The Seven Ages of Love

The seven ages of love: 50s

I have been in love continuously since I was 15. I must love to be in love. Or, maybe it is still a novelty. I was born and raised in Kampala, Uganda. For us, Asian Shia Muslims, marriages were smart deals between families based on economic advantage and genetic improvement. Marrying up was a good move a dark boy getting a fair girl even better. My generation inspired by pop songs and Hollywood was the first to reject arranged marriages and go for Romance, big time.

Love doctor: What's sex got to do with it?

Are love and sex inextricably linked? My dad was a love-and-sex man. At least I think he was. He certainly wasn't the kind of guy to say "phwooar!" (if that's how it's spelt). And he was never unfaithful to his partners. My mother, on the other hand, was a sex-without-love person. When they divorced, my father, on talking to the head of the Royal College of Art, where she worked, was asked by the principal how he could have stood all her affairs. "Oh, it wasn't affairs, it was only flirting," said my father. "Flirting?" replied the principal, his eyes bulging. "My dear man, your wife went to bed with everyone in the college, myself included!"

The seven ages of love: 70s

When you're in your seventies, love has a long memory; I grew up at a time when sex was secret, lives were private and your parents didn't approve. Sex before marriage was either fast and furtive, or romantically dangerous. There was no pill but no Aids either. As a young woman I knew little about my own body but plenty about my troubled emotions. As a child during the war I saw the pain of separation and loss. I grew up to the strains of "We'll Meet Again", "Some Day I'll Find You" and Snow White's "Some Day My Prince Will Come". I saw it as a search for an ideal: Mr Right. Mr Darcy. Big mistake.