghosts)
On long, lonely nights when your fears crawl over your brain like cockroaches and you can’t get to sleep, dream of the time you were loved—in another lifetime, one of toil and blood. Remember how it felt to find shelter in someone’s arms. Hope that you’ll find it again.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love: A Memoir)
Being a detective for your past - tracing back through all of it to get to the source with the help of a professional - can be incredibly useful and freeing.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love)
Nearly everything I know about love, I've learnt from my long-term friendships with women
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love)
I was grateful for understanding in that moment that life can really be as simple as just breathing in and out.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love: A Memoir)
...relationships are challenging and boring and annoying, and that’s unavoidable. You have to work through it, you can’t just opt out of the whole thing
Dolly Alderton (Good Material)
I soon realized that inevitability of every relationship: the things which initially draw you to each other become the exact things that irritate you the most.
Dolly Alderton (Good Material)
It’s all so random and unfair – the people we want to be with don’t want to be with us and the people who want to be with us are not the people we want to be with.
Dolly Alderton (Good Material)
I love how quickly you read books and how absorbed you get in a good story. I love watching you lie on the sofa reading one from cover-to-cover. It’s like I’m in the room with you but you’re in a whole other galaxy
Dolly Alderton (Good Material)
My solitude was like a gemstone. For the most part it was sparkling and resplendent – something I wore with pride. (...) But underneath this diamond of solitude was a sharp point that I occasionally caught with my bare hands, making it feel like a perilous asset rather than a precious one. Perhaps this jagged underside was essential – what made the surface of my aloneness shine so bright. But loneliness, once just sad, had recently started to feel frightening.
Dolly Alderton (Ghosts)
Because I am enough. My heart is enough. The stories and the sentences twisting around my mind are enough. I am fizzing and frothing and buzzing and exploding. I'm bubbling over and burning up. My early-morning walks and my late-night baths are enough. My loud laugh at the pub is enough. My piercing whistle, my singing in the shower, my double-jointed toes are enough. I am a just-pulled pint with a good, frothy heard on it. I am my own universe; a galaxy; a solar system. I am the warm-up act, the main event, and the backing singers. And if this is it, if this is all there is- just me and the trees and the sky and the seas- I know now that that's enough.
Dolly Alderton
Nearly everything I know about love, I’ve learned in my long-term friendships with women. Particularly the ones I have lived with at one point or another. I know what it is to know every tiny detail about a person and revel in that knowledge as if it were an academic subject. When it comes to the girls I’ve built homes with, I’m like the woman who can predict what her husband will order at every restaurant.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love: A Memoir)
Getting dumped is never really about getting dumped.' 'What is it about, then?' I ask. 'It's about every rejection you've ever experienced in your entire life. It's about the kids at school who called you names. And the parent who never came back. And the girls who wouldn't dance with you at the disco. And the school girlfriend who wanted to be single when she went to uni. And any criticism at work. When someone says they don't want to be with you, you feel the pain of every single one of those times in life where you felt like you weren't good enough. You live through all of it again.' 'I don't know how to get over it, Mum,' I say. 'At this point I'm so tired of myself. I don't know how to let go of her.' 'You don't let go once. That's your first mistake. You say goodbye over a lifetime. You might not have thought about her for ten years, then you'll hear a song or you'll walk past somewhere you once went together - something will come to the surface that you'd totally forgotten about. And you say another goodbye. You have to be prepared to let go and let go and let go a thousand times.' 'Does it get easier?' 'Much,' she says.
Dolly Alderton (Good Material)
Love is homesickness,” I once read in a book. The author’s therapist had told her that the pursuit of love in adulthood is just an expression of missing our mums and dads—that we look for intimacy and romance because we never stop wanting parental security and attention. We simply displace it.
