Friday 9 February 2007

'I love you!' Three Little Words that can mean so very little!

I love my woman. She loves me. She knows it and I know it and lots of other people know it too.
Sometimes quite out of the blue I become burdened in the chest region, and I have to tell her I love her. Sometimes it's when leaving or returning from overseas; after joyous acts of kindness; intimate moments... there is no definitive list.
The point is that there are certain moments when saying 'I love you' is perfect, and there are an infinite amount of other times when it is pointless.
So harsh. So cruel. So 'male', I hear the females out there cry.
Well yes, as male as male can be. But did you ever wonder why men tend not to say 'I love you' as much as women?
Did you ever consider that it may be because, for us, those three words really mean something?
To us men it seems like women play for some kind of Fantasy Love League, where each time they say 'I love you' they score a point, and when their partner says it back to them they score five. Every text, phone call, trip to the loo for a peeper, all can entail the need for profound emotional exchange.
It used to be all too easy to try and pin it down to old-fashioned stereotypical behaviours, but they are outdated. Women these days are out there, sisters doing it for themselves, so surely they do not need the same constant reassurances that their more constrained predecessors longed for.
To us blokes, the constant reiteration of the Three Little Words does nothing more than diminish their power. It's not that we are incapable of feelings. Despite appearances to the contrary, we do not lack the full emotional panorama.
It just looks that way because women have for centuries carpet-bombed the Arena of Lurrrve with their very particular version of romance.
Take Valentine's Day. Please, take it. (arf!)
Is there a day out there more lacking in romance than the fourteenth of February?
Don't you dare accuse me of being bah humbug about this. I am absolutely not attacking romance, but rather launching an assault on Valentines Day, that killer of romance, murderer of amore.
Valentine's Day is to romance what New Year's Eve is to spontaneity.
Each of those occasions carries a feeling of obligation, alongside a list of places to be, acts to perform. You are meant to dress up, drink a lot and for god's sake be happy.
Can there be anything worse, or indeed more pointless than being forced to be happy?
Well, yes. Being forced to be romantic, because that, to me and I suspect millions of other men, is impossible.
Just because we don't fit into the framework of romance as constructed by women, we are considered devoid of romance.
But what, pray tell me, is romantic about obligation?
What is romantic about having to do something on a certain day?
What is romantic about everybody doing the same things - eating chocolate drinking champagne eating heart-shaped food in suddenly pink restaurants -at the same time?
Absolutely nothing. To this male, Valentine's Day is something you do to keep 'Her Indoors' on board, and if that makes me sound horribly unromantic, then you couldn't be more wrong.
I love romance. I adore being romantic, and I'm saying that as a bloke who loves beer and football, a man who prefers to wake up with someone who has different bits .
Being romantic gives me a thrill of excitement that I hope will be imparted to my woman.
Sometimes romance is about being thoughtful, thinking what she might like, or love to do, and then planning it, and presenting it as a surprise.
Other times, romance is a random and sudden act of love or kindness that exhibits consideration and, ideally, a special and insightful understanding of herself, executed in a way that nobody else could.
Romance can be a tingle; something unique - perchance an occasion on which to utter those Three Little Words, and give them back the power that they deserve.
I love you.
And look, see here! See what I have done to show you that this is true. See this romantic act or gift or evening or drive or meal or act of love. It shows you that I mean what I say when I say I love you.
So yes, we men know what romance is, and we know what it is not. We know is not about having to do anything. Romance is not an obligation, and it can never be a duty.
Romance is pure unadulterated pleasure, a selfish excitement at the thought of the smile that will be implanted upon the face of your loved one.
So don't be disappointed if we men don't conform to your own very female construct of love and romance.
We love the power of love so much we do not not want to go on and on about it. We do not want to say it 40 times a day, precisely because it becomes pointless and worthless, and then, well, then what is left?
We do not love romance when it is ordered from us like dinner from a waiter, yet given the chance, we are full of it. Just because our notion of romance doesn't come in the girly wrapping paper that you dreamed up in your collective minds' eyes, it doesn't mean men are incapable of it.
Just let us do it our own way.
I'd hate to see women squander their hard-won liberation by making as many ignorant assumptions as did their old male oppressors.
Last week I was in a shop in the Westside, and the woman in front of me was having a giggle with the checkout lady about a fridge magnet she was buying.
She blushed as she turned to show it to me.
'If we can send a man to the moon, why can't we send all of them?' it said in its comical way. I chuckled and behaved myself, but inside I fumed as I imagined what her outraged and offended reaction would have been had I handed her one wherein the word 'man' was replaced with the word 'woman'.
Romance is a two way street. We men have changed, and I suggest that women might look anew at yourselves, and wonder if you might not benefit from a little modernising too.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sue from England says:
About the whole Valentine’s thing…here are some thoughts:
My best Valentine - with my mates (helped I should mention by a mystery ring at the door half way through the night - no-one there, but a party bag of Haagen-Dazs ice cream and wine on the doorstep)

Worst Valentine - with the man I thought at the time I might marry! A so-called special night where he was cooking for me. To give you some background, he often cooked whilst I sat at the breakfast bar in his kitchen and we chatted about the day. Of necessity, he would have his back to me as he cooked as the kitchen was small and arranged that way. We always ate at the breakfast bar rather than the dining room table, which I had never seen used.

For this Valentine, we had agreed on a special night in, neither of us wanting to be stuck with a load of strangers in a restaurant. So I got dressed clothes, nice underwear... and waited for him to come and collect me, which he had said he wanted to do.

He arrived, in his work clothes, as usual, proceeded to cook a meal for me that he had cooked half a dozen times before, whilst I talked to his back, as usual. We ate, not in the dining room, but at the breakfast bar this time accompanied by an industrial size candle plonked on the table end. Somehow I didn't feel very special.

In fact I felt very un-special.

And that to me is ultimately what Valentines Day is about. Not about hearing 'I love you', but about one day in the year when you get a clear message that you are indeed special to the person you love.

I agree that by and large most women have a higher need for that affection (not romance) to be demonstrated. Most - not all. I know several women who would sooner save the cash to buy themselves a new bike computer than have half a dozen red roses, or any other kind of flower for that matter).

But isn't a loving relationship in part about giving the other a little of what keeps them happy? If we are in the realms of generalization, the same argument has held true for years about male/female sex drive. Surely, like many things, this is about a compromise, in this case between two different languages of love. It's not about an empty, mechanical gesture - that would indeed be pointless - and I've been given flowers that have quickly found their way to the bin for that very reason.

I would love to be in a relationship and not give a toss about Valentines Day. I would love it to be irrelevant. But, say what you might about your sex and your romantic-literacy, in my experience, if you actually do any of those spontaneous romantic gestures you write about, you are a rare breed indeed. And in the absence of the un-asked for, in the lack of random, spontaneous, personally-crafted messages, I'll take the asked for, structured, yearly serving. Just do it in a way that works for me and the man that I am with. It still needs to be personal. Give me an intimate evening at home with a bottle of wine and not a heart shaped cake in sight.
A man who takes me to a pink restaurant is clearly clueless about me – but if that works for you, fill yer boots.