2001-02-06 - 1:43 a.m.
"Lucifer lay back and tried to think of England. The only part he could remember was a certain bed in Devon." - Stephanie Laurens
You can blame Ms. Laurens for tonight's lack of content. It was just so much easier to sink into my bath and stay there with All About Love instead of scrabbling around the mess of numbers and papers. I know I put that stupid prescription refill number somewhere where I thought I'd look...
In between yesterday's meetings, I read through a couple of newspapers I'd brought back from Atlanta. One article that caught my eye was "My Crummy Valentine" (by Doug Gillett, in Atlanta North), in which the editor elaborated on why he detests Valentine's Day:
Now, I'm used to being alone sometimes, and I got no beef with that. Where I do develop a huge, simmering problem is when someone arbitrarily decides to create a holiday just for those people who've lucked their way into relationships, and in doing so cast out those who haven't been fortunate enough to find happiness with another member of the human race.
He goes on to bitch about "being treated like a second-class citizen" by everyone with SOs, and how he hates "the Pepto-pink cash cow" that dominates the commercial landscape during this time of year, claiming "Now I know how Jewish people feel, having to go around for months being reminded of a big celebration I don't get to be part of."
I have to admit my first reaction to this was "Buddy, if that's your attitude, no wonder you're spending Valentine's Day solo." I don't think anyone enjoys being accused of having it too easy, and the phrase "people who've lucked their way into relationships" whanged my funny-bone dead-on. Lucked? Lucked?! Honey, relationships are work. I don't mean "work" as in playing games by The Rules so that you can fool yer man into keeping ya. I mean "work" as in the choices you make in order to sustain a relationship beyond the first months of infatuation and the happy simmer of lust.
I love my husband and I feel more relaxed around him than with any other creature in the world - but it is still work. We didn't get this far without working through a whole host of insecurities and insensitivities and an assortment of tradeoffs. He's adorable and he's exasperating. He's often a prince and sometimes a jackass. I wake up in the middle of the night and bask in his warmth, yet I've also been known to roar away in my car and park in a strange neighborhood so that I can cry my eyes out where nobody knows me. I commuted 100 miles every day for three years in order to keep the job I loved and still live in the same house with him, and I'm fully aware that co-existing with me has meant actual roads not taken and obligations that he sometimes finds a strain or a nuisance. I've earned my wedding band, thank you very much, and so has he.
And yet, I do understand where Mr. Gillett is coming from, a bit, because it doesn't at all seem fair that I've found someone compatible with my lifestyle and values when equally deserving friends have not. Friends who are far more emotionally available, who are generous with their time, who seem to be more than ready for romance...
...and who I do not set up on dates because I haven't met the right people for them. It's not just about being beautiful or good, alas (but lucky for me, as it were) - it's also whether you agree on children and pets and religion and money and politics, whether you are willing to be gracious to relatives-in-law who do not understand you, and how much mind-reading you feel you have a right to expect and how much you are willing to explain when the other person does not understand you.
[When Joanne asked us to write about "collateral damage," I thought about writing what it's like to witness friends breaking up. Definitely collateral damage in spades. For now, suffice it to say that a major reason I refuse to matchmake is because I do not want to be forced to take sides if it doesn't work - though it remains that the larger, simpler reason is that my single friends are just not romantically compatible with each other.]
The irony of tonight's musing? The BYM actively detests Valentine's Day, and I'm not all that keen on it myself. He's anti-Hallmark and I'm anti-pastel, and we're both allergic to trite. We don't believe everyone could or should be married, and we can't stand other married couples who insist on seeing us as Another Married Couple instead of BYM and Mechaieh.
So we are not the couple who is going to make you feel bad or left out or inferior for being unmarried - unless you are one of those people who cannot abide any public display of affection whatsoever. If you want to regard it as a slap in the face, that's too bad - I'm not going to let go of my husband's hand to spare your feelings, and I am going to kiss him whenever I damn well please, which is often. I do understand that some couples go way overboard with the PDA - but I've also witnessed other people going ballistic after visually eavesdropping (eyesdropping? liddropping? what's the visual equivalent of overhearing other people's exchanges?) simple gestures where no transfer of bodily fluids was evident. I didn't begrudge other people their happiness when I was single - unless I felt they were undeserving, I suppose, but by extension, what right have you to assume that I do not deserve my current pleasures?
I fear I sound belligerent. I am feeling decidedly snarky, but it isn't really about Mr. Gillett's little throwaway editorial. He was probably only trying to be funny and I'm deliberately not getting the joke. Some days I just don't feel like getting the joke - I'd have to stop thinking in order to get the joke, and not thinking is not acceptable when it's the Glock in my emotional arsenal.
I'm not so far gone that I can't laugh, though. I read Charles' dialogue of body parts just now and nearly gargled my coffee.
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