Dolly Alderton (Ghosts)
I finally grasped the machinations and subtext of that phrase the year I turned twenty-five. When you begin to wonder if life is really just waiting for buses on Tottenham Court Road and ordering books you'll never read off Amazon; in short, you are having an existential crisis. You are realizing the mundanity of life. You are finally understanding how little point there is to anything. You are moving out of the realm of fantasy 'when I grow up' and adjusting to the reality that you're there; it's happening. And it wasn't what you thought it might be. You are not who you thought you'd be. Once you starting digging a hole of those questions, it's very difficult to take the day-to-day functionalities of life seriously.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love)
I’m fiscally conservative but socially liberal…’I’m not sure if I believe that really exists,’ I replied. ‘I know what you’re trying to say. But ‘I love the gays but don’t care about the poor’ can’t be described as liberal in any sense.
Dolly Alderton (Ghosts)
I don’t need to change my shape to make myself worthy of someone’s love. I don’t need any words or looks or comments from a man to believe I’m visible; to believe I am here. (...) Because I am enough. My heart is enough. The stories and sentences twisting around my mind are enough. My early morning walks and light night baths are enough. My singing in the shower, my double jointed toes and my loud laugh in the pub is enough. I am my own universe. I am the warm up act, the main event and the backing singers. And if this is it, if this is all there is - just me, the trees, the sky and the sea- I know now that that’s enough. I am whole. I am complete. I will never run out.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love)
Because these men wanted to want something rather than have something. Max wanted to be tortured, he wanted to yearn and chase and dream. He wanted to exist in a liminal state, like everything was just about to begin. He liked contemplating what our relationship might be like, without investing any time or commitment in our relationship.
Dolly Alderton (Ghosts)
But it would be a lie to say I think I will ever be entirely free of what happened in that time [...] You can restore your physical being to health; you can develop a ratinal, balanced, caring attitude [...] You can try as hard as you can to block it out, but sometimes, on very difficult days, it feels like you’ll never be as euphoric as that ten-year-old licking lurid jam off her fingertips, not ever again.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love)
21. It’s completely OK to focus on yourself. You’re allowed to travel and live on your own and spend all your money on yourself and flirt with whoever you like and be as consumed with your work as you want. You don’t have to get married and you don’t have to have children. It doesn’t make you shallow if you don’t want to open up and share your life with a partner. But it’s also completely not OK to be in a relationship if you know that you want to be on your own.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love)
I once heard a theory about the first relationship that occurs after a big relationship ends. It’s called the 90/10 rule. The theory goes: whatever the crucial 10 per cent is that was missing from your partner who was otherwise totally right for you is the thing you look for in the following person. That missing 10 per cent becomes such a fixation that, when you do find someone who has it, you ignore the fact they don’t have the other 90 per cent that the previous partner had.
Dolly Alderton (Good Material)
On the flight home, I daydreamed of Tottenham Court Road and ordering shit off Amazon. I thought of Farly's laugh and the sound of my flatmates getting ready for work int he morning and the smell of my mum's perfume in her hair when I hug her. I thought of the bliss mundanity of life; of what a privilege it was to live it.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love)
You cannot predict how another person is going to behave in a relationship. You can risk-assess, you can be cautious, you can make sensible decisions about who you choose to trust and invite into your life and heart. But you can’t manage the untruly variables of another living, breathing human. To choose to love is to take a risk. Always. That’s why it’s called falling – no one meanders-with-a-compass-and-Ordnance-Survey-map into love.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love)
I carried on because it was the only thing I could control. I carried on because I just wanted to be happy and everyone knows when you’re thinner, you’re happier. I carried on because, at every turn, society was rewarding me for my self-inflicted torture. I received compliments, I received propositions, I felt more accepted by people I didn’t know, nearly all clothes looked great on me. I felt like I had finally earnt the right to be taken seriously as a woman; that everything before that had been redundant. That I had been foolish to think I had ever been worthy of affection. I had equated love with thinness and, to my horror, reinforcement of this belief was everywhere. My health was plummeting, my stocks were up.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love)
None of us would ever fully grasp the extent of our magnificent unoriginality -- it would be too painful to process...There was the evidence, in all these profiles, where who we really are and who we'd like everyone to think we are were in such unsubtle tension. How clear it suddenly was that we are all the same organs, tissue and liquids packaged up in one version of a million cliches, who all have insecurities and desires; the need to feel nutured, important, understood and useful in one way or another. Non of us are special. I don't know why we fight it so much.
