I realized somewhat belatedly that last Sunday was Valentine's Day.
I'm not big on holidays (that's a topic for whole 'nother post) and, generally speaking, I think that not celebrating holidays is freeing. Celebrating Christmas or Easter or Valentine's Day means taking on a lot of obligations...I must buy gifts, I must dye eggs, I must buy expensive flowers and eat out at an overcrowded restaurant; and if I don't, I'm a Scrooge, or un-Christian, or un-romantic. Bah humbug, I say. I don't celebrate most* of the holidays as a matter of principle (to explain this would require the 'nother post) and therefore I'm free of the obligations and free of the guilt. I like it that way.
But I digress. What an overused phrase, "I digress." I wince to hear myself say it. But to continue, it's hard to make it through a Valentine's Day season, with all its attendant marketing, without thinking of romance. I came across a "how did you meet your spouse" conversation recently (online) and that reminded me of a recent trip to Walmart.
It was a Friday night and I was in the pasta aisle. I passed a woman and her friend selecting spaghetti sauce. They were dressed to the nines in stiletto heels and trendy outfits, hair and nails perfectly done. Behind them a few paces was a tall guy pushing a cart full of frozen TV dinners and ice cream.
"Hey, can I talk to you for a minute?" the guy asked.
The prettier of the two women looked back over her shoulder. "Who, me?" she asked, casually leaning on her cart (I bet those stiletto heels were killing her feet).
"Yeah. What's your name?"
She turned around and looked him over carefully from head to toe. (Her not-as-pretty friend politely examined the label on a jar of sauce.) Inspection complete, she gave him her name and asked for his. Formalities out of the way, he got to the point. "So, uh, are you married?"
"No," she said, then asked suspiciously, "Are you?" When he shook his head, she asked, "How old are you?"
And by now I was farther down the aisle and was mercifully spared the rest of the conversation. The whole thing struck me as being bizarre. The really bizarre part was their body language. Neither one of them smiled, at all. Both of them seemed hesitant, and wary.
And rightfully so, of course. I mean, seriously, who thinks that they are going to find that special someone in the pasta aisle at Walmart on a Friday night? Seriously? It was almost kind of funny.
But the sad thing is, I don't think that this sort of thing is all that uncommon. A few words about the weather or class or something equally trivial, then phone numbers exchanged, perhaps a date set up. How can those brief few moments possibly be enough to tell you whether you've found that special someone? What are the odds, really, that the random guy from Walmart (or class, or the bar, or wherever) is going to be the one for you? Not good, right? What a recipe for disappointment.
So, then, how do you find that special someone? You know, the one to grow old with, the one to stick by your side through thick and thin, insert heart-warming cliche here? Hmmm...well my experience renders me more qualified to speak about how *not* to find that special someone, I'm afraid. So I can't answer that question for you.
(A very good answer, of course, would be "at church." And that's how my two happily-married siblings, and most of our married friends, found their spouses. But small churches have their limitations.)
Feel free to comment to share how you met your spouse or significant other. I love hearing those stories.
*I do celebrate Thanksgiving and don't think it's a burden. :)