Love is ______. The word you would use to finish that sentence can act as a barometer on your general outlook on life. Whether it’s dreamy, passionate, exciting, world-weary or sardonic, it’s probably safe to say we all fall prey to cynicism when in the throes of heartbreak. And French illustrator Pauline Barzilaï would be no exception. Although understanding her captions unlocks a new level of joy—falling in love in the workplace is a bad idea, she cautions the man milking a cow—you might pick up on an undercurrent of cynicism and humor in her pink paper series “Les peines de l’amour,” even if you’re not fluent in French. Can there be any other way to read a picture of two people on a date, with squeeze horns for heads?

Words by L. Kimberly Leung

Visit Pauline Barzilai’s portfolio for more funny and cynical illustrations about love and relationships.