Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Valentine's Day Is Killing Romance

Each week in the mag we run a debate. One week argues one side, the next week argues the Otherside. The curent topic is 'Valentine's Day Is Keeping Romance Alive.' I am arguing the case against...

(Some of you may recognise the opening, but hell, why not use the day to day moments that would otherwise be lost?)

Sitting at the edge of the harbour soaking up the kind of clear summer day that only Sydney can serve up – as well as soaking up a fair amount of un-oaked chardonnay – the conversation turned to funerals and the kind of send off we are going to give each other.

“Funerals are a bloody great waste of money, aren’t they?” I observed, apropos of nothing at all.

My girlfriend didn’t bat an eyelid; she’s quite used to this sort of thing. “So if I go first, what kind of funeral are you going to give me?” she asked.

“Dunno. Nothing fancy. Hadn’t really given it much thought.”

“You’re not going to do anything nice? Just put me in a cardboard box and dispose of me?”

“Well what kind of funeral do you want me to organise for you?”

“I want you to put in the effort and come up with something nice.”

Hmm. I put in the effort and eventually came up with a doof in her favourite doof location. A kind of death doof with fire twirlers and mushrooms and friends stomping in the dust... She seemed pleased with this, so I asked about my funeral. “I did you,” I told her, “now you do me.”

“You do your own funeral,” she told me. “You were originally going to put me in a cardboard box. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a cardboard box for you.”

“Can it be a nude funeral?” I asked hopefully.

“You want to be buried in the nude? Okay.”

“Yeah, but I want all the guests to be in the nude too.”

She gave me The Look. “Weirdo.”

“And on pogo sticks. Nude and on pogo sticks and I will be a happy corpse-in-a-box.”

The Look was accompanied by a slow shake of the head. “You really are quite peculiar.”

My mind frequently leaps about like a cane toad with a fire cracker up its bum, which was why the funeral conversation lead me to other ‘special occasions’ that are overrated, like Valentine's Day. Nay, Valentine’s Day is not just overrated, it’s a bona fide crime against romance. It’s got its talons around romance’s throat and it’s not letting go; it’s choking the life out of it.

Last week’s writer made the point that modern life is too busy and no one has time to be truly romantic; that Valentine’s Day “is the one day where husbands can make up for a year of neglect and wives can be swept off their feet all over again…”

Trouble is, that’s not real romance. It’s many things - token romance, guilt romance, get-it-over-and-done-with romance - but it’s not real romance.

I do agree with last week’s writer that our lives are full and that it’s difficult to find the time and energy for seemingly frivolous things like romance, but the answer to that is not to designate a date in the calendar and pretend for a day that we’re romantic. The answer is to stop being so fucking lazy.

Sure, it’s a push-button, remote-control, instant-gratification world that we cram full of clutter, useless information and gym memberships, a world in which we sure don’t feel lazy because we’re so goddamn busy. Problem is, we’re keeping ourselves busy with unimportant stuff at the expense of the good stuff.

We love a fad diet, don’t we? Fad diets pop up every now and then, they appear to make sense, everyone jumps on the bandwagon and makes another obnoxious American rich. But just as suddenly as it appeared, the fad diet disappears again because in spite of what we want to believe, the old fashioned rules of diet and fitness hold true; food is fuel, exercise burns up as much fuel as your body requires. Consuming fuel + sitting on arse = Fat City.

In the same way it just doesn’t work to neglect the one you’re supposed to love all year and ‘make up for it’ with a token gesture on a designated day.

Valentine's Day is turning us into unimaginative, romantically flaccid, drones. Valentine's Day whispers sweet nothing in our ear all year long. “Do nothing,” VD whispers. “Don’t worry about being spontaneously romantic. Don’t act on that urge to show your love on a whim, wait for me, leave it until February 14 and behave like all the other romantically flaccid drones.”

The true romantics understand this. We are hard at work all year round. We’re the ones keeping romance alive, not this fraud of a day that steals all the glory. We are the ones upholding the noble tradition of true romance. True romance is being original. Romance is not a fistful of roses on February 14; romance is taking her to lunch on a whim on a nondescript Sunday. Romance is gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes while the sunlight skips and twinkles on the water... and planning the details of each other's funeral.



bee vee vee said...

w00t! OMG! first!!1!

funny =)

my latest funeral request is to just be dumped at the tip. Not in a bag or anything, just chucked out there on a pile of garbage and old household shit.

funnily enough, this is probably what will happen to me for Valentine's Day - metaphoriclistically speaking, y'all.

Guyana-Gyal said...

I once listened to two old folks in oz talking about the old man's funeral when he goes. I wrote down their conversation word for word, it was hilarious.

Valentine's Day is not a big deal for me so I don't think about it.