Based on 800 real anonymous love stories submitted online, I Want To Know What Love Is throws a spotlight on long-buried memories, bedroom fantasies, crushes and conquests, as secret confessions are transformed into grand declarations on centre stage.
The acclaimed theatre piece by The Good Room (Daniel Evans & Amy Ingram), Lauren Clelland, Caroline Dunphy and Kieran Swann will hit the stage for a return season from 16-19 December at Brisbane Powerhouse’s Wonderland festival.
“I Want to Know What Love Is throws the spotlight on some of the greatest love stories and confessions of strangers ever told,” says creator Daniel Evans. “From crushes to conquests, first loves to feverish one night stands, the happily-ever-after to the downright dejected.
“We were overwhelmed by the response from the premiere season, and I think that speaks to the security blanket that is the anonymous online submission. So many people across Australia submitted their stories to us, and we feel honoured to platform those stories in this work.
“While the work is about love, it’s also about everything around it that puts the grandness of love in relief; the embarrassment, the pain, the anger, the unrequited yearning. This is a work that allows the audience to see themselves on stage, confirming that we are all out there awkwardly trying our best to negotiate the surprising and wondrous – if rocky – terrain that is love and heartbreak.”
Of course, when the show’s creators asked people to submit their anonymous love stories, they opened the floodgates for all sorts of weird and wonderful confessions.
Here are 10 of the strangest anonymous submissions they received…
I fell in love with a teacher once in high school.
I would Google his license plate, to see what information I would get. I would type his name in the search bar of Myspace and Facebook, to look at his profile and pictures. I would ask him what his star sign was, so I could read his horoscopes.
I would even do chores like asking him if I can put his water bottle in the bin outside, when really I would hide it in the bush and after class, I would put the bottle in my bag, take it home, take the lid off and lick around the rim of the bottle. An indirect kiss.
I wrote poems about him. I would walk past his class when he was teaching, to get his attention. I would purposefully hang out in the areas of the school yard where he had to supervise. I would research about bodyboarding, because I knew he liked the sport, and the next day I would regurgitate that information to impress him.
I would get good grades in his class, the best grades in the subject he taught, to impress him and I would do extra curricular activities to show him I can do everything. I wanted to catch up to him.
When I found out he had a girlfriend, I fell into depression. I had to see the school counsellor and I told her all about it. She advised me to forget all about it, otherwise I would be expelled.
I loved him for two years after that, until I graduated. I wrote him a love letter, snuck into the teachers staff room and placed it on his desk.
I also entered my letter in a writing competition with the theme being ‘love’.
So a friend gives me their number and when I text them, it turns out to be a wrong number. Wrong Number (WN) calls me and sounds a bit bogan so I hang up. Clarify the mistake and then text WN back to apologise for mixup. WN says “well now the ice is broken, we should get a drink”.
I’m cautious but you know when you’re lonely and had a dry spell? So I think, okay, I’ll give this guy a go. So I ask him his name and where he lives. He asks for a photo, so I send a headshot. He sends back a d**kpic (I assume it’s a d**kpic as it’s a photo looking up from that region to his face with a flesh coloured blob in the bottom corner).
Anyway, I send a text back asking what it was supposed to be. Then I send a text politely stating that we seem to have different ideas about this drink, the d**kpic was unnecessary and I’m looking for a nice guy. I get a text back stating “look I love a drink, but I can’t drink enough to make you look good (;”
Well. That was enough to really get my blood boiling. Surely this idiot was not trying to imply that I was not attractive enough to fit his taste!! WITH A WINK AT THE END!!! So I write back “All you had to say was I’m not your type a**hole. You’re not my type either but I was willing to give you a chance. Thanks for the material, you will be known as “Wrong Number” for eternity.”
Now I didn’t get a response from the d**khead, but I posted a status on Facebook to let my friends know that anyone who wanted to spam him on Facebook on my behalf to teach him a lesson to hit on perfectly attractive people for no good reason other than their feelings were hurt because I couldn’t tell if it was his d**k in the picture, could feel well within their rights to go ahead and spam away.
I then thought what perfect timing to share my story because now he really will be forever etched as the Wrong Number A**hole.
Living in the ’70s
There is absolutely love at first sight. At a 4th of July celebration party in Waverton, Sydney, we saw each other across the room. We both crawled over to each other (why we were on the floor I fail to recall but I am sure there was a valid reason).
