Wednesday, February 14, 2007

On Romance...

I used to be far more romantic in the traditional sense. I used to care about things like Valentine's Day. I used to get depressed or irritable to have to spend the Day of Love alone, and I used to go all out and lavish a romantic interest to my budget's extent, if I happened to have a romantic interest at the time. Now, though, romance means something far different to me.

I used to think the power of love was that force of attraction for another person, but somewhere along the way, I realized that simple infatuation was just not enough. Yes, you do have to have a certain amount of physical attraction to your mate. You do have to match certain personality characteristics in order to get along. But there's so much more to it. You can't just be attracted and friendly to each other. I think, for it to be love, you also have to be comfortable.

Comfort means a lot of things to a lot of different people. I see so many relationships that start out with a lot of attraction and a lot of mutual interests, but eventually fizzle out because the participants just cannot be comfortable with each other. To be comfortable with each other, they have to trust each other, and to trust each other, they have to truly know each other.

Maybe I'm too analytical. I tend to analyze everything. I look for motive and intent. I look for selfish motivations, and where I can't find any, I find goodness. Many people simply accept what is given to them at face value, but I have to dig deeper. I have to know a person. I have to know their nature, and balance their words and actions against that. It sounds like a lot to live up to, but it's really not. All I ask is that you be a good person, and if you are, there will be absolutely nothing to worry about.

I crave loyalty. That sounds bad, but I don't desire oppression. I don't want to force the loyalty; I want the loyalty to come from a naturally loyal person. Someone who would rather admit if the relationship isn't working than try to hurt me with betrayal. I've been betrayed enough in my life, thanks, and it's not something I take lightly. I find purity an incredible turn-on, but I need someone intelligent enough to understand that true purity isn't purity of the mind, but purity of the heart. I want someone who, like me, understands that impure thoughts happen and impure words are meaningless compared to the intent behind them.

For me, trust is paramount to comfort in a relationship. I am a Scorpio born in the Year of the Snake, thus trust is doubly important. If I am betrayed extremely enough, you are pretty well dead to me. In my eyes, intelligence, purity, and loyalty buys my trust, but it has to come through openness and understanding. I don't like games, and I don't play games, and I can typically see right through games without too much effort. Analytical thought is a blessing as much as a curse.

So am I romantic? I think I still have the potential, but my understanding of romance has been greatly altered, probably by my nature. I don't consider Valentine's Day to be a romantic holiday. Too much of it is celebrated with token gestures by unromantic men to demanding women, to avoid feeling too guilty about ignoring them the rest of the year. Much the same way that the same types of men think a flower bought as a last-minute thought at a gas station is an apology for staying out drinking all night with their friends instead of coming home on time.

If my lady love demands it, I can find plenty of creative ways to celebrate Valentine's Day, but to me, it's just not romantic. To me, "romantic" is when I'm out at some store on August 17th and I see a trinket I know she'd like and I buy it for her. Because it means I'm thinking about her, and I have at least a basic understanding of what she likes that stems beyond "She a woo-mon, and woo-mans like flowuh, chock-lit, and red stuff." To me, "romance" is not buying her something because I think I'm in trouble, but buying her something despite knowing that I'm not. I think "romance" is being able to approach your lover with any problem, not expecting to be judged, only helped. To me, "romance" is never going to bed angry at each other, and never parting without letting each other know that we're loved because it's important that those be the last feelings known to each other.

This all sounds very conventional, but I think subtlety is powerful and grandeur is trite. Would you rather have someone who only thinks about you on Valentine's Day, and maybe your birthday and an anniversary, or someone who thinks about you so much that Valentine's Day is superfluous, and an anniversary is simply another excuse to buy you something?

A part of me is idealistically romantic. I do believe in soul mates. I think love at first sight can happen among soul mates. However, I don't think people realize they've found their soul mate right away. It comes from the realization, after many years of overall happiness, that they never wanted or would ever want to be with anyone else. When you find that one person in your life that fills you with hope and comfort and trust and bliss, hold onto them, and don't ever let go. A lifetime is simply not long enough.

Happy Valentine's Day.

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