Reading the newly released love letter that Barack Obama sent when he was a student, says Celia Walden in The Daily Telegraph, my first thought was: “Dude, you really need to lighten up a bit.” Sure, the former president has always been a “lofty, cerebral” type – but shouldn’t student ramblings be all “froth, clichés and Spandau Ballet lyrics”? Not for 21-year-old Barack, clearly, who wrote to his ex-girlfriend Alex McNear that “I make love to men daily, but in the imagination”. Cue 50 million Google searches for “Is Obama gay?” and countless chat show hosts asking if this is an “admission of homosexuality”. Personally, I’ve been left pondering a completely different question: who would share their ex’s love letters?
It’s an “unthinkable, crass, shameful” thing to do, no matter how famous your former lover becomes. Scratch that – it’s “more despicable” if they become famous, because you’re just adding your betrayal to a whole heap that they will already have suffered. I have a “Miss Havisham-style shoe box” of old letters, mix tapes and cinema stubs I would never show a soul – not my girlfriends, my daughter or my husband. Because however “unimportant or fleeting” these youthful relationships were, they still deserve to be “cordoned off, sacred”. The idea of someone snickering at my ex who would write me poems “after a few too many vodka Red Bulls” is simply unthinkable. We’re all ridiculous when we’re young and in love. Betraying the people we shared it with is just plain “grubby”.