How Do I Get... that spring in my step?

6 May 2012

Oh, how delicate! I think your rather coy question alludes to the annual, and equally euphemistic, Rising of the Sap – that moment in the calendar when a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love. Let us assume that Alfred Lord Tennyson would, were he writing now, include both women and the older generation in his audit of fancies and their vernal positioning.

(Let's also assume that you're not just talking about spring cleaning; if you are, then my advice is to summon the professionals. Lugging your moth-eaten carpets out to the back garden to beat them into submission might be quaintly house-proud, but it's also a real passion killer.)

Now: love, or romance, or even a mere dalliance in a passing hayrick. It's quite true that the combination of lengthening evenings and shortening hemlines concentrate the mind on the fact that we are but flesh and blood, however complicated we like to make our lives sometimes. And that the end of winter requires a throwing-off of shackles not serviced by putting our winter coat into storage and turning down the central heating a notch or two. But animals though we may be, modern love does, alas, call for something a little more sophisticated than simply raising a hind leg coquettishly and heading for a quiet corner of the farmyard.

I need say little, I hope, of post-winter grooming: obviously, anything extraneous – leg fleece, shaggy fringe, insulating blubber – has to go. But more importantly, so do all hints of hibernation blues. Now is not the time to frowst around the house watching box sets of Cagney & Lacey. Now is the time to set aside all self-consciousness and project yourself on to the set of a "Here Come the Girls"/"Best a Man can Get" advertisement (delete as appropriate). And if need be, to pretend you're someone entirely different: someone confident, and carefree and determined to make carpe diem their watchword.

So go forth and – well, you don't have to multiply, of course. And, bearing in mind that we have a duty of care, we do trust you to act responsibly. But nonetheless. It's  spring. Go and have a cuddle. © Guardian News and Media 2012

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