Saturday, February 13, 2010

Celebrating Love....Happy Valentine's Day!

“What’s love got to do with  it?” croons Tina Turner.

“Why do fools fall in love?” asks Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers.

As humans, we have lots of questions about love, but few answers. What draws people together, it seems, is as mysterious as the Bermuda Triangle, and sometimes, just as dangerous.

When I was a kid, my father would say, “There’s a lid for every pot.” At age 10, I knew he wasn’t talking about the Paul Revere cookware inside our oven, but I wasn’t quite keen on the meaning.  Then, one day, Dad made that remark as we walked across the street from two "lovey dovey" hand-holders: a less-than-hygienic couple who drank heavily and lived with their crusty children in a fetid little row home a block from our house.

They were repulsive but blissful.

But Dad wasn’t judging as he uttered those words; he didn’t say them with even a hint of disgust. He seemed simultaneously satisfied and amazed by the fact.

And therein lies love’s mystery.

Sometimes it’s easy to understand certain couples.They are like-minded. They drive Priuses and recycle. The eat sushi or barbeque. They go to church and love Chicago (the band, the musical, the town, whatever). They walk alike. They talk alike. (You’re humming The Patty Duke Show theme song now, aren’t you?) These are the couples that bring a sense of order and comfort to an otherwise chaotic world.

But who hasn’t witnessed an “odd” partnership between two people who seem to not belong together, but nevertheless seem blissful, and even downright ecstatic at their union? How many times have we silently sang "One of these things is not like the other...." when witnessing the duo of Hot Guy/Ordinary Girl,  Old Guy/Hot Mama or — dare I say it — Hot Guy/Ordinary Guy, Hot Mama/Homely Mama? How many times have we looked at such couples and wondered, to quote the internet acronym, “WTF?”

It turns out that love is blind, after all. Anyone who has ever loved differently than what is considered “usual and customary” understands that love is a feeling that doesn’t declare itself off-limits when an unspoken connection or chemistry exists.

No one ever said that the lids and the pots have to match; they just have to fit.

But, even though we may rationally grasp this, or even pay lip service to it, it doesn’t stop some folks from stereotyping, categorizing, condemning, or judging those who are not like them in matters of the heart:

“She must want him for his money.” (or something else).

“He must be good in bed.” (because he is as ugly as sin.)

“That’s disgusting and unnatural.” (because I don’t understand it).

"He's old enough to be her father." (what's wrong with her?)

Fortunately, love is more powerful than all the judgment that seeks to undo it. Many times, the couples who seem least likely to endure have more years of joy together and get the last laugh. 

So cheers to you, overweight guy with the skinny girl. Asian woman with the Irishman. Black woman with the white man. Filipino with the Italian. Senior citizen with the baby boomer. 

You found love and your heart is happy. You are proof that the Beatles said it best — “All you need is love.”

May we all be so lucky.