Monday, February 14, 2005

Just Another Monday

Really, this year February 14th is just another Monday. I've never been overly sentimental about Valentine's day. As a kid, it was just another excuse to get some candy. Later, it often was just a reminder that I was alone. Now, with a family, preparing candy bags for my daughter's class takes some of the fun out of it. Okay, my wife actually put together the bags of candy, I just held them shut while she taped them closed. I think she would not be doing this if we had more than one child, but we'll have to wait for another child to confirm that belief.

The great aspect about the mostly free flow of information on the internet is that you can get information about almost anything. Take the New York Times online, for example. Today, you'd find an article debunking some of the Valentine's Day mythos with a little history:

Popular celebrations of Valentine's Day gained ground in the late 17th century, but not until 100 years later did most Europeans and Americans begin to agree that marriage should be based on love and young people should freely choose their own partners. Even in the 19th century there were still many defenders of traditional marriage who predicted that the new vogue for "marriage by fascination" instead of hardheaded negotiation would undermine the social order, and that high expectations of marriage would lead only to discontent.

They had a point. High expectations of married love can lead to huge disappointments, and free choice means that an individual can refuse to settle for a marriage where love is absent. Thus modern marriage almost inevitably brings higher divorce rates. Prince Charles and Diana Spencer, for instance, could have had a very stable marriage if she had not refused to live with the traditional disconnect between love and marriage - a disconnect that both Charles and his new fiancée, Camilla Parker Bowles, were prepared to accept 20 years ago (though presumably not today).

See, it makes perfect sense that I want to maintain low expectations in my marriage. I'm pretty sure that in the 10 years I've known my wife, including the last 7 in...uh..."wedded bliss", I haven't observed Valentine's Day. Of course, our anniversary is the week before, which gives me some leeway to claim joint gifts. In retrospect, it might have been better to have our wedding a week after Valentine's day. In that situation, you'd always be getting the post-holiday sale prices.

Oh yeah, love is in the air.

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Blogger Cyrus said...

You, my friend, are beginning to border on misanthropy (I have yet to find the spell check in the post enviornment). It is ironic that as the enlightenment gained in its ascendency, romantic idealism would enfeeble the marital institution with such notions as -- love. After all what is love but Eros with its wings clipped and blunted arrows? Give your wife a kiss, your daughter a hug, pay the bills, pack those candy bags, pour yourself a nice cold can of Coke and watch the Matrix -- the power of love baby.

11:09 AM  
Blogger Cyrus said...

I've blogged and I can't get out.

11:10 AM  
Blogger Michael M. Davis said...

Ah, yes, my friend. Very interesting, but I would also posit that seeking love in marriage could have been as much a matter of overthrowing the systematic oppression of women within the martimonial bond. "Love" empowered women as decision-makers.

11:40 AM