Flowers, champagne and sparkly thangs
Valentine’s Day, hot air balloon rides, cute gestures and sweet nothings.
Being swept away on international travel, being told every day that you’re “pretty.” Public declarations, status symbols, chocolate-covered treats.
Too often we base love — and emotional security—on things that offer as much emotional value as icing has nutritional value.
It’s a little like our preoccupation with Instagramming food — and choosing foods and venues for their Instagram qaulity — instead of eating it.
We make food a symbol of food. Food as a caricature of itself. “Pretty food” rather than food for the sake of food, and its bastardizing “food” into something that’s seen for its showmanship rather than for eating.
And we’re doing the same with love, with measuring it by “romance” and outward gestures.
We’re sabotaging our relationship with love a little bit each time we make it about “romance.”
We’re doing to love with romance what we fear men do to sex with porn.
As the Jungian analyst Robert Johnson wrote in We: Understanding the Psychology of Romantic Love,
“The fact that we say ‘romance’ when we mean ‘love’ shows us that underneath our language there is a psychological muddle. We are confusing two great psychological systems within us, and this has a devastating effect on our lives and our relationships.”
A guy friend once told me the “best” part of any relationship is the first date, when everyone’s on “their best behavior.”
He wishes the entire relationship could somehow always be like that first meeting, and that when he’s actually dating someone, he periodically looks over at her and asks himself (or her, as means to pick a fight), “if this was our first date, would I call you again?”
If I had to have any date forever, it’d be date number, like, 10,000. Some LTR date thats barely even a “date” anymore, when everyone has long since stopped pretending and everything is genuine albeit bare bones.
In other words, I’ll take dry toast and raw almonds over foie gras and petit fours any day of the week
I have no appetite for fluff, marshmallow or otherwise. I’m not starved for the superfluous.
And I never want to live off garbage that does nothing to sustain my actual needs.
To be clear, there’s no issue here with gestures of love.
There’s no problem with communicating love to a partner in their love language, and many people see these sorts of things as “romance” — no big deal.
So give me a second serving, sure, but make it hearty.