Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Romantic

Unfashionably late to the fray once more, but here goes...

So, Valentine's Day, eh? I've been amusing no one but myself over the past few days by saying hilarious things like: "So, Valentine's Day, eh? Any other day of the year, sending anonymous messages of infatuation would count as stalking."

I'm not a big fan of romance, unless the romantic gestures in question are a) subtle and b) unorthodox. Oh, but I'm a big fan of subtle, unorthodox romantic gestures. Preferably so subtle and unorthodox that you can barely tell they exist. This gives me licence to interpret almost anything I like as a subtle, unorthodox romantic gesture, which is great for relieving the tedium of everyday life.

But I'm straying from the point.

Which is that Valentine's Day has traditionally been a bit of a mixed bag for me. Let's review some previous instances of the occasion:

Feb 14th, 1991, circa 7am: Unaware that it is in fact Valentine's Day, I get it together with D, after having spent the entire night talking about conspiracy theories and the Sisters of Mercy. I reckon he's The One. He reckons I'm The One. We fall desperately in love. A couple of years later, we're walking across a car park, he's carrying some camouflage netting, I tell him I'm the happiest I've ever been...no, wait, I've done that one.

Feb 14th, 1995: D and I agree that we've come to the end of the road, which we have, both metaphorically and literally, as we're standing at the top of Peascod Street in Windsor. He's alright about it. I'm alright about it. As a farewell gift he presents me with a black fake-fur jacket, which I love. Almost three years later I leave the jacket behind in someone's warehouse flat in Brick Lane after a particularly debauched New Year's party, and never see it again.

Feb 14th, 2005: I'm happily married to ex-Mr P. For Valentine's Day he takes me for lunch at the Oxo Tower, where we talk about Microsoft. Afterwards, he takes me to the Tate Modern, where we laugh at couples embracing in front of a video of slowly rotting fruit, and ex-Mr P gets told off for interfering with the exhibits. Later, we walk hand-in-hand over the wobbly bridge and go to the Apple Store, where I buy my trusty iPod Shuffle. (Happy Birthday, Shuffle. You've been a great friend). I couldn't be happier.

Feb 14th, 2006: Unaware of the ironic timing, I email a firm of solicitors based in the same office building as me, asking them for advice about my impending divorce.

Romance, happy endings, The One - it's all bollocks, isn't it?

Isn't it?

32 comments:

Pashmina said...

On the whole, yes. The 'happy endings' thing in particular has always bothered me - the only 'endings' are that either a) you split up; or b) one of you dies, neither of which are exactly 'happy' in my book. The best anyone can really hope for is to be happy whilst you're together, and if you're together and not happy you probably need to reconsider the 'together' bit.

And as for 'The One'...

(which isn't to say that I don't think my marriage is great, but the whole Valentine's industry and its associated hyperbole does my head in, and it always takes a couple of days to recover)

surly girl said...

there is such a thing as "the one". i know because i found mine.

*swallows a bit of sick back down*

oh, and yesterday was six weeks and one day after my nisi so technically my divorce was final on valentine's day. romance, eh?

Dave again said...

Well, there's a coincidence. Six weeks and one day is today for me. So I'm just off to the court to file the paper. Still didn't make yesterday any more romantic.

patroclus said...

Pash, wise words indeed.

Surly, congratulations on all counts. I love Valentine's stories like that.

Dave, one word: Zeitgeist

ScroobiousScrivener said...

Happiness! Love! Romance! I am a true believer.

Never, ever been big on Valentine's Day though.

Tabby Rabbit said...

If it's happy then the story hasn't ended.

Loganoc said...

Very wise words about happy endings, Pash. I've decided to try a more live-in-the moment attitude. No matter what happens in the future I do think yesterday was one of the happiest times in my life... even though I tend to get terribly embarrassed by romantic things.

Spinsterella said...

'The One' is definitely a load of bollocks.

I was going to agree wholeheartedly with what Tabby said, but it's starting to depress me. Perhaps I'm not that cynical after all..

LC said...

Don't worry P - your gag about "Licensed Stalking Day" has not gone unnoticed at work. I would have laughed louder at it, but there's something about this time of year that fills me with black, hateful bitterness. Can't quite put my finger on it...

entropy said...

Tenuous linkage, but just saw on BBC News site that Willie Nelson has decided to release a "gay cowboy song".

Still do think window displays around February would look so much more tasteful with black roses and barbed wire hearts. Though have mellowed a bit recently.

patroclus said...

Oo, entropy, we're right back to Calexico and their classic broken-hearted cowboy dirge "Black Heart", and I quote:

Spring is frozen, now I'm stuck in low
Wrapped with wire, tapped to the heart
Can't find no poison, now I've got no cure
Fangs are stuck inside my skin...

I do like a nice bit of aesthetic unity, me.

cello said...

Don't believe in 'The One', but do believe in 'This one'll do nicely'. Don't believe in 'happy endings' but 'happy ongoings'. And romance isn't 'out there' waiting to be discovered; rather it's inside you waiting to be let out.

belladona said...

Yeh, it's all bollocks. 'The One'. Ha. *Blows raspberry*.

the Beep said...

