The state of being in a romantic relationship, where one is no longer considered single, but part of a couple.
I watch the couples that come into the shop, and the couples I see in pubs, and on buses, and through windows. some of them, the ones that talk and touch and laugh and inquire a lot, are obviously new, and they don't count: like most people, I'm OK at being half of a new couple. It's the more established, quieter couples, the ones who have started to go through life back-to-back or side-to-side, rather than face-to-face, that interest me.

There's not much you can decipher in their faces, really. There's not much that sets them apart from single people; try dividing people you walk past into one of life's four categories--happily coupled, unhappily coupled, single, and desperate--and you'll find you won't be able to do it. Or rather, you could do it, but you would have no confidence in your choices. This seems incredible to me. The most important thing in your life, and you can't tell whether people have it or not. Surely this is wrong? Surely people who are happy should look happy, at all times, no matter how much money they have or how uncomfortable their shoes are or how little their child is sleeping; and people who are doing OK but have still not found their soul mate should look, I don't know, well but anxious, like Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally; and people who are desperate should wear something, a yellow ribbon maybe, which wold allow them to be identified by similarly desperate people.

-Nick Hornby, High Fidelity

Book by comedian Paul Reiser on relationships. Released at the height of popularity of his television show, Mad About You, it stayed on the New York Times Bestseller List for 40 weeks.

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