Real Love In Real Life

Author: Bagande

I haven’t read Fifty Shades of Grey or any of the sequels.

I don’t plan on seeing the movie, and I’m getting tired of all the media hype. Watching women coo and drool and act like what is depicted on those pages and projected on the screen is real love in real life is making me angry.

It’s no coincidence the movie opened on Valentine’s Day – media strategists are clever that way. And it’s bad enough that people feel the pressure to perform and produce on a day created to sell flowers and chocolate, but to add in this portrayal of romance and ‘love’ as some sort of meter for what real love looks like is shameful. And confusing. And frightening.

It’s commercialism at its finest.

In real life, we should be doing the exact opposite. We should be showing what real love looks like, for our sons and daughters and friends and anyone struggling with how to find, define and experience love in real life, outside of the screens and seductions of the media.

Valentine’s Day has never been one of my favorite holidays – I wrote about my youthful experience of feeling like it was supposed to be something – to mean something. I’ve been in love with the same man for nearly 30 years, and I have to say that my definition of real love has definitely changed since that day in my early twenties. Now that I’m a mom, and I’m watching the hype about love and relationships, I’m acutely tuned in to what my teenage son and daughter witness as examples of real love – and I can assure you, it’s not any shade of grey.

In my world, real love looks like this:

* a dad spending the day on the ski hill, coaching other people’s kids so his own can have the opportunity to race.

* a mom painting her son’s bedroom, painstakingly primering over childhood scribbles so he can have a more ‘teenage’ place to be.

* a teenage boy spending the entire day with his mom, doing errands and chores, so she isn’t alone.

* a college-aged couple taking a road trip to Vail, cheering on the U.S. Ski team and enjoying being together under the blue sky in the mountains.

* a furry black dog, nuzzling your hand in search of some affection.

* a young couple strolling along the creek on a sunny morning, pointing out how ducks swim.

* a father and son buying wood fencing at Home Depot, planning a vegetable garden for their backyard.

* a teenage girl bringing her teacher a red rose, just to say thank you.

* baristas at Dutch Bros decked out in pink t-shirts and tutus, gleefully pouring coffee and serving it with a smile.

* parents driving to Vegas and Mammoth and Antioch and Los Angeles early in the morning and late at night so their child can ski and play hockey and make that soccer tournament and they will be right there cheering them on.

That’s what real love looks like. It’s not on Pinterest or the movie screen. It’s not in the pages of a book about submission and domination, or in a box of expensive chocolates.

It’s in real life.

And it’s really, really good.

 

Bagande (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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27 thoughts on “Real Love In Real Life

  1. Amanda says:

    I agree with you completely. That’s why I love spending Valentine’s Day as a family, doing something fun, eating heart shaped pizza, watching a movie….the little things that mean so incredibly much.
    Amanda recently posted…History Class at the Chicago History MuseumMy Profile

    1. Jennifer Wolfe says:

      Absolutely. I spent the day with my son – my husband had to coach – and really, like most holidays, I dislike having to meet expectations on a certain day. Thanks for reading!

  2. Nina says:

    Well said, Jennifer. I love this angle on the 50 Shades craze.
    Nina recently posted…How Not to Talk About Ex-FriendshipsMy Profile

    1. Jennifer Wolfe says:

      Thanks, Nina. This craze is driving me crazy!

  3. Amanda says:

    I’m not a fan of 50 Shades of Gray either – never read the books and don’t intend to see the movie! Going to the movies is a very rare treat these days so I make sure it’s something I REALLY want to see.
    Amanda recently posted…book review: heads in bedsMy Profile

    1. Jennifer Wolfe says:

      Isn’t that the truth, Amanda? I cannot even remember the last time I was in a theater – and to think of how much money I’d have to spend to see this film. No thank you!

  4. Kristen says:

    I couldn’t care less about the books or movies. I spent my Valentine’s Day surrounded by my husband and 2 boys and it was exactly as I wanted.

    1. Jennifer Wolfe says:

      I’m with you, Kristen. So much hype, so little reality. Happy to hear you created your own real love in real life!

