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)