At a time when Valentine's Day has become grotesque, a word should be said for old-fashioned romance and youthful matrimony.
Asking me to write a Valentine’s Day column is an unconscionable bit of trolling, like inviting Michael Vick to speak at a PETA luncheon banquet. I cordially dislike “holidays,” especially Christian feasts that have become subsumed into our extended meta-narrative of consumption. I am the sort of reactionary ghoul liable to regale children tracing glitter glue around the edges of construction paper hearts with gruesome stories of Roman martyrdom, and to ask adults what medieval birds having sex has to do with chocolate and garish dinner specials. Besides, everyone knows that florists’ shops are a racket.
But in addition to being a more or less obliging contributing editor, I am at heart a romantic, and so instead of begging off Micah’s invitation, I will do as I was asked and use the occasion of next week’s holiday to say something about a subject of not inconsiderable interest to me. I mean, of course, my wife.
In the extended social circles to which I belong a great deal of agony surrounds discussions of the so-called “dating scene.” Men are so lazy and so childish, and just look at the icky things they tweet; women are impossible to approach, etc. My own belief is that beneath all the other difficulties real and imagined is risk-aversion. The longer people wait to pair up in the hope of finding the “right” one, the likelier they are to become so settled in their habits—and so neurotic about the opposite sex—that no prospective partner will be capable of ticking all of the ever-increasing number of boxes. It’s better to be young and poor and struggling.