Friday, February 18, 2011

Post-Valentine's Thoughts on Romance

Cupid has flown away and by now most of the heart-shaped chocolates on sale at the grocery store have been purchased (and most likely consumed). This is the perfect opportunity to ruminate on romance and our definition of it.

Just what is a "romantic notion"? Put aside the red roses, diamond rings, and heart-shaped boxes filled with candy. Romance and Romanticism have very little to do with Madison Avenue's manufactured ways of saying "I love you." "Seeing the world through rose-colored glasses" is a more appropriate definition applicable to both words.

For example, a stock image or archetype used in movies and television of a perfect way to relax is reading a book in a bubble-filled bathtub surrounded by lit candles. Have you ever tried that? I have -- a few times. It sucks.

First, it requires a lot of energy to set the stage. Second, the bath stays hot for about 93 seconds. Third, who in the hell reads by candlelight? Fourth, the book always does and always will get wet. Fifth, the telephone ... Well, you get the idea.

Here's a romantic notion of living the writer's life: Sunlight streaming on a clear desktop, save for a laptop, and a contented cat purring nearby while the writer effortlessly composes the next great American [fill in the blanks].

Let me the first to tell you, "it's not like that." The picture below serves as evidence. Even if I didn't have such a mean cat, there would still be real estate wars for prime desktop location. There would be feline hairs floating in my coffee. Paws would walk across the laptop keyboard. And, ... Well, you get the idea.