Negging, Wrestling, and Other Insights Into Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain’s First Flirtation

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Photo: Vinnie Zuffante/Getty Images

The Daily Beast has an excerpt from Charles Cross’s new book, Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain, and it’s all about how Kurt Cobain met Courtney Love. Their love story combines insult-pickups, physical prowess, and cough syrup.

In January 1990, at a concert in a Portland nightclub, Love told Cobain that he looked like Soul Asylum lead singer Dave Pirner. She intended the remark "to sound like a small insult, but also a flirt.” Cobain immediately wrestled her on a beer-soaked floor as, in Love's words, the jukebox “was playing my favorite song by Living Color.”

Even though she was three inches taller than him, he won the fight. She nicknamed him "Pixie Meat" and set about wooing him with a gift that manages to be equal parts creepy and twee, corny and weird-nonsense: a heart-shaped box containing three dried roses, seashells, a miniature teacup, a little porcelain doll — all soaked in her perfume for some bonus scent-memory activation. Real womanly wiles employed by this lady. Anyway, stuff really hit off when they saw each other next in 1991, at another concert. Cross writes:

Kurt was backstage drinking cough syrup directly from the bottle. In a bit of fate, Courtney opened her purse and displayed her own vial of cough syrup, a more powerful brand. They wrestled to the ground again. The vibe was very sexual.

Wrestle a man once, he's fair game, wrestle a man twice, he's yours.