What Valentine’s Day and Jane Austen Have in Common

 

In college, I often indulged in Jane Austen’s carefully written romance novels involving a pale skinned damsel living her life in anticipation of one day meeting her prince. I breathed in her words like the sweet scent of flowery truth. Between the lines of her eloquently and cunningly well written stories are indications of her resentment of propriety and traditionalism. Reading deeper into her passages led me to an unspoken truth. One of the many reasons so many women are captivated by her love stories is because of the way she cultivates an image of the perfect male and the most sought after relationship. A strapping young lad has fallen in love with you, yet has to hold back his affections. You can see the love in the sparkles of his eyes and from then on you knew. The young man relentlessly does kind things for you under the guise of basic cordiality. One day he finally proposes and they skip off into the sunset like Robin Hood and Maid Marian. Close the book, then we’re back to reality.

I’m just going to say it, Valentine’s Day is a terrible holiday. But it isn’t a bad holiday for me. In theory, Valentine’s Day is entirely a day for women in relationships, which I am in. But what about everyone else? What about the men that have to fork over hundreds of dollars for flowers, chocolates, jewelry and of course dinner? What about the single ladies who basically have to sit in their rooms in shame because they don’t meet the necessary qualifications (having a boyfriend/husband) to celebrate Valentine ’s Day? What about the guys that are in a relationship with someone but can’t afford to buy fancy stuff? Like Jane Austen’s fanciful tales, Valentine’s Day is like a fantasy. If only we had a boyfriend/girlfriend we would be able to skip into the sunset too. Close the book and look at reality.

Yesterday, a bunch of my friends got flowers delivered to the office. Fortunately for me, I’m up front so I got to see all the flowers as the mailmen dropped them off. One. By. One. Naturally, because I was in a relationship, I expected to get flowers the same as everyone else’s. So my mood went sour as the hours passed by and still no flowers. As I trudged towards the subway on my way home, I saw men carrying covered flowers of various sizes. They were wrapped so beautifully and perfectly, I could only imagine the surprise on the receivers face. My boyfriend has never been the very romantic type, but I dismissed giving him any benefit of the doubt because I deserve flowers dammit! However, low and behold when I went home I saw, not flowers, but Call of Duty. He had forked over about 50 bucks to buy the DLC zombie modes. All day I had my head buried in a Jane Austen book, but when I closed the book I saw the reality of what a happy relationship meant for me.

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