Sunday, February 10, 2013

Love Story

Love Story, Paramount Pictures, 1970
February is pretty crowded for being the shortest month of the year:  Black History Month, the Super Bowl, Eating Disorder Awareness Month, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show (well, that's a big deal to some of us anyway) and, of course, Valentine's Day.  The latter is coming up and those of us who are long over the thrill of a manufactured holiday cannot seem to get away from it.  The normal beer and shaving cream ads during the hockey games are replaced by jewelry ads, perfume ads and promotions for some movie based on a Nicholas Sparks book.  I can without a doubt guarantee you that no one watching hockey would willingly go to a movie like that, but lots of people watching hockey have significant others who would, so, since I watch a lot of hockey, I've been subjected to it several times recently.  Oh well, no matter, Valentine's Day is almost here and then it will all be over.  But, that got me thinking about romantic movies over time and how they don't all necessarily have to be so nauseating.  Take Out of Africa, for instance.  Or Casablanca.  One movie I hadn't thought about in eons is Love Story, but apparently it hasn't faded into complete oblivion because a couple used the theme music for their free dance recently during the US National Figure Skating Championships.  I do not hold it in the same category as Out of Africa, but it came out when I was a little girl and it was a massive sensation.  All my babysitters were so completely over the moon about it - they all wanted to have someone like Ryan O'Neal fall in love with them and they all wanted to be Ali McGraw.  And the theme song was everywhere.  You just couldn't get away from it - even if you were just a girl, more interested in loving puppies than people.  And the tag line - oh my! - it was on everyone's lips:  Love Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry.  It was so prevalent that it has been voted No. 13 on AFI's 100 Most Quoted Movie Lines.  The movie may have taken melodrama to a whole other schmaltzy level, but in terms of a business venture, it was genius.  I watch ads for romantic movies now and wonder if producers are forever hoping to replicate what that movie and a few rare successors have achieved.  But, marketing genius or not, I have to say it's one of the dumbest movie lines of all time.  I'm with John Lennon who once said, "Love means having to say you're sorry every five minutes."  Maybe every five minutes is a little overstated, but I agree with the concept:  love, really, deep, long lasting love is all about being able to accept that you will do and say dumb things to your loved one on occasion and you have to be able to atone for it. 

It occurred to me yesterday that I have been with the same partner for over three decades now.  We have beat all odds so far to be able to say that, and I am not sure I really know how we did it.  As a matter of fact, if I stop and think about all those days when we struggled to come together over how to treat Kelsey and Marissa's disease, those horrible dark days after we lost Kelsey, and all the normally hard days when we were strained over money, who got to do what or go where, and even whose football team is better (mine), I am actually extremely amazed that here we still are together.  But we prevail, so I think it gives me credibility to say that love cannot be boiled down into a simple tag line.  But, if it could be, it certainly wouldn't be that one.   Love is Messy; Wear Wading Boots might be a better one.

I don't think, despite our longevity, that we are in a good position to be giving any young couples advice, but, if pressed, I think it would have to be:  accept that you are two separate, unique individuals and there will be days you do not see eye-to-eye, and there will be days when that is the least of your problems, but try and approach everyday and every decision with both of you in mind (not something we have always done, by the way).  When you do mess up - because you will - be sincere in your acknowledgment of it and learn from it so you do not keep making the same mistake.  When your partner messes up, remember all the times the tables were turned and treat your partner like you would want them to treat you.  And, maybe most important of all, do not make your love interest take you to a sappy movie on Thursday instead of staying home to watch some hockey!

Happy Valentine's Day, yinzers!

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