March 21, 2024

Lord Byron by Richard Westall

Lord Byron by Richard Westall

Source: Public Domain

Of all the lovely things and habits that Big Tech has deprived humans of by turning us into electronic robots, the one I miss the most is the love letter. Those sleepy types who go by the name of millennials have declared letter writing over, with the great majority of them ages 18 to 35 proudly admitting in a recent poll that they have never written an epistle, let alone a love letter.

So, what else is new? All one needs to do is look at these freaky types staring into their smartphones, their mouths half open and their eyes half shut, to know they will never sit down and write a love letter to someone of the opposite sex. In Britain, the leader of the opposition, Keith Starmer, and soon-to-be prime minister, could not even answer when asked in Parliament to define what is a woman. He was so scared of the trans lobby that he hemmed and hawed and never answered.

“Because of modern technology, the love letter has gone the way of good manners. And that is a great pity.”

Well, a woman is a person a man writes love letters to, and if this sounds very old-fashioned to emoji users, that’s just too bad. Defying modernity is the coolest of the cool, so if any of you young whippersnappers out there are having female problems, just sit right down and write her a love letter. The power of the love letter is incredible, and no member of the weaker sex has ever been able to resist it. And no member of the fairer sex has ever sold the love letter short. In fact, I shall go as far as to call the love letter the neutron bomb of heterosexual, romantic sex.

One lady of my acquaintance once wrote that in a case of fire she would first save her love letters and to hell with her jewelry. (You can always get new jewels.) She called love letters the campaign medals of youth, “infinitely varied in design and execution, one off, and made to measure.”

Personally, I have not received many love letters, but I have sure sent my share. All of them have been written at night, under the influence, and while exasperated with unrequited love.

In a real love letter, punctuation and grammar don’t matter all that much—the tone is all. In fact, if the besotted one wrote a perfectly constructed letter, he or she would not be as besotted as they think they are. The effort required to convey one’s feelings with precision is what makes the love letter difficult to write. The greatest and most tragic of poets, John Keats, may have died a virgin, but his letters to Fanny Browne were as good as his poems.

A love letter is a poem of sorts, like a fine madness compelling the writer to say things he or she would otherwise never say. Napoleon wrote nonstop love letters to Josephine, always complaining that she did not love him. The great Napoleon was right. Josephine was always cheating on him while he was away in Italy and Egypt fighting wars.

Because of modern technology, the love letter has gone the way of good manners. And that is a great pity. Love letters stay forever; telephone calls are gone with the dawn, even if they are recorded. I wrote my first love letter to a famous movie star and waited by the telephone for an answer. When she rang, the first question was how old I was. I added seven years to my 18. It worked. As in the famous movie, it was the start of a beautiful friendship.

Eventually, I patented one love letter and used it freely. It is called the R&J letter. It goes something like this: “Dear X. There’s a marvelous line in Romeo and Juliet when Romeo—having avenged Mercutio’s death—is advised to flee Verona. “But Heaven’s here, where Juliet lives,” he cries. However corny and sudden this may sound, this is how I’ve felt for you since the moment I met you. Love, T.”

Needless to say, one time two ladies who had received love letters from me decided to compare notes and realized that only the names were changed. I became a laughingstock. Never mind. You can’t win them all. After sixty years of writing love letters, I think I’m way up front. Hang up, sit down, write a good love letter, and give me some credit once they work. Just don’t type them or use the dreaded internet. Use pen and paper, no ballpoints, and no scent if you’re a man. Ladies are free to pour it in. Good luck.


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