This glorious post by Shoe-fiend got me thinking about the many different ways in which the media puts all these ideas of what is romantic in our heads, without cautioning us about the risk factors involved. We soak up all these images of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie being all passionate and shit, and no one ever warns us that it's all about stunt doubles and special effects and there's no way that ordinary mortals like you and I can pull this stuff off without doing serious bodily harm. Make love in a field in the rain and you're almost certain to get pneumonia. Try lifting a woman in your arms and carrying her up to the bedroom and you'll be lucky if you get away with just a slipped disc or two. And that's if she's thin.
When are people going to realise that romance is a serious hazard to public health? Shouldn't the surgeon general be doing something about it? I mean, it almost feels like every saccharine romantic comedy should come with a notice at the start that says: "Caution. These actions are performed by professionals. DO NOT try them at home."
Take it from me: if you want to have a happy, long-lasting relationship you want to steer absolutely clear of all romantic gestures. They never work the way you want them to. There's always a catch that you haven't thought about and you end up either looking really foolish (if you're lucky) or fighting bitterly with someone you used to love.
Take this whole taking showers together thing, for instance. It sounds all sexy and intimate doesn't it? What they don't tell you is that different people have different tolerance for hot and cold water. So sure, it's all romantic and stuff if you both happen to have a similar preferred temperature to shower at, but if one of you likes their showers tepid and the other isn't happy unless he / she can feel the scald of the water on his / her skin, you've got issues. You'll be in the middle of a really passionate moment. You'll step into the shower together, looking deep into each other's eyes. Thirty seconds later one of you will be jumping out of the shower, screaming. There will be bewilderment, there'll be recrimination. If you're smart you'll just call the whole thing off right there and go sit in front of the television and watch football. More likely though, you'll spend the next five minutes petulantly turning the shower knob back and forth, your tempers rising all the time, until finally she'll be throwing the ring in your face and you'll be telling her how you slept with her best friend that weekend she was away to see her sick grandmother. Yet another relationship down the drain. Literally.
And you know how in the movies men are always whipping up these super-romantic meals for their wives / girlfriends, to make them feel special and loved and stuff? Don't even think about it. I remember trying it once. I was on vacation and staying with my then girlfriend and I figured it would be a really marvellous gesture. So I went down to the supermarket after she'd left for work and picked up candles, a bottle of Riesling (along with a corkscrew - I wasn't going to fall for that old catch, ha! ha!) and some pasta and settled down to make the romantic meal of the century. I had it all laid out in my head - soft candlelight, gleaming silverware, Chopin in the background, a little wine, a little poetry and then, to top it all, some delectable penne. What woman could resist?
It didn't quite work out that way. To begin with, I remembered at some point in the evening that I didn't actually know how to cook pasta - so that there followed an hour of desperate Internet searches and panicked phone calls to friends. Much frenzied chopping, boiling, sieving and other P2C2E's later, I finally managed something that was well, edible, but by this point the kitchen looked like a miniature version of Pompeii after the eruption and I barely had time to change out of my marinara sauce covered apron before my girlfriend was home. Never mind, I thought. A few etudes, some generous portions of white wine and a little Neruda, and she probably wouldn't notice.
Things I hadn't considered: a) My girlfriend didn't have any wine glasses; worse, she didn't have any glasses at all (all she had, in true PhD fashion, was styrofoam cups) b) There were no matches in the house. This meant that in order to light the candles we had to ignite a scrap of paper by placing it on the stove until it caught fire. This worked, but it set the fire alarm off so we were forced to throw open all the windows, and then sit freezing in our jackets while the smoke cleared and all her neighbours came by to stare. It also meant that we ended up with little specks of half burnt paper in our wine. AND the wind came and blew the candles out, so we were back to square one. c) At the last minute, her stereo system stopped playing CDs, so we were forced to fall back on radio. d) In all the excitement of dealing with these multiple crises (and minding the pasta, which was starting to take on strange alien shapes) I didn't actually have time to get to the Neruda.
By the time it was all over, my super romantic gesture consisted of sitting in a bitterly cold room, listening to Metallica on the radio, eating cold, congealed pasta and drinking wine out of coffee mugs. Oh, and then spending the next two hours cleaning up the mess in the kitchen so that by the time I was done my girlfriend was already asleep. I should so have ordered in chinese. At least that way we wouldn't both have had indigestion the next day.
P.S. Mom, Dad, the bit about the showers is ENTIRELY HYPOTHETICAL. Honest.
Categories: Personal, Humour