You read Modern Love. Everyone reads Modern Love: it’s a thing you do if you listen to NPR and watch PBS and enjoy New York based publications. You read Modern Love.
More than read, we all want to be Modern Love. We want to have our words on the subject printed, shared with the world and a Brian Rea illustration to show that we love, we live. Even those of us without intimate relationships or with stressed families want to be in Modern Love. It is a statement of existence today.
This rallying point for love has been around since 2004 and has drawn readers around the world in to stare through different loving glasses. Amy Krouse Rosenthal‘s glasses were perhaps the rosiest blue.
A little over ten days ago, Rosenthal’s essay “You May Want To Marry My Husband” was published. She died yesterday. Her entry into Modern Love is an essay written to solicit a new girlfriend or wife or partner for her husband as she fought ovarian cancer. To memorialize their relationship, marking her time with Jason, her husband, she created a very public dating profile for him. It’s a knot of emotion.
Here is the kind of man Jason is: He showed up at our first pregnancy ultrasound with flowers. This is a man who, because he is always up early, surprises me every Sunday morning by making some kind of oddball smiley face out of items near the coffeepot: a spoon, a mug, a banana.
This is a man who emerges from the minimart or gas station and says, “Give me your palm.” And, voilà, a colorful gumball appears. (He knows I love all the flavors but white.)
My guess is you know enough about him now. So let’s swipe right.
Gulp. Wipes tears from eyes, even though I’ve read this three times already.
The story of Amy’s love is limitless. The two of them have the type of relationship that we all aspire to, that Modern Love is so good at articulating, guiding the light through a prism to find the most concentrated version of truth in relationships. Rosenthal’s essay is not only a note of hope that, regardless of your time and place, you are found but that love is great when it’s super fucking cheesy, dopey, stupid in its lack of pretense. The type of relationship she and her husband had is the type of behind-closed-doors adoration that no one else quite understands. It’s the tickles when no one is looking. It’s the surprises of homemade gifts. It’s the making a meal for someone else just because they are your other person.
It’s a testament of modern love, the idea and the column. We can all hope to be that lovely. You can read Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s obituary here.