Dolly Alderton (Ghosts)
Day to day I have to make all sorts of choices about what is good and important and fun, and then I have to live with the forfeiture of all the other options those choices foreclose. And I’m starting to see how as time gains momentum my choices will narrow and their foreclosures multiply exponentially until I arrive at some point on some branch of all life’s sumptuous branching complexity at which I am finally locked in and stuck on one path and time speeds me through stages of stasis and atrophy and decay until I go down for the third time, all struggle for naught, drowned by time.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love: A Memoir)
They weren’t ready to be adults, to make any choices, let alone promises. They preferred a relationship to be virtual and speculative, because when it was virtual and speculative, it could be perfect. Their girlfriend didn’t have to be human. They didn’t have to think about plans or practicalities, they weren’t burdened with the concern of another person’s happiness.
Dolly Alderton (Ghosts)
Men of our generation often disappear once they’ve got a woman to say ‘I love you’ back to them, because it’s almost like they’ve completed a game. Because they’re the first boys who grew up glued to their PlayStations and Game Boys, they weren’t conditioned to develop any sense of honour and duty in adolescence the way our fathers were. PlayStations replaced parenting. They were taught to look for fun, complete the fun, then get to the next level, switch players or try a new game. They need maximum stimulation all the time. ‘I love you’ is the relationship equivalent of Level 17 of Tomb Raider 2 for a lot of millennial men.
Dolly Alderton (Ghosts)
6. You are the sum total of everything that has happened to you up until that last slurp of that cup of tea you just put down. How your parents hugged you, that thing your first boyfriend once said about your thighs – these are all bricks that have been laid from the soles of your feet up. Your eccentricities, foibles and fuck-ups are a butterfly effect of things you saw on telly, things teachers said to you and the way people have looked at you since the first moment you opened your eyes. Being a detective for your past – tracing back through all of it to get to the source with the help of a professional – can be incredibly useful and freeing.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love)
I’ve watched it time and time again—a woman always slots into a man’s life better than he slots into hers. She will be the one who spends the most time at his flat, she will be the one who makes friends with all his friends and their girlfriends. She will be the one who sends his mother a bunch of flowers on her birthday. Women don’t like this rigmarole any more than men do, but they’re better at it—they just get on with it. This means that when a woman my age falls in love with a man, the list of priorities goes from this: Family Friends To this: Family Boyfriend Boyfriend’s family Boyfriend’s friends Girlfriends of the boyfriend’s friends Friends Which means, on average, you go from seeing your friend every weekend to once every six weekends. She becomes a baton and you’re the one at the very end of the track. You get your go for, say, your birthday or a brunch, then you have to pass her back round to the boyfriend to start the long, boring rotation again. These gaps in each other’s lives slowly but surely form a gap in the middle of your friendship. The love is still there, but the familiarity is not. Before you know it, you’re not living life together anymore. You’re living life separately with respective boyfriends then meeting up for dinner every six weekends to tell each other what living is like. I now understand why our mums cleaned the house before their best friend came round and asked them “What’s the news, then?” in a jolly, stilted way. I get how that happens. So don’t tell me when you move in with your boyfriend that nothing will change. There will be no road trip. The cycle works when it comes to holidays as well—I’ll get my buddy back for every sixth summer, unless she has a baby in which case I’ll get my road trip in eighteen years’ time. It never stops happening. Everything will change.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love: A Memoir)