We have been together ever since. No, that’s not entirely true. We have been together since marrying 29 years ago. The first ten years of being in love were not in wedlock.
Rather, it was a 1970s relationship, and we all know what that means…
My one night stand turned into eight years and counting.
Love can grow from nothing OR it can grow from five pints of beer, a joint and a Kayne West song.
I’m in love with my car
I had to destroy my love last week.
In the past four years I have lived in five houses, have only seen my family once or twice a year, and have gained and lost many friends.
This car was my constant.
I laughed in her, cried in her, kissed in her, crashed in her. She was the only thing that never changed.
Last week we gave up on each other. But I will never forget her. She will always be my first and greatest car.
Is it weird to call it love?
Music & lyrics
I went out with this guy for about two months, realised I didn’t fancy him anymore so I broke up with him one night. He told me he people didn’t break up with him, that he didn’t do friendship and that there’s no getting him back once the decision was made. One of the many reasons we broke up.
The next day I got a text from him declaring that he was in love with me and that he would win me back. I ignored it.
Three days later I was about to head out when someone knocked on the door. I opened it to find him standing there, goofy grin on his face, arm outstretched. I was slightly turned off. He demanded that I follow him into the backyard.
He led me out the back of my place, put me next to a tree and told me to wait there.
Five minutes later he came running back with a guitar and proceeded to sing ‘I want to grow old with you’ from The Wedding Singer. Except he changed the words to ‘I want to grow a little bit older with you.’ Classy.
We didn’t get back together. He blocked me on Facebook. I never saw him again.
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys
Alistair was a cowboy with a lisp.
I had a crush on him for two years when I was 17 which was excruciating. We got together in long hot summer holidays and he told me he didn’t want a girlfriend before riding off into the sunset with his new girlfriend.
The horse had to be put back in the stables when they got pregnant five months later and Alistair could no longer be a cowboy but had to work and support his family while studying vet science.
Plenty more cowboys in the sea.
When I was on holidays with my mates in Japan I went to a love hotel. But not the type you’d expect.
In this love hotel, there was no sex. But a whole menu of services that provide the type of intimacy you’d experience in a loving relationship. They call it ‘the girlfriend experience.’
I thought it would be cool to see what it was like. YOLO… right?!
So I perused the menu and decided on the ‘hugging face to face’ option, 30 minutes. There was also the ‘staring into each other’s eyes’ option, and the ‘spooning’ option, and many more.
I entered the room and lay down in bed with this cute Japanese girl. She smiled at me, took my hands and held them, and then looked into my eyes — right into them.
It was so confronting and uncomfortable. It lasted about 20 seconds before I couldn’t handle any more. I freaked out and bailed.
There is something so terrifying about looking into a strangers eyes. I don’t know what it is.
I’d have rather f**ked her. It would have been easier.
I met a guy on Grindr. He has a thing for giving blow jobs to strangers. When I went to his apartment I was the fourth guy that day. He was extremely handsome. Gorgeous. I developed a thing for him immediately but played it cool. I messaged afterwards, “That was fun.”
We exchanged sexual messages over the next few weeks — I’m imagining our life together and what lies I will tell about how we met. I make an off hand comment about slapping him, I can’t even remember what I said it was such a nothing, but he responded to that. He now thinks I’m into light violence.
He disappeared however. For weeks. I checked my favourites regularly to ensure he hadn’t blocked me – he hadn’t. I was confused and wandered by his place to check how many metres away he was. His profile was not online. Moving on, I checked Grindr less frequently. I forgot about him.
Several weeks later I get a text. I had given him my number though I didn’t have his, turns out he had retained it. “Hi. I’m back from Nepal on Thursday, are you free?”
I’m seeing him again. Maybe drinks first this time? I have to transition this from cheap blowjobs to romance.
Hopefully this message will be included in the play and I can bring him along. It can be the anonymous equivalent of a public marriage proposal, or at least the proposal that maybe we do more than suck my d**k.
If it doesn’t work out, at least I can be happy that I received a booty call from Nepal.
I am willing to start getting papsmears if it means I get to keep having sex with my boyfriend.
I Want To Know What Love Is plays at Brisbane Powerhouse from Wednesday 16 December to Saturday 19 December as part of Wonderland. For tickets, visit brisbanepowerhouse.org.