You can use this
button to hear
the poem read out.

TOUGH LOVE (learning to ignore Hugh Grant)

There's a thing they don't tell you – your teachers at school,
That they leave you to find on your own.
They same thing they won't tell you – your friends, all so cool,
They can't – they won't know 'til they're grown.

There are no lessons in love between history and art,
At college it's vocational courses.
Bachelor of happiness? That's not university's part,
For this stuff, we need different sources.

Your parents won't help you,
Though of course they mean well,
But to speak truths like this takes some grit,
And they wish it were true,
They don't want to dispel,
The myth that being teenage isn't shit.

So we turn to the rom-com,
To lessons from the silver screen,
To Hugh Grant, to see how it's done.
This is where our knowledges is from,
Illustrated scene-by-scene,
And with Hugh, it's bound to be fun.

We see our hero, perhaps cocky, perhaps shy,
We watch as he meets the main girl,
See him fall for her, and then to win her he'll try,
But how does it always unfurl?

The heroine, of course, will melt his smile.
She has to – we've paid her to do this,
But this bliss will last only a while,
And why? Because he was remiss.

We are shown that it was his fault.

He forgot her birthday, yelled out the wrong name,
Or haplessly murdered her cat.
He didn't deserve her – it's the rules of the game.
The point is, that he was the rat.

The reason she leaves him – it's all perfectly fair,
This is justice, and logic, and fact,
His actions lacked love, showed he just didn't care,
So he's lonely at start of third act.

The popcorn's now eaten, though we're left with the smell.
Oh Hugh, Hugh! Now what will you do?
You can't let her marry that lawyer chap.
She could love you, really, we know, we can tell,
Even though she gave you that slap.

The writers apply the formula, the one we all know,
Our whole culture teaches us this.
Hugh reads out his lines, does everything so,
It inevitably leads to that kiss.

He just has to prove that his love is deep,
Then she has to surrender, it's written.
The rules state that she's his now to keep.
He wins her because HE is smitten.

Oh, my culture, my culture you lie.
That's not how it works, that is cruel.
Dear emoing teen, with resent in your eye,
Ignore Hugh – he was just acting, you fool.

Romantic love casts a powerful spell,
Via hormones, synapses, and – well – Hugh.
Believe it, and you're not mentally well,
And you're not going to like what is true.

The hex makes you feel an illusion, no more,
“If she knew the depth of my love, she'd love me.”
No. I'm afraid, that's not what love's for.
It evolved for a purpose, you see.

But that function was not to fill you with joy,
Or to give great composers all the best notes,
Guide the hands of the painters into perfect brush strokes,
Boost the feet of the dancers, so that every step floats.
No, boy.
The function of love is mundane and flat.
It's for passing on genes – no more than that.

It blinds us to the faults of others,
So that fathers stick around with mothers.
It binds a family, so that babes in arms,
Get nurtured despite their lack of charms.
They poo, and cry, and dribble, and cry, and keep this up for years.
Love is the drug that parents take to cope with all the tears.

You have a sex-drive, and an aching desire,
To find your perfect match,
And if you find her, she might stoke passion's fire,
But I said “if”, and there's the catch.

In your confused misery you may wallow,
Or I've a pill for you to swallow.
It's bitter, yes, but it will do you good.
You'll be less morose, once you've understood.

What works for Hugh, won't work for you.

If you like her, fine, you might win a friend.
If you love her, that could well spell the end.
Don't prove your love, don't start sky-writing yet.
Don't show her you're tongue-tied, when you've hardly met.
For bumbling Hugh, it' a love-dart-shooting fairy,
But coming from you, she'll just find it scary.
Love makes your speech stutter, not sharper,
Hearing that, she'll think “nutter” and scarper.

Yes, it's pain. Take it, or it will get worse.
Love at your stage is only a curse.
Come the day you are with her, love will be good,
Every day bring her flowers, as the good husband should,

But you hold no stock.
Your love market is tanking.
I don't mean to mock,
But have you tried wanking?


My favourite films are not rom-coms. They are too predictable. This poem points out one rather major flaw in their logic. We shouldn't look to the cinema for lessons in love.


Click here to go back to the home page