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Got Romance?

February 10, 2009

Does anyone get excited about Valentines’ Day anymore? I look upon it with distinct ambivalence, myself. I mean, after thirteen years of marriage, where has all the romance gone? I can remember when Duane and I were first starting to date, on the month anniversary of the date we had started going out he would surprise me with some little token of his affection. This was an eighteen-year old country boy, mind you—not given to soft words and empty gestures. But for six months, he faithfully duane-loribrought me gift after gift. A card, with a brief message worthy, in my playbook, of Shakespeare. “Roses are red, violets are blue. I love you.” A rock, carved into the shape of a heart, tumbled until smooth, and engraved again with the same message of the ages. A simple gold necklace. Roses. An absolutely hilarious (but pitch-perfect, I must admit) rendition of UB40’s version of “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You.” A little velvet jewelry box, again, in the shape of that age-old symbol of love.


And then, once the girl was effectively and for all intents and purposes won, the romantic gestures ceased. And I’m okay with that. When I tease Duane about not receiving any flowers lately, he matter-of-factly replies, “flowers die. What kind of symbol is that?” He has a valid point. Perhaps a nice fruit tree that we could plant in the yard would be a better idea.


And before you judge him too harshly, maybe I should confess my own part in the courting ritual fraud. To this day, my parents have a big laugh and shake their heads over the lengths to which I went to secure my standing with my good ole country boy. You see, I hunted. 


Now, just so this makes total sense to you, let me characterize myself pre-Duane. Bookish. Semi-athletic. A bit shy. Did I mention I liked to read? Indoors, usually. Girly, with just a touch of tomboy. After all, with three brothers, you’ve gotta have a touch of tomboy to survive and a lot of girly to be superior. Smart.


Did you see, anywhere in that description, that I liked to slather myself with deer pee, stalk and slay animals? Did it say that I like spending untold hours in the woods, swatting at bugs and scratching at ticks (no, not precisely like the Brad Paisley song), all the while remaining as still as humanly possible and then some, because your humanly possible isn’t as still as his humanly possible. Did it say that I liked being shushed by my boyfriend when I stepped on the wrong leaf in quite the wrong way…because he was hunting wabbits and I might scare them all away?


Nah, didn’t think so. But I endured. I endured fox pee and doe pee and doe estrous and other stinking things that I shudder to remember. I endured oversized, unflattering camo clothes that were made for a boy. I endured getting up in the middle of the night just so I could go sit against a tree in the frigid cold and drift into an uncomfortable doze—only to be rudely awakened by the report of a muzzleloader a few feet away. I even endured squirrel hunting, and having Duane stuff dead squirrels in my pockets when he ran out of room in his own.


Ladies, I do not recommend this sort of sacrifice unless you are very, very serious about a boy. Because believe me, it will work. You will wind up married to the Great White Hunter, and he will ask you every Saturday during hunting season for the rest of your natural life if you would like to go out in the woods with him.


My excuse? I’m far too busy putting these roses in a vase. 😉 Happy Valentines’ Day—love the one you’re with.

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