Post Valentine’s Day

Linda1I tried, really I tried.

The idea of being enthusiastic about Valentine’s Day simply left me cold. First, it is somewhat a made up holiday intended to force lovers, wanna be lovers, not so much lovers, school children and others to pretend one day a year. Pretend what you ask. Well pretend to remember to say the stuff they forgot all the rest of the year in most cases, in the case of schoolchildren, pretend they are grown enough to “wooove” someone and give them little hearts with cute sayings on them.

Don’t get me wrong, Valentine’s Day can be fun. It can bring out the romantic in even the most taciturn of men, with some prodding. It can turn even the most practical of women to mush with the right amount of flowers, chocolate and a great foot massage. Valentine’s Day can provide couples the opportunity to remind each other they are still there, still hanging on.

The problem I have with Valentine’s Day?

It simply feels forced. Why do we need a day to tell each other we appreciate the things we are to each other? Shouldn’t we do this every single day of the year?image2474170x

Then there is the problem I have that we have co-opted a Catholic Saints day as our romantic holiday, a martyred saint no less. Of course, there is no historical connection between either St. Valentine and ‘romantic’ love, in fact there is very little written about them, anywhere. It is far more likely Valentine’s Day comes to us from an early Roman Rite, the festival of Lupercalia. This was a special one, priests would sacrifice a goat and a dog together, mixing their blood then flay the goats hide into strips, dipping that into the mixed blood. After that, they would slap single women and crops with the bloody strips, and then pair the women with bachelors for the year. The premise being if the women were fruitful they would marry, maybe.

150953_10202867023217165_1478976694_nJust so, we are all clear, the first Valentine’s card was sent by the then imprisoned Duke of Orleans in 1415. So this silliness has been around for a very long time.

As I said, I tried. I have never though been very good with Valentine’s Day. Maybe it was my name I was traumatized early on, we all have Valentine in our name somewhere. My mother had no clue what she did to us putting us in the local paper. Personally? I just like the sales on chocolate on February 15.

Pragmatic Romance

Romantic love….romance….passion….amore

Perchance it is all a matter of perspective, our worldview itself that causes us to land on specific definitions of what constitutes romance or romantic love. Certainly, how we enter into and sustain our relationships is in part determined by our own history with love and romance. What we observed as children framed some of our definitions of passion and romance as well.

We are constantly bombarded through media both large and small, fiction and pseudo non-fiction with representations of romantic love, or in some cases the demise of love. Grand gestures fill our grocery store checkout lines, our news coverage; we can’t avoid the latest exploits of whatever celebrity misfits have cheated on one soul mate with their new soul mate, are pregnant with someone not their mate, or have married for hours rather than years. It is impossible to avoid the bling of big love.

This week got me thinking about the notion of romance and romantic love, the reality versus great expectations. What it really means to me, as a wife and a woman versus what society and even my husband might think it should mean. I wondered, have our ideas of romance really changed or is it my own expectations of what I want or need that are discordant with the rest of society.

Is romance really just about grand gestures?

The Free Dictionary says about romance:

1.a. A love affair.b. Ardent emotional attachment or involvement between people; love:c. A strong, sometimes short-lived attachment, fascination, or enthusiasm for something: .2. A mysterious or fascinating quality or appeal, as of something adventurous, heroic, or strangely beautiful

v.  ro·mancedro·manc·ingro·manc·es

v.intr.

1. To invent, write, or tell romances.

2. To think or behave in a romantic manner.

v.tr. Informal

1. To make love to; court or woo.

2. To have a love affair with.

Wikipedia Image

Some of my friends couldn’t define romance beyond hearts, flowers, champagne and candle light. I liken this to the Tango, wonderful to watch fascinating in fact but hard to dance every day for all of us ordinary folk entangled with life in Mundania. I accept this is a type of romance and real. This week I found it in a wonderful vision written by fellow blogger Raven. I call it a vision because her words are redolent and they allowed me to be swept away for a moment in time, to live vicariously through her.

I slowly brought myself back to Mundania, this is where I live most of the time. I will tell you now; I suspect I am not much of a romantic in the true sense of the word. My poor husband is far more a romantic than I am, in fact he more than once told me I ruined Valentine’s Day forever. My versions of romance is often twisted and rarely in alignment with social norms, or so I have been told.

Anyone can follow the social norm of candy and flowers once a year. If the best you can do is to remember once a year that you love me and that is romance, I am so not there. The question I would have to ask you, in all seriousness is this, “what if I remembered that I found you sexy enough for a between the sheets romp only once a year, would you stay?” Romantic love is simply, to me at least, the pleasure we take in the company of our partner, not once time per year but all the time.

For me, romance is knowing my partner listened to me, heard me with both ears and so knows intuitively what I need from him. That makes my heart beat faster, that is the very height of romantic love in my little world. The very thought that my partner considers my needs and places them before his wants; that is what does it for me that is what revs my engine. Even if my partner sometimes thinks my pragmatic views of what ‘turns me on” are the height of unromantic, he just needs to go with the flow don’t question it, don’t challenge it just accept that this is what jumps my starter motor.

Always remember intimacy is directly tied into how good I feel about my environment and you being in it. If both partners remember that small detail, now we have romance and we are dancing a synchronized Tango. If we can both remember, we are different in our ideas of romantic love, mine is tied to made beds and clean kitchens and this is what gets the romance bank to full. It isn’t that I want my partner to do all the housework, it is that I want my partner to share responsibilities for getting things done, recognize our shared contributions to maintaining a home is part of what matters to me and proves to me that I matter to him.

My partner doesn’t have to love what I love; he only has to love me enough to care about the things I care about. That is what romantic love is to me, that is what keeps the fires burning.

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