Saving the Times’ ‘Modern Love’ Column for Last

by Mallary Tenore Tarpley

I have a method for reading the newspaper: it involves reading my favorite sections last.

When reading the Sunday New York Times, saving “the best” for last means setting aside the Sunday Styles’ section — eye candy for anyone interested in quirky trends, love stories and fashion.

The styles section colors outside the lines of love, particularly in its “Modern Love” column, which exposes the imperfect, darker and funnier sides of relationships, or lack thereof. By the column’s end, you realize love is far from being perfect. Boyfriends and girlfriends fight. Couples get divorced. Men cheat on their wives, women on their husbands. The column gives off a sense, though, that despite all of love’s imperfections, it’s still worth embracing; at its core, love teaches us lessons about life and makes us feel connected to the world around us — not necessarily because we’ve shared the same experiences as someone else, but because we all have an understanding of what it’s like to be loved, or to yearn for love.

Some of my favorite “Modern Love” columns have little to do with my own experiences, but they nonetheless resonate with me. The ones that come to mind are about a young sex addict, a man who went from being an ugly frog in his younger years to a handsome grown prince, and a girl who Googled a guy before dating him, only to find that it completely backfired on her. I just learned that the column will soon feature essays from college students who will explain what love means to them.

“Modern Love” clearly isn’t the newsiest part of the paper, but it’s a nice break from all the stories about economic woes, homelessness, corruption, etc. If you’re not familiar with the column, check it out and see if you think my high rating of it holds true. You may just find a column that resonates with you.