Friday, 29 August 2014

Bad romance? No, MY romance

Red roses are my least favourite blooms. Declarations of undying love for "my pooky-wooky" make me gag. I don't ‘do’ or expect a fuss for St Valentine's Day or anniversaries. If I want flowers, I'll pick or buy them myself. I greet gushing public declarations a la “you’re my everything” with raised eyebrows and a healthy dose of cynicism. Most love songs leave me cold. And if you're wondering who shot Cupid - well, I WAS born under the sign of the archer.

But I AM a hopeless romantic. 

Almost from the cradle, we’re spoon-fed a narrow idea of romance: hearts, flowers, god-awful (and frankly creepy) stuffed animals, clichéd music and girly dreams of waltzing down the aisle as you surrender to the bliss of married life where your man will protect and cherish you, and you will look after his every domestic need in exchange.

Despite having tied the knot twice, that was never a dream I could swallow hook, line and sinker. (For the record, marriage No.2 - to a Greek from a traditional Mediterranean family - is still going strong nearly two decades on. And yes, I DO cook and clean – and so does he…  sometimes.)

Of course I love the Ovver Arf. But we’ve never been about the idea of me being a precious, delicate flower to be showered with love tokens and him being my rock, my provider and my protector. Whenever he tries to come on all manly and commanding with a stern "Listen to me, woman!", all it takes an exchanged look and we're both laughing like drains.

It’s not love, but friendship, that has seen us through the joys and sorrows of the past quarter of century - including the challenges of a Brit-Greek union and all the conflicts, practical and existential crises that have come with it.

As the song says “Love will tear us apart” – especially when it comes hand-in-sweaty-hand with unrealistic expectations of devotion, adulation and a romantic idyll really only found in Disney happy-ever-after endings.

We don’t do date nights. We don’t consider it essential to “still find each other sexy after all these years”. I don’t have a single matching set of underwear that I drag out of the drawer for ‘special occasions’.

But the day we can no longer laugh together will be the saddest day of my life.

I like to say that silliness saves lives. I’m pretty sure it can save marriages too.

Last night, we spent an hour or two over souvlaki and chips, watching boats bobbing in the harbour and discussing possible designs (and bodily locations) if I decide to get a tattoo before my 50th birthday. Suggestions included a quote including the word ‘enema’ – but that’s another story. We got a few sideways looks from our fellow diners, especially when I started snorting into the salad. But we laughed, we relaxed, and we revisited exactly what it was that we liked about each other when we first met back ’89. That’s all we need to renew our vows or remind us of why we’re together.

I have never told him “I can’t live without you”. I can. I just don’t want to. After all, there’s not many out there who ‘get me’ like he does.

1 comment:

  1. This is hitting the nail on the head.......if you are lucky enough to find someone that you want to be with every day then you are very very blessed....romance isn't greeting cards and red roses and all that malarkey .....we are both lucky enough to know that and have someone special in our lives..long may it continue.