a girl's guide to love

Falling in love? Falling out of love? Worried about who to snog, marry or avoid? i-D Features Editor Bertie Brandes presents her guide to love.

by Bertie Brandes
Nov 4 2014, 11:37am

Christian MacDonald

In the Girls Guide to Growing Up I only managed to touch briefly on the overwhelmingly huge topic of love because I was quite busy talking about how it's fine to not know what you want to do at 25. Which it is. It so is. Dad. Also, weirdly enough all the trials and tribulations that come with falling in love can't be distilled into one, badly structured paragraph. Annoying. Anyway, rather than leave life in your own incapable hands, I thought it might be a good idea to write an extended version concerned primarily with matters of the heart.

If life is a rollercoaster (eternally wise words Ronan) then love is the Pepsi Max Drop; there's only one way to go and hint: it's down. What at 15 is absolutely thrilling leaves you as a bewildered adult wondering why you actively sought out the feeling of having your heart in your stomach half the time and in your mouth the other. But hey, you're going to do it, I'm going to do it, maybe we'll do it together, so for all of our benefit here is my guide to L-O-V-E love. Cue any Al Green song. 

falling in love
When Cher sang "How can I tell if he loves me so?" it struck a chord with loads of people including me and Whitney Houston because falling in love is confusing and different to just fancying each other but I'm not sure how or why. Older and lets be honest quite patronising people often say things like "when it's love, you'll just know" *smug grin*, because to them falling in love is apparently the same as activating the anti-locking brake in your car or having a conversation about orgasms with a group of 17-year-old girls. Well sorry grownups and weird friends who have been with the same person since they were 13, but from my foray into the world of true love and fake love and love with someone who loves other people at the same time but the same amount (yeah I wasn't convinced either) I've learned that you won't know if somebody truly loves you until they're dry-heave crying outside a petrol station on Mare Street grabbing for your legs as you try to escape. Also, the good part of falling in love is so magical that you won't be able to eat for a month because you're sick with nerves and also because you're scared of catching STDs and also because you're scared of accidentally passing on STDs. And that's the honeymoon period.

being in love
Is actually great and even I, in the throes of bitterness, am begrudgingly willing to accept that. Being in love for real is kind of like having a Labrador puppy you can make out with. Suddenly there's this adorable person who thinks you're better than their parents, wants to lick you all over and is totally fine with you smuggling spaghetti carbonara into the cinema. If you want to stay in love for as long as possible before you inevitably start hating each other (see below) then try not to load them with the weight of your entire life or shoulder the burden of theirs. Don't spill your dinner on the duvet because some people find that gross, and don't ever, ever bring up who you think is responsible for the London riots. Oh also basic obvious stuff like don't text other people you fancy and then do that little smirk when they ask who you're talking to because you will look back at yourself doing that and feel really silly and embarrassed.

falling out of love
After a while everyone you've ever hung out and had sex with for an extended period of time i.e. more than a year will probably begin to loathe you, or vice versa. If you're really lucky the dull pang of revulsion will be mutual, either way it's going to suck. Unlike the wailing drama of teenage heartbreak which was secretly sort of brilliant and meant you got to weep in phone boxes, adult breakups are more along the lines of "take the Le Creuset, I don't even care" and "don't ask me, ask the Deposit Protection Scheme". There are only a few things you can do when faced with dire adult heartbreak, and they are, in no particular order: take a bath and wash your hair (do this first actually because you won't have done it for ages), stop eating or start eating depending on which route you took two days ago, find eight people you semi-fancy and text them all loads even though only 10 percent are really snoggable, snog 10 percent of them (it doesn't matter which), leave the country. Also, take the Le Creuset.

not falling in love
Once you've had a taste of heartbreak you could be really sensible and decide you're not going to fall in love with anyone ever again. Well you know what? That's fine, you do that, but unfortunately being afflicted with the human condition that we are, not falling in love isn't that much of a long-term option. The problem is you are probably really quite charming and sparkly and special and so are lots of other people and some of them probably want to drink Jack Daniels with you on bonfire night and oops suddenly you're strapping yourself in and you can hear the cranking of the chains and you're climbing up to the top of the Pepsi Max Drop all over again and you should probably think about not eating the rest of that hot dog but everything's sort of amazing and well anyway I tried.


Text Bertie Brandes
Photography Christian MacDonald 
Styling Jacob K
Hair Tina Outen at Streeters.
Make-up Petros Petrohilos at Streeters.
Photography assistance Simon Bremner, Christian Bragg.
Digital technician Jon Stokes.
Styling assistance Clemence Lobert, Fan Hong.
Hair assistance Laurence Walker.
Make-up assistance Vassilis Theotokis.
Production Kathryn Scahill.
Casting Angus Munro at AM Casting (Streeters NY).
Model Kati Nescher at VIVA London. 

Al Green
international women's day
Bertie Brandes
Le Creuset
Jacob K
christian macdonald
a girl's guide to love