“Men always want to be a woman’s first love – women like to be a man’s last romance.”
Today’s a great opportunity to pretend I care about this holiday, but I can’t. It’s history has been obscured by shiny-bright advertisements, hideous department-store jingles, and a woeful pressure to shuck out hard-earned dollars for trinkets that’ll be discarded and flowers guaranteed to die. Beyond its history being bastardized in the name of making a buck, much of it is sketchy at best. At least, like so many great Christian tales, it’s history is unconfirmed, and it’s absolutely drenched in blood.
But I won’t be going into that.
Color me a cynic, but I don’t require a specific mark on the calendar to express the love and adoration I possess – for anybody. I can’t actually recall a time when this holiday inspired a legitimate exploration of love, anyway. I haven’t met a soul who can. It’s a pretty tricky subject to begin with, better left to poets, philosophers, and artists than flowers.com, Russel Stover, and Hallmark.
Love is fierce, beautiful, and agonizing, and it’s different for everybody. In my life, my dreams have been haunted by crudely lit bodies on the edge of the darkness, and I can recall those adolescent moments where romantic love and sexual desire fused together. Just like everybody else, I’ve never been able to make sense of ’em, and I suppose that’s what’s so romantic about…romance.
At the end of the day, we’re socialized in one direction, and our instincts drag us in another. There’s a tension that surrounds our sexuality in a repressed society, and that’s why it occupies every corner of our popular culture. It’s in our sit-coms, our pop songs, our art, and our literature. We’re obsessed with it, likely because it’s a puzzle that can’t be solved.
Especially not by a cheap box of chocolates or a diamond ring in a champagne glass.