You can’t help who you fall in love with?
Oh, yes you can. Especially if it’s someone hugely inappropriate.
Because sometimes, that all hallowed, all-sacred emotion we put so much story by, even kill or die for, is actually a dangerous, deluded obsession. And things get done in love’s name which sully that many splendoured thing.
That phrase, that ridiculous, Mills & Boone excuse, is busily being trotted out in defence of shamed maths teacher Jeremy Forrest, now in prison for abducting the 15 year old pupil he was having sex with. It is held by blinkered, bystanding romanticists who are having the woolly jumper pulled over their eyes by Romeo and Juliet-style stories in the national papers - and by members of the two families involved who seek to cloud the real issue for the sake of their own pride.
An elderly lady I know read of the girl’s determination to marry Forrest and told me: “They love each other. He shouldn’t have gone to prison.” I asked what she would have thought had it happened to her own daughter at 15; she did a U-turn.
You’d expect Forrest’s sister to jump to her 30-year-old brother’s defence - though how flawed is her reasoning that is wasn’t paedophilia because the girl was not 11, but 15? But now the girl’s father says he wants to shake Forest’s hand, thank him for “looking after” his daughter and walk her down the aisle. What an idiot.
Just because Forrest, and his pupil utter the L Word does not make this a love story. The NSPCC is furious. It believes the media are feeding the romantic fantasy of both Forrest and the schoolgirl - and encouraging society to condone what, when the hearts and flowers are stripped away, is a tragic, grubby story of abuse of trust and loss of innocence.
Forrest is either deluded, or seeking to delude. If his feelings had been more than sexual, he wouldn’t have touched his pupil, let alone have sex with her in his wife’s bed.
He broke the most hallowed rule of teaching. Pupils are entrusted to your care, not your car for a leg-over.