Hey, so it’s Valentine’s Day. Look, I know how uncool it is to even have it on your radar, but given that I haunt so many American blogs, it’s hard not to be aware of the date.
The thing is, it’s always kind of assumed that, if you’re a girl, you’re either pathetically misty-eyed and crazy about the whole thing, or you’re alone and desperate and bitter about it, and also crazy. But really, most of us are kind of in between. Kind of indifferent, really. There’s all this Occupy Valentine’s Day stuff, which does kind of appeal to my cynical side, but I just don’t care enough about this day to even hate it.
And really, why would I hate it? Sure, it’s dorky and lame and “if you really love each other you don’t need a special day to remind you of it” and blah blah blah. But I’ve had a couple of really great Valentine’s Days in the past, with all that sweet romantic champagne and rose petals sort of thing. And it was nice.
But I don’t really mind that I don’t have that tonight. I’m pretty happy with the way things are in my life, and for the first time I don’t feel like I need someone to tell me I’m beautiful. It’s really nice to have someone to cuddle with, and of course I want to fall in love again, but I don’t feel like I’ll die without it. And that’s a really exciting place to be in. I finally feel like my life is pretty good, and falling in love would just be a nice bonus, not the thing that would hold me together.
So I spent my Valentine’s Day night with someone who, when I (ironically, of course, buoyed on cheap wine) said “So happy Valentine’s Day, then!” responded with, “Oh fuck. Is it seriously?” But whatever. At the end of the night, I’m still thinking about everything I love about love. And (still buoyed on cheap wine) I made a list of all the most romantic things I can think of:
I have a thing about lighthouses. It’s an obsession of mine – my ultimate fantasy is to live in a lighthouse, locked away from the world, looking out over the stormy sky and choppy water from a cosy little glowing tower. I don’t mind if I’m with a lover or just alone with my typewriter; either way, it’s just about the most deliciously romantic thing I can imagine.
Piazza, New York Catcher by Belle and Sebastian
There are three lines that just about kill me every time. “I love you, I’ve a drowning grip on your adoring face…”,”I wish that you were here with me to pass the dull weekend…” and “I’ll meet you at the statue in an hour.” Those gorgeously innocent lines, and the cute guitar melody, and Stuart Murdoch’s softly whispering Scottish voice make it just the nicest love song. It’s like, you’re always told not to use the word “nice” to describe anything, but there really is no better word for it in this case.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Heathcliff is just the ultimate sexy bad boy, and when you add that to those creepy, wintry moors and mad, passionate Catherine and just the generally gothic deliciousness of it all, Wuthering Heights is pretty much the most beautiful, tragic, incredibly romantic book to ever exist.
Wavy hair with braids
I think hair is romantic. And there’s just something so exquisite and lovely about hairstyles with soft, loose waves and delicate little braids, and I wish my hair looked like that ALL THE TIME. It makes me think of horses on the beach and girls wandering waif-like on desert islands and Taylor Swift in Love Story and all of those romantic things.
Pablo Neruda’s love poems
I’m not even all that into poetry, but Pablo Neruda’s love poems are so excrutiating they just about kill me. I used to torture myself over Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair, feeling miserable because it was exactly how I felt, but also because I know I could never write something that captures those feelings so accurately. Listen:
Another’s. She will be another’s. As she was before my kisses.
Her voice, her bright body. Her infinite eyes.
I don’t know how he does it, but he just taps right down into the core of the elation and agony of love, and he makes you feel it so acutely in your belly.
Pink Bullets by the Shins
It’s more of a breakup song, but it just makes me ache in that way that I can’t quite tell if I’m happy or sad. And isn’t that kind of what love feels like? “Over the ramparts you tossed the scent of your skin and some foreign flowers”;“The years have been short, but the days were long.” You just try not to start sobbing from that gut-wrenching loveliness.
Blue Eyes, Black Hair by Marguerite Duras
It’s not even a love story, but it just makes me want to weep. A man and a woman are holed up in a seaside hotel room together, both despairing about the love they have for someone else. And it’s incredibly intimate, and sensual, and poignant, in a completely unexpected way.
It’s more about the champagne feeling than the drink itself. Getting drunk on bubbles is different to say, doing tequila shots. That’s why I always order it, even in a filthy old bar, not just on special occasions, and I refuse to call it champers. To me champagne smells and tastes like excitement, like possibilities, like everything sparkling. Basically, drinking champagne feels like falling in love. (Except, of course, when you drink a bit too much, and then some idiot calls you fat, and you become a big weeping mess and it’s like the tears just won’t stop. But the rest of the time.)