What Is This Thing Called Love?

What is this thing called love? I know, I know, the previous sentence and title of this post is a title of the song, “What Is This Thing Called Love?“. It’s a jazz tune written by Cole Porter in 1929 for the musical, “Wake Up And Dream.” The tune has now become a jazz standard. As someone who likes jazz, I listen to a lot of it (randomly) on my iPod and I often hear one of my eleven different versions.

Frank Sinatra

Here are the last two verses of Cole Porter’s song, “What Is This Thing Called Love?” If you would like to see and hear a YouTube version of Frank Sinatra singing these two verses, please click here.

what is this thing called love
this funny thing
called love
just who can solve its mystery
why should it make
a fool of me?

I saw you there
one wonderful day
you took my heart
and threw it away
that’s why I ask the lord
in heaven above
what is this thing
called love?

So, what is this thing called love? Implications from the above two verses of the song, allows me to conclude that love is a funny thing, can make a fool of me, and will take my heart and throw it away. Well, that’s a fun interpretation, but I doubt if the parts I have picked from the song will add much insight to the question or its answer.

I really want to understand what love is from my point of view. On the surface, it seems like it should be a simple thing, but the more I think of it, the more I’m not sure. Love has so many different meanings. At least, when I looked for definitions and descriptions, I found an incredible amount of diversity. So, what is love (to me)?

Love can be anywhere and everywhere! :-)

Well, love is not friendship, but friendship can be a part of love. Love is not thoughtfulness, but thoughtfulness can be a part of love. Love is not tenderness, but tenderness can be a part of love. Love is not a relationship, but a relationship can be a part of love. As you can see, once I start a sentence with what love is not, I am able to say that what it isn’t, is part of what it is. Wow!

The most common antonym of love is hate. Having stated that, I believe that love is so complex that hate, as an antonym, is insufficient. If I don’t love, it doesn’t necessarily follow that I hate. If I don’t hate, it doesn’t necessarily mean that I love. This love-thing is really hard to nail down. At last, I think I can see what Cole Porter was “getting at” when he wrote: WHAT IS THIS THING CALLED LOVE?

Let’s approach this from a different angle, or point of view. Instead of trying to explain what love is, I’m going to use some quotes that I favor about love and then add comments.


First, from Mark Twain.

“Love is the irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired.”

Uhmm. A desire to be desired. Yes, especially when irresistible is added. Love is a strong desire in humans that seems to be universal.


Number two is from Elizabeth Browning.

“Love doesn’t make the world go round, love is what makes the ride worthwhile.”

I really like this way of viewing love. It speaks to love as something like spice is to food. Here’s another way to view it, using a food metaphor: “love is like an excellent dessert to an otherwise, average meal.”


Number three is from Amantine Lucile Dupin, whose pseudonym is George Sand.

“There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved.”

This quote is insightful due to singling out love as unique in human emotion. If we would change happiness to unhappiness, then the result, no matter what other emotion we used, would not be complete.


Number four is from the Talmud.

“Where love is, no room is too small.”

Have you ever thought about being in a room and choosing who you want with you? No matter what size the room? Uhmmmm…..


Number five is from Dr. Seuss.

“When you are in Love you can’t fall asleep because reality is better than your dreams.”

I realize this is “metaphorically speaking,” but I think it really hits home regarding love. In love is a feeling that takes precedence over all other aspects of our life. We can’t dream it better. Nicely stated, Dr. Seuss!

The rest of the quotes are anonymous. I list them without comment. They are all sayings that I like and feel have value in helping us with a better answer for the question: What is this thing called love?


“Just because someone doesn’t love you in the way you want them to, doesn’t mean that they don’t love you with all they’ve got. “


“Love is friendship set on fire.”


“My love for you is a journey; 
Starting at forever, 
And ending at never.”


“Love puts the fun in together, 
The sad in apart, 
The hope in tomorrow, 
The joy in the heart.”


We were given: Two hands to hold. Two legs to walk. Two eyes to see. Two ears to listen. But why only one heart? Because the other was given to someone else. For us to find.


So, again, what is this thing called love? After considering everything presented in this post, perhaps the best response is that love can only be explained by the person who asks the question. In other words, the meaning of love is entirely created and exists uniquely in the mind of each individual person who seeks the meaning of love. Like “art is in the eyes of the beholder,” this thing called love is in the mind of the beholder! :-)


3 Comments on “What Is This Thing Called Love?”

  1. Its a delicate feeling to show and express your longings, it’s happiness felt by your heart and emotions, its a want to express your attachment to someone


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