  5. Sarah says:

    I love this! When I overheard my teenage students talking excitedly about going to see 50 shades this past weekend, I couldn’t quite figure out why it bothered me. And I think this is it. That’s not what real love will look like in their world and I guess I too wished they’d spend more time thinking about all those small lovely things you’ve pointed out here.
    Sarah recently posted…The Teacher Becomes the StudentMy Profile

    1. Jennifer Wolfe says:

      Yes yes yes! Teacher and parents know how impressionable our kids are…I worry less about what they’re seeing and more about how they’re interpreting it. So glad to meet you – love talking with teachers!

    2. I just read your comment, I can’t believe teenagers are even allowed to watch this film!
      Mackenzie Glanville recently posted…Downsizing and decorating #mgMy Profile

  6. Gretchen says:

    Could not agree more! Haven’t read the books and am not interested in the movie, and so tired of the hype. Give me real life any day!

    1. Jennifer Wolfe says:

      I’m with you, Gretchen. When I think of my daughter (or any young woman – or mature woman, for that matter) believing that this is real love, I kind of throw up in my mouth…

  7. Couldn’t agree with you more! Reminds me of the year I spent driving my son every single morning to swim practice at 4:00am…now that’s real love 🙂
    Judy@ImBoredLetsGo recently posted…Paella SoupMy Profile

    1. Jennifer Wolfe says:

      Absolutely, Judy! I’m a ski mama, and I have had more 4am drives/schleps/breakfasts/you name it…but all in the name of real love. Real life.

  8. Nelle Creations says:

    couldn’t agree more!

    1. Jennifer Wolfe says:

      Seems like we are not alone in our dislike!

  9. Love your thoughts. 🙂 Real love is the little things!
    Debi (thedeb83) recently posted…Feeling GoodMy Profile

    1. Jennifer Wolfe says:

      Thanks Debi! We need to remind each other of this all the time.

  10. Aimee says:

    I am ready for it to be over!
    Aimee recently posted…A Little Bit of Everything Link Up Party #5My Profile

    1. Jennifer Wolfe says:

      I think it will be soon- this stuff doesn’t have staying power.

  11. Kerry Hickerson says:

    Thank you Jennifer, well said. I have not read the book, nor do I have any desire to see the movie. Recently I was shopping with my teen and I overheard some teen girls discussing the movie. Their conversation about the movie was disturbing at best. I can only hope that they had parental support to discuss what they saw and to understand how screwed up this depiction of love is.

    1. Jennifer Wolfe says:

      Hi Kerry,
      That’s one of the main reasons I wrote this post, and why I worry about messages the media is sending to our kids. Did you hear that it was playing at the drive in movie, and the screen was visible from the freeway as people drove by? I’m all for freedom of speech and freedom of the press, but we need to counter it with messages and conversations about what might be glamorized or sensationalized in order to sell tickets/books, etc.

  12. Love this post. Just pinned it to my favorite blogs board. 🙂
    Stephanie Dube Dwilson recently posted…Study About Women’s Violence on TV Completely Misses the PointMy Profile

    1. Jennifer Wolfe says:

      Oh thank you, Stephanie! That means so much to me! I love hearing form readers when they have connected with my posts…that’s what it’s all about!

  13. I was just reading through the comments you’ve received and I was shocked when the teacher Sarah saying that students were going to watch this film, I really thought it would be rated 18 plus! I have not read the books or seen the film. At 19 I met a guy who seemed to adore me, after a while he began to become violent and manipulative. he started to control my every move, I was 19 and thought he loved me, and I thought I loved him, I thought that I knew what loved looked like. So yes these books make me mad! Teenagers are confused enough and feel such pressure to be in a relationship without being witness to shows like this. I guess if an adult wants to watch it they are hopefully mature enough to handle it, but for teens and young adults it is just not right. I don’t have an issue with Valentines day, we spent it together as a family, did some baking, rode bikes, said I love you which we do everyday and we had a lovely day. I am so grateful that I have found such a great man, he and I have such a fun, caring relationship and I am happy we model that to our children everyday. Great post and I thank you for writing it and sharing it with #mg
    Mackenzie Glanville recently posted…Downsizing and decorating #mgMy Profile

    1. Jennifer Wolfe says:

      I agree. It’s shocking to think that kids are exposed to this portrayal of ‘love’, and how it could impact their adult perceptions. Thank you for sharing your story and comments.

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