My wife and I don’t do Valentine’s Day. I am so happy about this that it’s ridiculous. You see, we decided a long time ago that the whole thing is kind of a sham. I mean really, Mother’s Day was literally invented by Hallmark to sell more cards – and it worked! By the way, we needed Mother’s Day. We don’t need Valentine’s Day. If you’re in love or in a relationship, you shouldn’t need any corporate coaxing to express your affections.
Romantic gestures shouldn’t be an obligation. At this time of year, if you’re not in a relationship, I can imagine it’s a bit depressing. The rest of the world whips itself into a fevered pitch of rose buying and dinner reservations on a cold day in February. I mean, why February? Is there anything romantic about chipping ice off your car with an overworked credit card? Of course not! Because we’re not kids anymore, we know that there is more to love than chocolate hearts and bonbons.
When we were younger we were driven by a tsunami of hormones towards the opposite sex (or to the same sex for that matter). Oh sure, it was fun to be consumed with desire all the time, but it also felt a bit overwhelming. We had a biological imperative to absolutely pair up with someone no matter what. This lead to all kinds of craziness.
Remember how frantic it was? Remember making out behind the portable at your high school? Or sneaking off to be alone with your crush in a friend’s basement? Or getting it on in your dad’s car? It seemed anywhere would do.
Remember wrestling with yourself and your impulses so that you could hopefully wrestle with someone else? And the wrestling was fun! In fact, it didn’t even matter who was on top at the end. Everybody was a winner. But there was some other stuff, too.
We were so driven by hormones that it was hard to figure out where they ended and we began as human beings. Sometimes we were fiercely attracted to people we didn’t even LIKE. This sounds weird – like being a vegetarian but loving bacon. It’s strange, it’s confusing and it makes shopping difficult.
But now, things are different, I’ve noticed as we get older that the human race isn’t depending on us to reproduce and that makes things simpler. Our desperate biological imperative has eased off. Phew!
Another great thing that happens is we know ourselves better. We’ve been down life’s road enough to guess what it’s probably going to bring. So, when we’re talking about relationships, we know what we can be flexible about and what we can’t. Ever look back at some of your relationships a long time ago and think, “Oh my god! We were so wildly unsuited for each other.”?
Now we recognize that stuff out of the gate. At least, I hope we do. I don’t think there are that many people over 50 looking for prison pen pals in order to find romance. That kind of craziness is a young person’s game.
It’s also easier to see who we truly are. We may not be perfect, but as the saying goes, parts of us are excellent. The same goes with our partners. I don’t know about you, but the things my spouse doesn’t like about herself I find absolutely adorable.
Perhaps the romance you’re having isn’t with someone else, but is with yourself. Our society is completely hung up on us being paired off. If you doubt this, try being single and going to a dinner party with a bunch of friends.
Chances are, someone will desperately try to set you up with somebody, even if you’re about as interested as Elon Musk is in diesel engine repair. The truth is, we don’t need a romantic relationship to complete us. It just happens to be convenient that the whole coupledom idea sells a lot of stuff.
Frankly, I’m all for things easing off a bit. Sure, the crazy rush of ridiculous hormones was a thrilling roller coaster, but there’s a reason that roller coaster rides are only three minutes long. We can’t take much more before we’d be screaming to get off. So maybe we’re not on the roller coaster anymore. A lot of us have walked to a different part of the fair and gotten on the ferris wheel and that’s OK.
I like the ferris wheel. You can relax and enjoy the view. So, enjoy February 14th whether you call it Valentine’s Day or not. And if you want to make out in your friend’s basement to spice things up, go for it! That reminds me. I have to call my dad to see if I can borrow his car.