Tag Archives: Valentine’s day

The standard Valentine’s Day blog post by a 30-year old single christian man

So it’s Valentine’s day again. You’ve seen the title of the blog post and I wonder why you’re reading this. Is it out of some sense of pity for this oddball social pariah? Is the title a good bit of click baiting? Do you come armed with helpful advice or words of comfort? Do you want to gain an insight into how someone else lives, whose life seems so different from your own? Only you know why you chose to read this; but are you honest enough with yourself to state that reason?

Truth be told, it’s been nearly 8 years since I last went on a date. If such a thing were to ever happen again, I honestly wouldn’t know what to do. I’m sure the world of dating has moved on since then, not least the fact that the world of dating as a working professional is very different from dating as an undergraduate student. It’s simply not a world I inhabit. It’s something Other People do. Other People drive cars. Other People go on holiday every year. We all live in our own different worlds; sometimes they overlap in places. But these are worlds which I do not inhabit. I’m in the world where the working day is 7:30-7:30 including commuting, where I read a variety of books.

The relative paucity of dates is not necessarily indicative of a paucity of friendships, even close friendships. There have been a few over the years who have broken my heart, though it has been nearly a year since the last. She took a few months and a change of home to get over, but one moves on.

The fact is, someone whose “record” is as sparse as mine is unusual for someone my age in this society. I choose to look at it as though the few who have ever dated me are part of a group whose membership is more specialised than the group of people who have set foot on the moon. At times one can question “why?” But the answers aren’t great, if I’m honest with myself. The fact is, I have nothing to offer. I’m not good looking, not exceptionally rich, have no time and am a terrible conversationalist.

We each have to learn who we are. Once we do that, we can either fight against it or learn to accept it. While there are some bits I try to change, I’m mostly at peace with who I am and what I’m about. The things I like, such as reading, writing and hiking are best done alone. Some people can’t face that kind of lifestyle. As if being surrounded by people all day isn’t bad enough, I look forward to the relative peace and quiet of evenings and weekends. While there may, in theory, be room for someone else, it just doesn’t work in practicality.

As I get older, more and more people seem to accept that and I don’t get hassled like I did when I was in my 20s saying I ought to get married or at least go some way towards that. Looking at those younger than me, it makes me a little sad to see so many have their hopes pinned on some vague hope of marrying and having kids, as though they were an end to be aimed for that will solve all their problems. Yes, they may solve some, but they bring with themselves their own problems and stresses. And let’s not get hung up on who has the easier life; it’s a pointless argument of onedownsmanship, like the 4 Yorkshiremen sketch.

From the specific point of view of being a christian, it is especially sad to see such a lack of acceptance of one’s identity and wishing for it to be found in someone else. My identity is found as me, being a part of a global Church, entwined with the living God through the person of Jesus of Nazareth. When you think about it, it’s pretty amazing. To then say, “that’s not enough for me” seems to me as though someone hasn’t quite got it. Yes, human relationships can be fantastic as an addition to the relationship described above (but be careful about the r word, I’m not advocating the ‘Jesus is my boyfriend’ expression of the term – I’m more an advocate of the ecclesial-judicial use of the word) but we need to get a bit perspective to sort out what order things ought to be prioritised in.  You may disagree; you’re welcome to. That’s my plea over for those whose lifestyles aren’t radically different from mine. Sorry if that wasn’t relevant to your particular circumstances.

The plan for today is not to mope or complain. From my perspective, it’s like a national holiday in Argentina – a day of importance for some but of little relevance to me and those like me. I’ll go to work, do some food shopping afterwards, go home, cook dinner (for one, as always) and maybe watch a DVD or read a book. The same as any other Friday.

What about you?

A Valentine’s Day special: The flawed romanticism of The Princess Bride

Happy Valentine’s Day, one and all!

There, that’s done. Now I can carry on a give you some miserly thoughts on the theme of love. Those of you who have met me may testify that I am about 5 foot 6 to 5 foot 8 in height. The observant among you will also note that my avatar is that of a mouse. Therefore, it may not be unfair to describe me as a Rodent Of Unusual Size (ROUS). We large rodents often feel prejudiced against, particularly when it comes to casting in films. There are just so few roles for us. While some may strive for equality in the realms of politics, and others have called for quotas of ROUS in company boardrooms, the cinema is what we really love.

A notable exception to this was the 1987 film, The Princess Bride, when Rodents Of Unusual Size were granted a small cameo role in a scene in the fire swamp. While some protested that it cast us in a villainous role, I was personally not offended by it. However, there is another aspect of that film which I wish to talk about today.

What was not so much offensive, as utterly baffling, was the opening story involving Buttercup and Westley. We are given a bizarre account whereby Westley declares his love by the simple use of a three word phrase, not one of which fitted into “I love you.” This declaration is less than straightforward, to say the least. I know men have difficulty finding the right words when it comes to expressions of love, affection or even modest fondness, but I really think he could have done better.

Then we have to ask ourselves, how did this arise? He may have seen Buttercup each day yet the two never held a proper conversation; unless you consider her ordering him around to be a conversation. Personally, I don’t regard that to be an adequate basis on which one might get to know the hopes & fears, likes & dislikes of another person. If anything, it shows Buttercup to be an extremely mild-mannered proto-dominatrix.

How can you claim to love someone if you don’t know them? Can “true love” be cultivated by the mere observation of how another person looks, moves and orders you about? Though some knowledge about a person may be gleaned from observation, a knowledge of the person requires an understanding that can only come by an intimate and personal conversation. Did Westley and Buttercup ever sit down at the kitchen table and talk about anything and everything over hot chocolate and toasted crumpets until the sun came up the next morning, not realising how much time had passed?

I’m honestly not sure which is more old-fashioned: this idea of love based on sight alone or my idea of actually getting to know someone a little before any such passions arise and take shape. There are times when a conversation may be held in complete silence, with a look of the eye, a tilt of the head or a half smile. Such an understanding, though, can only come once two people have already become accustomed to the minutiae of each other’s mannerisms, which takes quite some time to achieve; getting it wrong along the way can cause misunderstanding, laughter or tears. Only by getting it wrong do we eventually get to know one another well enough to get it right.

Well, I’ve wittered on for long and I’m sure you want me to stop.

As you wish.