Aphrodite and The Two Psychos

April 16th, 2007



Dear Mum,

It’s very easy to fall in love in Cyprus. I fall in love every day. Several times a day in fact. It must be something to do with Cyprus being the birthplace of Aphrodite, the Greek Goddess of love, lust and beauty  –  with the emphasis, apparently, on physical and sexual attraction.

You only have to walk to the corner shop to buy a tea-bag and you’re bound to see several beauties. And every time my eyes focus on one of these adorable creatures, I immediately fall in love. But my enamouredness only lasts until I see the next one, and my previous love is quickly forgotten as I get over it and move on. Going out can be quite an emotionally draining experience!

Just the other morning, I was sitting in a bar chatting to some old bloke in his 50’s who was here on holiday with his wife, when five girls came in and and sat at a nearby table. Not one ugly one amongst them. One in particular was absolutely stunning. Needless to say, I immediately fell in love. I can’t remember exactly what I said, but I made some comment to the guy I was chatting to. Probably something to the effect of how much I’d like to get to know one of them better (purely on an intellectual level of course) and he said with a thick Yorkshire accent,

Ooh no! My wife’d kill me. I’m only here for the rest.

If I can have that one’, I thought, ‘he’s welcome to the rest!

So I earwigged a bit of their conversation, like you do, in the hope that one of them might turn out to be short-sighted and desperate. It turned out they were all married and living in Larnaca; and by the sound of it, they all had kids too. Just out for a morning coffee and gossip.

Rockall happens here!But it’s typical of what happens to me here in Larnaca pretty much every day. The strange thing is, I’ve deliberately and consciously made a decision to retire from all that nonsense. I’ve been let down too many times. But it appears that Aphrodite doesn’t want to let me retire! Maybe I picked the wrong island. Perhaps Rockall might have been a better choice!

There are several different versions of how Aphrodite came into existence. One is that Cronos, the father of Zeus, cut off the genitals of his own father, Uranus, with a sickle and threw them into the sea. The missing parts were carried on the sea foam and from them grew Aphrodite, who came ashore in Cyprus at Aphrodite’s Rock.

The birth of Aphrodite was of course famously depicted by Sandro Botticelli in 1486 in The Birth Of Venus (different name  –  same chick), although he left out the bit about tackle amputation by sickle, thank goodness! All I can say is that I’m so glad that procreation has moved on a bit since then!

Anyway, anyone who’s been reading Letter From Larnaca regularly will be relieved to know that I have a psychiatrist and a psychotherapist visiting Cyprus for a week. My two very good friends Declan and Anna arrived yesterday. And I hope that’s true because I’m actually writing this on Saturday and setting it to publish itself automatically on Monday morning. If they don’t arrive, I’m going to look a bit silly!

I’m looking forward very much to seeing them both again. Unfortunately, they’re staying down the other end of the island, but we’re hoping to spend a couple of days together later in the week. The place where they’re staying is a village called Pissouri, which coincidentally is a mere nymph’s throw from the birthplace of Aphrodite.

So! Here’s the question that’s on everyone’s lips  –  What’s the difference between a Psychiatrist and a Psychotherapist?

It’s very simple and can be explained in one short sentence:

Psychiatry is the branch of medicine that deals with the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental and emotional disorders, whereas psychotherapy is the method of psychological treatment originated by Sigmund Freud in which free association, dream interpretation, and analysis of resistance and transference are used to explore repressed or unconscious impulses, anxieties, and internal conflicts, in order to free psychic energy for mature love and work.

So there’s another one you can trot out when it crops up in Trivial Pursuit.

And which one do I need most?

Definitely psychotherapy! If only because Anna’s a hell of a lot more attractive than Declan! And her name’s a palindrome  –  always a bonus!

So there we are. This letter should give them a starting point. And I’m sure that they’ll be able to have a field day with the pseudonym that I’ve adopted for this weblog. It’s probably bad enough that I’ve chosen to be a God, but that I should have chosen Priapus, the Greek and Roman God of fertility (who as I’ve now discovered was actually quite a sad, pathetic and lonely figure) is something that I’m sure will provide them with plenty of material to work with.

I’ll ask them both to submit a brief report on my mental and emotional state at the end of the week.

As if it wasn’t obvious…!


©MPB 16/April/2007
Stamp courtesy of Cyprus Postal Services
Photos of Rockall and Aphrodite’s Rock courtesy of whoever took them!


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