Grocery store card aisles bathed in red and pink give me a nervous twitch. Despite that, each year I find myself standing there on Valentine's Day after work skimming through picked-over cards in a panic. Maybe its because they're all picked over, but it seems the only ones I find are the You are the air I breathe and I can't live without you variety. For whom are these cards written anyway? God?
And do I really want to tell Jamie via Hallmark that I think of him as little more than a glorified ventilator?
Then there are lyrics that, in the name of love, write checks that no one's butt can afford to cash like The Fabulous Thunderbirds' I would walk ten miles on my hands and knees just to come home and kiss your cheek. Ain't that tough enough?
No, it's not tough. It's a lie at worst and hyperbole at best. I ain't doing that and neither is Jamie. So stop it. Just stop it.
Popping the question scenes at this most romantic time of the year makes me wince too. Seems it's all about atmosphere, mood and butterflies and he-went-to-Jared!
The practical side of me can't help but cringe and wonder if the asker and the tearful accepter understand that a yes means both people are going to be together. Forever. That there aren't any more Hey, so I'll give you a call tomorrow. No more anticipation of seeing the person the next day because that person is there the next day...and the day after that...and the day after that...and...
True, there's a security in it all, but you can't tell me that married people (whether or not they'll admit it) sometimes look at the other person and think don't you have someplace else to go?
Now lest you think I'm a crabby, jaded person who doesn't believe in romance, I do. It's just that at this point in time, I define it very differently than the brand pop culture shoves down our throats.
Diamonds? Oh they're pretty enough, but a snow-cleared, gassed-up car sparkles brighter than the blingiest of bling.
Romantic music (Luther Vandross anyone?), can't give me the warm fuzzies like the sound of Let mom sleep in this morning can.
Sweet nothings whispered over an intimate corner table at a cozy restaurant can't hold a candle to the text that says Don't worry about dinner tonight, I've got it handled. Even if said dinner is frozen pizza.
What's more romantic than delousing the bathroom after the kid's violent episode of norovirus? Nothing. Seriously nothing, because the other person says I'll take care of it, just so you don't have to.
And as much as beautiful flowers lift my mood, I'll take a reassuring Everything's gonna be alright when I'm stressed out rather than receive the biggest bouquet of roses.And that my friends, is reality. Not romance.
You see, romance can't help but erode and reveal reality -- the hard stuff, the day-to-day humdrum routine, including the messy, goopy and stinky business of living.
Romance can't handle any of that.
But real love can and does; and if you can find real love, then you've got something to celebrate on Valentine's Day...and on every other day of the year too.