Be You: Valentine’s Day special
We meet two real-life double acts who share their thoughts on love and more
Happy Valentine’s Day. It’s the mushiest day of the year and we’re all about embracing it, in all its (corny) glory. How? By hitting the streets to get your take on love. Join us as we meet two real-life double acts – one loved-up couple and a super-sassy grandma and granddaughter duo who give us their take on love, Valentine’s Day and more.
Introducing Jamie (left) and Phillip (right). Jamie’s 44 and an actor and choreographer, specialising in aerial choreography. Phillip’s 41 and a project manager for education and foreign language projects.
“We’ve been together forever: seven thousand years. Well, actually twelve… going on seven thousand years. We’re not married yet. People would like us to be. Everyone’s like ‘when are you going to get married?’ but we’ve never been too fussed.”
“We met out on the town – just off Leicester Square – in a bar that isn’t there anymore called Trash Palace. It was basically through a mutual friend, but it was one of those nights where it was just a series of accidental meetings. There was a whole bunch of friends where everyone knew someone in the group, but there was a whole bunch of people who didn’t know each other. So we sat down and got talking and started to get to know each other, and decided to go on a date. Our first date was at a Cuban Festival on the Southbank. It was a really good first date, actually. Phillip chose the venue.”
“We enjoy getting out together in nature when we can. We’ve got a lot of it around us so we go for walks or to the seaside – a little place called Deal which is really cute. And we like eating. We do a lot of that because Phillip cooks a lot. That and watching Madonna and Janet Jackson videos. And fawning over cats.”
“Our style? Phillip likes natural materials, like cottons and things that are well-fitted, and kind of smart-ish: smart-casual. Whereas Jamie has always been quite bohemian and likes a nice eclectic mix of things that are a little bit smart but messy and colourful. He likes T-shirts with animals on and wearing different colour schemes. Right now, he’s going through this kind of green and gold colour scheme.”
“We think being you means being at ease with yourself and being comfortable. A bit individual, too. And love means being able to have quite difficult times with each other but being able to come through them together. Supporting each other through difficult times but growing through challenges. It’s as much as it’s about the fun and fluffy, lovey-dovey stuff as the work you put in. Because if you didn’t love someone enough, you wouldn’t be willing to do that work.”
“You know when you’ve really connected with someone when your heart opens. It’s not always necessarily romantic… you just feel you’ve really connected with someone. You feel lifted a little bit – on a slightly higher vibration from the rest of the time. Suddenly a little bit more alive. But it’s only when you realise that you’ve got it that you’re lifted, if that makes sense. You could carry on going through life without it and think you’re fine, but you just realise the difference when you have that come-to-life moment.”
“We don’t do a massive thing to celebrate Valentine’s Day, like a lot of people do, but we do make an effort to do something. We treat each other on by going out somewhere: maybe the theatre or an experience. Something we can remember.”
“The best Valentine’s present I (Phillip) ever got was this stuffed wolf Jamie gave me. He’s called Wilbur. Now he lives in the zen room. We’ve got a zen room. We use it for mediating. And storing clothes.”
Love is the most important thing to be able to experience and it would be
tragic if you
couldn't feel it
Meet Sheila (left) and Alex (right). At 80, Sheila is a recently retired teacher and Alex, 22, is an actress. This double act are grandmother and granddaughter.
“What do we enjoy doing together the most? Drinking. Joking. But Nan did put vodka in my hot chocolate on the day of my uni exams to calm me down. That’s what you’d call old school parenting. But seriously, probably dog walking. And hanging out at Hope Cove.”
“I (Sheila) lead quite a busy life in my village. There’s the Women’s Institute and doing costumes for the am-dram group. And tap dancing. And Gorilla trekking. Not to mention Ben Nevis Climbing. I don’t like to hang around. It keeps me going.”
“The best thing about being British is the fact that you’ve got a variety of experiences on your doorstep. And being so open to different cultures. It’s multicultural. So many of Nan’s friends are from abroad and she loves having their influences on her life. Even in her cooking.”
“If I (Sheila) could offer one piece of advice to my younger self, it would be: be positive. And have an inquiring mind. And mine (Alex) would be stop trying to please everyone else. I think that’s something I struggled with as a teenager. And always be kind. I think that’s so important, in whatever you do.”
“Love means happiness beyond anything else. I think it’s something you can’t explain and isn’t just limited to a partner. It’s that feeling when you just… you just can’t tell someone how much they mean to you or what you’d be without them. It can even be your dog. It’s the most important thing to be able to experience and it would be tragic if you couldn’t feel love of any sort.”
“Describe love in three words? Well it would have to be patience, support, understanding. And love should always be unconditional.”
“The best date I (Alex) ever had was on Valentine’s Day. It was the first Valentine’s Day with my boyfriend George. He said he wasn’t feeling well and he wasn’t really around. I didn’t really know what our plans were that evening because I’m not one of those girls that’s like, ‘we must do something’. That’s just not me at all.”
“So I was really chill about it and just waited to see what happened once I’d got back from uni, to my student house. I went up to my room, opened the door and he’d bought up a table, put a cloth over it and there were candles everywhere. There was dinner, all cooked, and a bottle of champagne. And I was literally just like, ‘can I keep you forever?’. It was just so unexpected. And we’d only been together six, seven months.”
Cute, hey? What’s your best Valentine’s Day experience? We’d love to hear them all in the comment box below.