All you need is love. That's what John Lennon reckoned, but he was wrong. Sometimes you need a bulletproof vest too. And sometimes you need a cynical, jaded eye. Often, in fact. Having said that, although love is most certainly not all you need, it is the prime mover of the human spirit and life without it is stale, flat, tiring and - on the whole - depressingly pointless.
So when on Saturday 17th January I received an email from Nikki Leigh, contacting me on behalf of Dr Ava Cadell, founder of Loveology University, I automatically assumed that this was merely yet another unscrupulous, self-serving charlatan exploiting humanity's instinctive desire for love for personal financial gain.
But I thought I’d better do a bit of research, just to be sure. So I looked up Loveology University online and to my gargantuan surprise, it turns out that it’s actually a beautiful thing! Turns out that Dr Ava Cadell is a genuine, warm, caring human being who wants nothing more than to help people help themselves to become more ready to give and receive love.
Nah, just kidding. She’s a charlatan. And Nikki Leigh is her Satanic little PR twot.
This by the way, is only my opinion. I know how litigious these American charlatans can be, so let me reiterate that all of this is mere opinion - bitter, malicious, loveless conjecture based on what to my disenchanted eyes are glaringly obvious facts.
Anyhow, Ms Leigh wanted to know if I’d like to help promote Loveology University and their repugnant, soulless Valentine’s Day-themed competition to find the World's Best Lover. (Yawn.) You probably heard from her too. I’m sure she contacted every blog on the internet which somewhere features the word ‘love’ or ‘sex’. I wrote back to say I’d be very interested in interviewing Dr Ava and a week or two later, I sent her a bunch of genuine, heartfelt, inquisitive questions, including the following:
1. Give me a piece of free advice. Show me and my readers how good you are. What do you advise for a couple who love each other very much but just can’t seem to stop arguing?
2. What’s the difference between your short term $99 certified course entitled ‘Love’ and a simple self-help book from my local lending library? Apart of course from the price.
3. You say that ‘Loveology University is the only place where anyone from anywhere can actually learn about sex, love, relationships, intimacy and get certified in it.’ What does it mean to be certified in love? Can you help me get certified?
4. At the beginning of a promotional film on the Loveology website, you are described as ‘Hollywood’s leading sexologist’ over a snippet of footage of Nicole Kidman kissing John Travolta. Do you actually advise Nicole Kidman and John Travolta? If not, isn’t it a little misleading to use their images? [film since taken down from site]
5. Do you ever get personally, physically involved in couples therapy?
6. According to your thought-provoking essay on aphrodisiacs, you claim that eating carrots leads to a feeling of strong sexual desire and that ginger increases blood flow to the genitals. What about raw meat? I get terribly feisty after going to work on an uncooked steak. Is there anything to be said for that?
7. ‘Have an S & L sandwich!’ you say at some stage. At first I assumed this was a typo, but you go on to explain: ‘It’s a generous helping of sex between two slices of love.’ That’s all very well, but when does ‘a generous helping’ become gluttony?
8. In your film on your webpage I saw that you had a glove puppet in the shape of a giant vagina. Did you have this specially made? How can I get hold of one of these?
9. You are also described in your film as having a PhD on the subject of Women. This seems unlikely. You’re not one of those fake professionals, are you, with a PhD from the internet?
10. A prominent banner on your website declares: ‘Many people give up looking for love, just when they are about to find it.’ How can you possibly know that this statement is true?
Then I waited. And I waited. And so on. Then I wrote to Nikki to check she had received my questions. She replied:
‘I did receive the questions and I've been trying to figure out the best way to reply. The tone is confrontational and argumentative - not inquisitive. I totally understand wanting to verify value, but it appears possible that you wouldn't be satisfied even if she could find time to answer all those questions. All the answers are on her website along with much much more information. The way you worded this, basically puts her in a bad light to start. I'm really searching to put her and Loveology in a positive light - with this approach she would be starting in a hole and digging her way out. I can supply articles on any number of topics, links to all sorts of information etc - but I'm not sure you would be satisfied with any of that - not because of the quality or value, but starting from such a negative tone. She is world renowned for her work and travels the globe to help people and businesses….’
So that was that. I left it. I was disappointed, frankly, but she was right. I did intend to show Dr Ava Cadell in a bad light, because – in my opinion – she is a charlatan. An odious, money-grubbing, manipulative fiend, exploiting ignorance, fear and heart-breaking loneliness to make herself rich. If she’d been genuine and had a bit of spunk about her, she could have replied to my questions and I would gladly have published her answers and helped to promote her business. But she didn’t. Because - I guess - she couldn’t. Not without giving herself away. And Dr Ava gives nothing away.
Anyhow, for all the poor saps who are taken in by this kind of bilge, I thought I would post this anyway, and maybe one of them might find their way here first and think better of it.
And if anyone from Loveology University is reading this, you should know, I would pay top dollar for my very own vagina glove puppet. Message me.