Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Pride & Prejudice

I’ve been accused of being terribly unromantic, although my brilliant friend who made this assertion believes that my affinity for sending/receiving letters and packages makes me slightly less so. I do not completely understand what his definition of a romantic is, but I can assure you that it does not comport with our culture’s skewered concept of the word. I believe my friend is referring to my logical mind, particularly when it comes to relationships. I’ve often wanted to give dates a five page questionnaire prior to our first date—trying to reduce the intangible to a test of sorts. Sure it is somewhat practical (see the success of websites like, but it is terribly unromantic to think that relationships can be reduced to some type of formula. In fact, I proved my own desired methodology wrong last May when I met a 25 year old who lives 1200 miles away and would have failed my questionnaire simply based on age and geography. Upon meeting him, my excitement/feeelings for him far outweighed these "problems." Imagine all the joy (and Inside Out Reeses) I would be missing out on if I had ignored my feelings as a result of practical considerations.

So anyway thinking about this genius friend and romance reminds me of the e-mail I received from him on Valentine’s Day. Instead of trying to explain his feelings on VD (my mother’s nomenclature for the holiday, which I find hilarious), I’m pasting a portion of an e-mail he sent me on February 14:

“With no disrespect for your cookies or cupcakes, I personally score Valentines as the nadir on the holiday score card. The crass commercialism generally makes me feel like I ate a Hamdog [a hamburger with chili, cheese, bacon, etc. that is served on a Krispy Kreme doughnut]. Perpetuating the notion of it being a barometer for romance makes it the most ironic of holidays, as I see it as the asylum of the intrinsically unimaginative and unromantic. It only wants a heart shaped tub and a bottle of cheap champagne in the Catskills to reach perfection. Forgive me the cynical venting; I had to keep a stoic stance going all day as the kids still think it's cool and I'm against jading them prematurely.”

Wow. I told you my friend is brilliant. My response did not do his e-mail justice, but just so all of your curious minds know how I feel about VD (in case you were going to send me flowers….please note: I will accept gift certificates to Spa Sydell in lieu thereof):

“Although I agree with your scathing review of Valentine's Day and have often said that it is a Hallmark created holiday promoted by florists who charge 3x their normal prices (and deliver subpar products), restaurants that are overcrowded and overextended, and the candy industry, I don't think VD is all bad. My take is that (1) any holiday on which you are encouraged to give/receive candy has some value, (2) if that is what it (sadly) takes to get some people to be nice to others, then it is better than nothing, and (3) I look good in pink, so VD provides yet another designated day on which I am to wear that color. Plus being sour grapes doesn't change anything and watching men scramble around the mall/grocery store is entertaining. So I refuse to buy cards or flowers or go to a restaurant on VD, but I still made a card for my niece and ate a few chocolates.”

Ok, anyway I originally was talking about romance. So I never go to the movies, but I actually felt compelled to see one this last weekend. Pride & Prejudice. I’ve never read the book, although I feel like I should. There are a lot of books (and museums) that I feel like I should enjoy, but I do not. Oh well. The movie was AWESOME. It was so refreshing to see a movie in which no one got naked, cussed, had sex, etc. Keira Knightley did not look as hot as usual (for my male readers), but the sentiment of the movie was lovely. I simply cannot write a review that does the movie justice, but I am pasting in a link to a fantastic article that discusses the important themes in the movie including what people are really searching for—a different kind of romance than we typically think of in our society. It’s a notion of love and romance that I find very appealing and that is much more biblical than what we are typically exposed to in popular culture.


007 said...

Like many of Jane Austen's works, "Pride & Prejudice" is brilliant and I suggest that you read the book Ally. I have yet to see the movie (but will), but feel, like most books made into movies, that the movie won't do the book justice.

As far as VD goes: I think it is overrated, over-commercialized, and down-right LAME. Having said that, I still enjoy receiving flowers (but if you send roses, I'll scream and throw them away--very clique). I mean seriously, who wants to be the only girl who doesn't get flowers on VD? This coming from a girl who went to an all girls private college, and saw first hand that you weren't "cool" unless you got flowers on VD Day. Kidding. While I do like flowers (not roses)/gifts, etc., I'd prefer to get them all year long and not on the one day that hallmark/society/cupid says I should get them.

As far as being romantic Ally....I don't think I even know what "being romantic means." When someone is unselfish, considerate of others, thoughtful, compassionate, etc., does that mean they are romantic? I don't know....can a person possess those characteristics, but not be romantic or vice versa?

nt said...

Valentine's Day is way overrated. I agreed with you that some holidays do help some people act nicer----the upcoming Christmas holiday is one that is a prime example in my bizarre family. Certain relatives seem to feel they must do kind things---which is typically out of character.
You've inspired me to get my own blog. I've thought about it, and I like it. Keep on writing!

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a well-written entry! AS far as your being "romantic", I tend to be of the belief that you are in fact a very romantic person. As a direct benificairy of your thoughtfulness over the past "x" years, I have noticed many of your traits that I would deem "romantic". There was a time in my life where I had become so accusomted to your letters/package in the mail, that I was often surprised NOT to find one each day. The time/effort put into sending all of those, frequently made me smile, and serves as a good example of your romanticness(i made that word up i think). That, along with many other little things you do, that aren't considered "traditional" by today's society's standards further support my impression of you as being a romantic person. In fact, some might interpret your loathing of traditionally romantic holidays such as VD, as being romantic(kind of abstract, but think about it). Just my anonymous thoughts!

Shumi said...

VD, haha, I'll have to remember that one. Love and venereal disease do sometimes go hand in's to being single on Valentine's Day!

Ally said...

Sambo, you're right: I should read Pride & Prejudice. Buying it will be a Christmas gift to myself. And I think you may be right about those character traits going hand in hand with being romantic--b/c I suppose the real meaning of romance would come down to someone caring unselfishly and thinking for another.

And anonymous, I agree with you that perhaps it is more romantic to "loathe" VD and recognize that romance when most truly expressed is not a Hallmark card or some roses--it's sincere appreciation and feelings for another that you can't help but express in various and creative ways.