Rea­sons Why I Loved Be­ing With Jen I love what a good friend you are. You’re re­ally en­gaged with the lives of the peo­ple you love. You or­ga­nize lovely ex­pe­ri­ences for them. You make an ef­fort with them, you’re pa­tient with them, even when they’re side­tracked by their chil­dren and can’t pri­or­i­tize you in the way you pri­or­i­tize them. You’ve got a gen­er­ous heart and it ex­tends to peo­ple you’ve never even met, whereas I think that ev­ery­one is out to get me. I used to say you were naive, but re­ally I was jeal­ous that you al­ways thought the best of peo­ple. You are a bit too anx­ious about be­ing seen to be a good per­son and you def­i­nitely go a bit over­board with your left-wing pol­i­tics to prove a point to ev­ery­one. But I know you re­ally do care. I know you’d sign pe­ti­tions and help peo­ple in need and vol­un­teer at the home­less shel­ter at Christ­mas even if no one knew about it. And that’s more than can be said for a lot of us. I love how quickly you read books and how ab­sorbed you get in a good story. I love watch­ing you lie on the sofa read­ing one from cover-to-cover. It’s like I’m in the room with you but you’re in a whole other gal­axy. I love that you’re al­ways try­ing to im­prove your­self. Whether it’s running marathons or set­ting your­self chal­lenges on an app to learn French or the fact you go to ther­apy ev­ery week. You work hard to be­come a bet­ter ver­sion of your­self. I think I prob­a­bly didn’t make my ad­mi­ra­tion for this known and in­stead it came off as ir­ri­ta­tion, which I don’t re­ally feel at all. I love how ded­i­cated you are to your fam­ily, even when they’re an­noy­ing you. Your loy­alty to them wound me up some­times, but it’s only be­cause I wish I came from a big fam­ily. I love that you al­ways know what to say in con­ver­sa­tion. You ask the right ques­tions and you know ex­actly when to talk and when to lis­ten. Ev­ery­one loves talk­ing to you be­cause you make ev­ery­one feel im­por­tant. I love your style. I know you think I prob­a­bly never no­ticed what you were wear­ing or how you did your hair, but I loved see­ing how you get ready, sit­ting in front of the full-length mir­ror in our bed­room while you did your make-up, even though there was a mir­ror on the dress­ing ta­ble. I love that you’re mad enough to swim in the English sea in No­vem­ber and that you’d pick up spi­ders in the bath with your bare hands. You’re brave in a way that I’m not. I love how free you are. You’re a very free per­son, and I never gave you the sat­is­fac­tion of say­ing it, which I should have done. No one knows it about you be­cause of your bor­ing, high-pres­sure job and your stuffy up­bring­ing, but I know what an ad­ven­turer you are un­der­neath all that. I love that you got drunk at Jack­son’s chris­ten­ing and you al­ways wanted to have one more drink at the pub and you never com­plained about get­ting up early to go to work with a hang­over. Other than Avi, you are the per­son I’ve had the most fun with in my life. And even though I gave you a hard time for al­ways try­ing to for al­ways try­ing to im­press your dad, I ac­tu­ally found it very adorable be­cause it made me see the child in you and the teenager in you, and if I could time-travel to any­where in his­tory, I swear, Jen, the only place I’d want to go is to the house where you grew up and hug you and tell you how beau­ti­ful and clever and funny you are. That you are spec­tac­u­lar even with­out all your sports trophies and mu­sic cer­tifi­cates and in­cred­i­ble grades and Ox­ford ac­cep­tance. I’m sorry that I loved you so much more than I liked my­self, that must have been a lot to carry. I’m sorry I didn’t take care of you the way you took care of me. And I’m sorry I didn’t take care of my­self, ei­ther. I need to work on it. I’m pleased that our break-up taught me that. I’m sorry I went so mental. I love you. I always will. I'm glad we met.
Dolly Alderton (Good Material)