Yes, I couldn’t let this pseudo-holiday go by without giving my opinion about it, and more importantly the reasons why I have these opinions. To understand that, you have to hop in the way-back machine and go to my childhood, which gets further away each year. I have/had good parents – my mom passed away quite a few years ago, dad is still kicking – and I think they did the best they could. I never wanted for anything and I had a comfortable middle-class upbringing. The thing is, my parents argued. A lot. Nothing physical, but there was emotional warfare going on. My mom and dad were never happy together that I can recall, and they stayed together until the last kid – me – moved out and then they split up.
Looking at that from my perspective now, I’m somewhat amazed. I’m not selfless enough to do that; I’ve already been through two marriages, one with children. I think it’s better for my kids if I’m happy, which is something it took me over 40 years to discover, that happiness.
Fast forward to this past weekend. I was at my dad’s place dropping off some girl scout cookies, and I had the chance to talk alone with my dad while Zoe went inside. First he asked me if I’m seeing anybody, and I told him no. Then, for the 100th time or so, he asked me to make sure if I do start seeing somebody soon to please make it an American woman. Pops still has that odd prejudice of his generation. For that reason alone, I kinda hope the next woman I date is a Muslim. Seriously, though – I really don’t care what race a woman I’m dating is, as long as I enjoy her company.
Then we talked a bit about Valentine’s day. Hoo boy. My dad said “man, what a load of crap it is, it’s just a bunch of bullshit.” I did the neutral-nod thing, trying to make it look like neither yes nor no. Dad plowed on. “See, romance is a crock of shit.” Ladies, this might explain a few things about me. Back to dad: “”With a McKee, you don’t get the romance because every day of the year we’re providing for you and being steady, and isn’t that enough? We make sure you’re taken care of! That’s better than romance.”
In recent months I’ve noticed my dad mellowing out in many ways but I can see that cactus still has some prickly spines left on it. While my dad does have a point – with a McKee you will be taken care of, sorta, if not always emotionally – he also misses the point. Yeah, sometimes I think romance is a load of hooey, but sometimes it’s just fine. Hey, if you have somebody you’ve invited into your life and you want them to hang around a while longer, go that extra mile every now and then. It’s like an investment in the emotional bank of your relationship. Big gestures are OK but I think smaller, more thoughtful gestures go further. That’s my excuse, anyway, because I tend to forget the big shit but if you tell me offhandedly about a certain CD you want, you’ll forget it but I’m Rainman on that. I also don’t like Valentine’s Day because it’s so “everybody is doing it” and since I’m a closet hipster (OK, not really, I’m too fat and old) that means I used to do it back before it was popular. I’d rather just give you flowers out of the blue, or do something that shows I gave you at least a minimum amount of thought. That, to me, is romance. And that’s good, despite what my dad may say. He may be old, but he doesn’t have all the answers.
Happy Valentine’s day, everybody. For those that have, cherish and enjoy. For those that don’t, look forward to when you do.