You're all wrong, you cynical lot! And one day I'll tell you about it. Sick buckets may be required.

Oh, and VD is my 4th (or maybe 5th - you do forget) anniv of nisi. Or maybe it was the 20th. WTF, it was February.


I'm sure it was.

a cute cherub said...

*waltzes in, spritzing hearts everywhere*

good god, go get drunk won't you?

::grumble::grumble
bunch of crabs...
*spritz*

patroclus said...

Beep: Sounds like a good, heartwarming story. Please tell.

Cherub: Drunk? Drunk? I can do better than that - I'm going to Leamington Spa! Who needs alcohol, eh?

entropy said...

Feel I should confess that I am happily loved-up. I just find all the window displays very very tacky.

Konrad said...

You could read my Valentine's post

Dave F said...

Isn't Keanu Reeves "the One"? Sorry. As an unabashed but severely battered romantic, I have always believed "the One" must exist. But so far I have to report coming up blank. The person I am divorced from never was the One. It was youthful over-enthusiasm.
I thought a tempestuous raven-haired actress was the One for a while, but it was too hot not to cool down, as Sinatra says.
Oh, and someone I fear probably was the One fell for someone else who she said was the One. One plus One equals two, minus One equals one, alone. Since then, my serial monogamy has turned up not one single One. I'm still looking -- I am one big fool for love.

I'm depressed now, thanks.

patroclus said...

Oh Dave, don't be depressed. Here, have some sugar snap peas and lemon & coriander hummus. No? Oh, alright then.

Well, it looks like the jury is well and truly out on whether The One exists or not. LC once said (I'm sure he won't mind me saying) that he doesn't believe in The One, but rather The Few, which seems to be a very sensible attitude to me.

But hey, Valentine's Day's over now. Let's go back to talking about Pictish inscriptions and Umberto Eco novels! Or Life on Mars! Anyone?

frangelita said...

I think the Few is the right idea - cos otherwise you might hypothetically never meet your One. Plus the One for when you are 16 and the One when you are 30 would be quite different. (I have my One for now and he bought me flowers, pink champagne and two bras which I made him get. I only like Valentine's Day when it works out in my favour;-))

patroclus said...

Oo, lucky you, frangelita. Tell me about the bras - I love fancy underwear, I do. I like to think of myself as a bit like Mrs Smiling in that respect.

Kyahgirl said...

hello again P. I've cast off my cherub disguise and am back to listen to Pictish conversations.

I do agree wholeheartedly with cello on this valentines topic though.

well, carry on. have fun at the spa.

Dave F said...

Actually P, I love hummus, swiped on to pita. Sugar snap peas are new to me.

Wyndham said...

Dave: "tempestuous raven-haired actress."

Well. The destination may have not have been much cop, but the journey sounded lively.

cello said...

Hummus is a topic I could dribble on about for ages. In fact any combination of the legume and allium family can get me over-excited. I am such a peasant. In young Cello's Civilisation game, where you can build a Greek city, the staple crops are beans, onions, wheat and grapes, which sounds to me like a perfect supper.

patroclus said...

Timeo danaos et leguminae ferentes

Which, roughly translated, means "I am a pretentious twat".

Dave F said...

Wyndham, it was a hell of a ride, although the amount of alcohol and other social drugs consumed have left my memory of this post-divorce escapade somewhat sporadic. It's not often you find a girlfriend who treats you to electrifying (so to speak), professional stripteases in your bedroom. But most of the crockery and a lot of the furniture was broken before our fling was. I did get a good poem out of it. Great days, great days.

patroclus said...

Did you write the poem, or did she? And do we get to read it?

You may be gratified to know that you were a topic of conversation over lunch at the BAFTA restaurant (darling) on Friday*. Specifically, when are you going to get your own blog? It sounds like the chattering cyber-classes are missing out on some high quality anecdotes!

* I can't quite believe I just wrote that.

Dave F said...

Patro -- I write the poems, I write the poems ... It's in my hoped-to-be forthcoming collection (Publishers of verse all but extinct round these parts).

I had actually consulted Grammar Puss about this starting a blog business. I am simultaneously attracted (ego) and repelled (anxiety-prone) by the idea. But you have just given me an idea for what I could fill it with. I have had/ a colourful career, though I'm much more staid now ... Thanks! Next, how to operate a Blogger account. I'm clueless.

patroclus said...

Oh, you *must*. It is a bit anxiety-inducing (well, very anxiety-inducing at times), but well worth it.

Operating Blogger is easy, but you can always tap me for (rudimentary) technical support - my email address is in my Profile there.

Good luck with the publishers. Was your other book poetry too?

Dave F said...

I really appreciate the offer. I will probably be e-mailing you and Pash for handholding on this if I do it. I really ought to be knocking out the second draft of my screenplay, now that it seems an expert reckons it has a good chance. I can only do that in the evenings, likewise blogging, so ...

The first book was poetry too, yes; quite a while ago now. I didn't publish at all while I worked in media in London for 13 years. I don't do irony, which was de rigueur in UK poetry mags at the time. I got back to it when I returned to Cape Town. I would probably float the odd poem on the putative blog, which would ease the guilt.