In a culture of esteemed independence, admitting that you want to love and be loved is somewhat embarrassing. Careers, personal growth, and friendships are revered, but not romantic love. No, no. If you openly desire such a thing, you must not be self-sufficient or confident.
Phony baloney. (If that phraseology throws you off, please keep in mind that you’re reading a blog called Generation grannY…key word: Granny. Also, I’m aware that’s not how you spell bologna.)
Humankind is meant to be communal, and even more so, intimate. Sure, developing assurance within yourself, so not to rely on others for approval, is healthy. But self-assurance and heartfelt satisfaction are not necessarily one and the same. When Skyping with my older brother (and sister-in-law) the other night, he said, “Shannon, don’t ever stop hoping to love someone and to be loved. You know what you want, and I think that’s great.” What a phenomenon, to be commended as a single woman for wanting to give and receive love! So often, singles- men and women alike- are made to feel inadequate for coveting deep intimacy, as though we’re weak for not being able to provide that for ourselves. But love, both romantic and otherwise, is not something we can do alone. Nor is it something to be ashamed of. Love is interactive and instinctive.
So, in the hope of exemplifying vulnerability in a world that applauds self-preservation, I’m going to express what I desire when it comes to love. After all, it is Valentine’s Day. I could write something cheeky or sarcastic about this “Hallmark holiday,” but I truly believe our culture has encouraged independence to a point where walls are too high. In breaking down a few of those walls through barefaced honesty, I hope that anyone reading will be comforted in knowing that it’s okay and natural to crave companionship
or wine instead.
Here we go.
I want love. I want the kind of love Hunter Hayes would write a song about. Where every look is a spark and every touch is a lingering imprint. I want to communicate through silly grunts and animal noises when I’m drunk, or maybe even when I’m not. I want to dance really poorly because that’s the only way I know how, but him think it’s irresistibly sexy. I want to laugh until I cry without having to apologize for the fact that I cry-laugh far too easily. I want to be more interested in holding hands under the table than picking up my fork to eat. I want my best friend to sing karaoke with him and fall almost as much in love as I am, except without wanting to jump his bones. I want eye contact to outweigh a kiss, and a kiss to outweigh third base. I want him to grab my face when my hair is in a ponytail after the gym and tell me I’m the hottest girl he’s ever seen. I want us both to be a little sad when we have our girls nights or guys nights, even if it’s something we’ve been looking forward to for weeks. I want to pretend to bite his face when I’m hungry and make him laugh when I can’t figure out what’s wrong with my car. I want to fall asleep under the stars and have a secret “I love you” hand squeeze when we’re too tired to say it out loud.
I want to have all of the excitement, paired with practical compatibility. When the spark and lingering imprints become less electrifying, I want to go hiking or get swept away in a brilliant musical score. I want to pray together and scratch his arm and listen to him tell me about his crazy boss at work. I want to keep his scotch glass full and go into the other room when I sense he needs to be alone. And then I want him to come find me a few hours later. I want to drink wine on the porch and talk about how we can better fulfill our lives’ purposes. I want to make him a delicious dinner that he doesn’t expect and book him a random professional massage just because I know it’d feel good. I want him to ask me every now and then about my mom, to learn more about who she was and how I dealt/deal with her death. I want him to hold my hand in the car and know my Starbucks order. I want to play cards with our friends and be regulars at at least one bar. I want to be partners in life, and in cornhole. I want us to be the best of friends, so that our deep affection and appreciation matches- if not exceeds- the level of attraction.
Ultimately, I want it all. To be madly in love, and to love for the sake of honoring commitment. To feel shaken to the core, but also to just get along and help one another manage life. That about sums it up.
Spelling out and admitting all of these desires is humbling, and certainly nerve-wracking, but like I said earlier- I hope with my small amount of vulnerability comes a great amount of relief for those of you who might feel alone in your hope for “great love” (the kind in How to Lose a Date with Tad Hamilton). And for those of you who have already found it, I hope you’re reminded of what you have! Happy Valentine’s Day, everybody!