Do you dare to chase a lobster?
The only thing he had to deal with was his would-be in-laws. The legendary Orpheus needed only refrain from looking back on the beautiful Eurydice to live happily ever after. Ben Stiller? All he had to do was overcome Brett Favre at the 11th hour — hardly a challenge these days. These celebrated “Heroes of Love” are anything but.
And the great ones, the megalomaniacal romantics I admire, are forgotten. Gaston Leroux’s title character (Le Fantôme) composed an opera. Gatsby pined for decades over a flower. Hinckley went a little overboard to win Jodie Foster’s affection, but you get the idea.
It’s Valentine’s Day, and I shudder to ask, “What are your plans?”
Shelves are lined with dead-eyed stuffed bears; White Castle is taking reservations and roses are on special at Pick ‘n Save. Thoughtless romance is yours for the taking at discounted rates. Passion plays no part in this holiday anymore.
So, I stand before you as Love’s belated Jacob Marley. There’s still time, change your ways! You will be visited by three grim specters of apathetic compliance: buy the gifts, make the reservations and have all the boring sex you want.
Or, you can champion this holiday. Reject the norm and shake it up for real.
That card you’re clutching with the puppy and kitten snuggled up next to one another has a recycle logo printed on the back for a reason: its ultimate resting place will be at the bottom of a landfill. Is this the value of your affection? A card and jewelry purchased because tradition demands it? Obligation will only stay your romantic executions for so long.
Something new is in order. Your ability aside, ice-skating at Red Arrow Park could be stalwart. A walk through Schlitz Audubon Nature Center will be taken for sensitivity. A road trip to Door County will be viewed as charming. The point is, there’s no substitute for real adventure. Embrace all the city offers and you’ll work up an appetite in the process.
The maître d’ at Lake Park Bistro once told me “other than sex, cooking was the only action that delighted all the senses.” Yet tradition dictates shelling out as much money as possible to dine out. You’re passing up culinary coitus to eat with strangers in a crowded restaurant. Grill vegetables. Buy steaks. Boil a lobster. Kill something in the name of love! If all goes to hell, you end up eating Chinese on the floor. If you succeed, it’s the story of the first time you made lobster and chased the damn thing all over the apartment for a half hour. It’s a story, something intimate only the two of you share. Everyone wins — except for the lobster. He’s screwed.
The two greatest champions of sex these days are Dr. Ruth and the Kama Sutra. One is a couple thousand years old, and I’m not entirely sure when the Kama Sutra was written. Not counting Dan Savage, we’ve no modern Don Juan. Save the mindless, accountant sex you’ve habitually complained to your friends about for tomorrow.
Valentine’s Day should be about passion! This is the person you love — or like enough to cook for. Prove it! Shake the foundation of your home. Don’t worry about breaking the bed because you’re going to start in the kitchen (and you’re not doing it right unless the neighbors call the police). Hell, if Valentine’s Day didn’t fall on a Sunday this year I’d be advocating ‘nooners.
By God! Put some heart into your plans, some thought. Life is about experience and all of those moments and memories you collect along the way. And the measure of those experiences is the one you share them with. Valentine’s Day calls upon us to celebrate life and love with someone special, to make long-lasting memories, to give us something to crave with intense desperation at the end of the day. Spine-rippling quarts of adrenaline should fire to your heart and head at the mere mention of the one you love.
Where there is love, you will find passion. Act on it. Breathe life back into this holiday.
As for myself? I have a Peter Gabriel cassette tape and an old boom box. Valentine’s Day will most likely find me in my orange trenchcoat outside her apartment, holding the damnable thing over my head cranked full bore.
I only hope her boyfriend isn’t home.