Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Love Actually

Love Actually is one of my favorite romantic comedies. It's a mess. Seriously. The movie looks at several couples, each with their own mess. And the couples are all different; one couple is actually not a couple in the traditional sense, but a washed-up hack of a rock star, aged by time and weathered by hard living, and his manager, a soft-in-the-middle guy who'd probably be a blue collar worker if he didn't become a rock manager. Neither of them ever married, but spent the majority of their adult lives together. SPOILER ALERT! At the end of the movie, the rocker admits to his "fat, ugly" manager that he really is the love of his life, never having allowed himself real intimacy past the occasional "blonde bouncing on his balls."

Then, there's the office workers, an American living in London, taking cell phone calls from her mental hospital-resident brother at any moment of the day or night, who is desperately in love with the hot art director, who is desperately in love with her. Her devotion is to her schizophrenic brother alone, leaving her painful-to-watch lonely, but you get it anyway.

I decided that I would indeed do what so many do on Valentine's Day, and write about love. But, I plan to not to write about red roses and schlocky cards (which I admit to buying), but rather about messy love, imperfect love, untraditional love. I plan to keep screaming about America's current obsession with love (and sex, really) until America lets go of its obsession with love (and sex).

Bill Frist recently announced his plans to reintroduce a Constitutional amendment called the "Protection of Marriage" Act, which is supposed to be the final nail in the coffin on same-sex marriage. It's supposed to do what the GOP thinks DOMA doesn't do. Today, in New York City, and other cities across the nation, rallies are being held in support of marriage equality, which goes beyond same-sex marriage. The rhetoric to counter marriage equality is the same foolishness tossed around forever: "gays don't marry, they only hook up for sex," "if gays marry, then what's next, marrying your pet?" "the institution of marrige will crumble if we allow gays to marry." Bollocks.

The message of Love Actually is that what we think makes a relationship, or who we think we should be involved with, or who others think we should be involved with, how others view us and our "love-worthiness" is bollocks (nonsense, for the non-Anglophiles). Love isn't like the movies. Love doesn't always work out. Love sometimes makes sacrifices. People who love you will betray you. Love is sometimes horse manure; when it first hits the scene, it stinks. Leave it alone, put it on your lawn, and watch how thick and green your grass will grow.

So, on this day set aside for spending more than necessary on flowers and candy, for corny cards and sappy sentiments, I wish you love. I wish you the kind of love that occasionally, but only occasionally, sucks. I wish you love that makes people nervous because they don't get it. I wish you love that you'd take or give a bullet for. I wish you love that pulls the rug out from under you, but makes you want to hurry and stand up, and be strong in it. I wish you Love, actually.

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