ugh. perhaps you've seen this insipid slogan in its natural habitat - a third-rate tacky-jewelry emporium that advertises during playoff football games. the commercial is just everything i abhor about the depiction of modern relationships. it's a dialogue, superimposed over shots of teddy bears, chocolates and really ugly jewelry:
woman (in a tone best described as bitchy): "what are you getting me for valentine's day?"
w: "is it sparkly?" [cut to god-awful-tacky necklace]
w: "is it sweet?" [cut to standard-issue heart-shaped chocolate box]
m: "um... let's just say it's a surprise."
w: "and THAT'S how i know i'm loved."
oh, for the love of all things sacred and holy. there is so much wrong with this - crass commercialism, materialism writ large, reinforcement of standard, trite gender-role stereotypes - that a sociology class could do a study on it. but the worst part of all of it is this: it's such a sad, hollow commentary on the state of modern love. i mean, it's so empty that it physically hurts me to think about it. really, you poor woman? you only know you're loved because he got you some stupid gemstone? ouch. my soul aches for your shallow life.
that's just not the way to go about it. no, the way to know you're loved is to, well, live your relationship. be present, be aware, and appreciate the small, comfortable little gestures. at least that's how it works for me. the man will never be that guy who does the GRAND, SWEEPING ROMANTIC GESTURE. his exact words were, i'm REALLY bad at valentine's day. this is also no surprise to me. i know my boyfriend well. to expect him to turn into someone else because the greeting-card folks made up a day when we all have to try really hard to "prove our love" through commercial transactions would be the height of silly.
but who needs grand, sweeping gestures? i have daily reassurances. i have things like this:
- random texts, just because he's thinking of me
- going out to happy hours and dinners when he'd rather go home, eat takeout and watch TV
- being driven all the way to class, when all i expected was a ride to the train
- watching entire hockey games when he wants to watch movies (and hates hockey)
- keeping an ankle brace and a heating pad at his house, reserved just for me
- at night, sometimes, he folds me up in his arms, kisses me on the forehead, and whispers i love you into my hair when he thinks i'm sleeping (this one is my favorite)
the list goes on like that. it's not a present, some empty material thing, that shows me where i stand. it's the life we lead together, the bond we've built for so long now, that assures me, comforts me. and unlike that poor, sad creature in the jewelry commercial, my signs are 100% real.
yeah, honey, that's how i know i'm loved. and that's how it should be.