Discover more from Juice by Bolu Babalola
I think it is important to state my credentials as a lover of love. I would assume that if you are here, this part would be unnecessary, but I plan for this to be an inclusive place, and so that would include one or two stragglers who subscribed on whimsy because I tweeted something about The Office and who don’t know that being a romantic comprises a substantial part of my personality. So let me state again: I love love. Aside from being a romance author (my agent, publicist, lawyer and psychic say I should say order Love in Colour! Pre-order Honey & Spice!) I know When Harry Met Sally almost off by heart (therefore, when buying a home with my significant other I know to avoid cold hard Mexican ceramic tiling so circumstances are optimum for kitchen floor lovemaking, a la Beyoncé on Drunk in Love) and it is physically impossible for me to snack on a bag of M&Ms and not think fondly of Matthew Mcconaughey in The Wedding Planner (I will talk about that rakish blonde man’s magnetism as a romantic lead at a later date). I love seeing people being seen for what they are-particularly when those people are women. I love seeing their essences embraced, elevated within a love they have actively chosen, a love they participate in. It is a beautiful thing, a mundane sort of magic- mundane in the terrestrial sense, in the earthy sense. It is ordinary in its occurrence but extraordinary in its practise. What a blessed, sacred phenomena it is to be seen and to be felt and to be held! And to also want to
fuck make-out with that person!!!
With that being said, it may come to a surprise to some, that I am ambivalent about Valentine’s Day. I am indeed, coming out as a romantic who is neutral about the day chosen by advertising agencies to celebrate love. For context, I grew up in a home sickeningly full of love. My parents are childhood sweethearts and best friends. They have been married for 32 years. Last month I walked in on them making out in the living room. I was duly disgusted, but underneath that vague current of nausea, I was charmed, cognizant of the fact that I am blessed to see an active and true love close-up. They have never celebrated Valentine’s Day. They scoff at it, in fact. “Love is an every day thing,” they not only say, but also practise, with their actions towards each other, how they cherish each other, their gestures to each other, their ‘just because’ gifts to each other. And so, partnered or un-partnered, I have inherited the same affliction of thinking Valentine’s Day is performative. Gestures on this day are nice but hold a light weight for me. The heft of what we are told this day is supposed to mean, detracts from the significance for me*.
This is not to say that I don’t enjoy witnessing other people enjoying their iterations of romance. I earnestly feel warmth witnessing romantic joy! Like I said, I love love! So don’t come for me, calling me a fake-ass bitch if you see me liking a cute post on Twitter or Instagram on V-Day. I can be a fake-ass bitch, but not for those reasons. My fake-ass bitchery comes through when my smile instantly dissipates after a Zoom call like a sociopath, or when I pretend to be disappointed at cancelled plans when actually I am gleeful to be watching New Girl for the 60th time with a glass of wine.
I promise, the cooing at the cuteness is very much real. Love moves me, the day arbitrarily chosen to celebrate it, does not. In a way, I feel like it makes sense that a true, hardcore romantic would be ambivalent about Valentine’s Day. If love is an every day, constant practise- a life praxis, the confinement to one day, independent of myself, to celebrate such a monumental, personal, multi-faceted emotion, seems trite, flimsy, a trivialisation. The day exerts a pressure and artificiality that I feel is the antithesis to romance. For me, romance curls around the spirit of those engaged with it, it is infused with knowledge, intimacy. It is a precious, unique, crackling fire generated by those in love. Valentine’s Day is too forced, too cloying, for my tastes. When I was younger, did I feel the cool of loneliness if I found myself single on the day? Of course! The day elicited a yearning at best, an emptiness at worst. But as I grew older, I began to pour more love into myself. I began to feel fuller within my spirit, within my essence. I began to see romantic love as something to only engage in if it adds to my self-satisfaction and fulfilment. To engage in it if I can get as much as I can give. If I can give as much as I can get. When I began to see romantic love as a choice and not a default, the day became neutralised for me. It didn’t matter if I was single or not on the day- its focus was not mine. It does not move me within my own circumstances.
I love anniversaries, though. I love a personalised day, just for us to celebrate our love. I love to perform our own rituals of intimacy. I love a sacred, unique day to look at this beautiful, earthy, sensual, celestial thing we made with our hearts and our minds and our bodies and ours spirits and that we actively choose to be part of every day. I love a day where we celebrate our knowledge of each other. A particular knowledge that is sacred to the hallowed space within a couple. For me, that’s romance. But I will well up at the sweet note your loved one wrote for you on Valentine’s Day. I will smile at you and your partners’ glowing, beaming faces on Instagram. I will root for your love, always.
*For me! Okay? I love it for you guys!!
P.S This is a place for me to be free, to write unencumbered, with no expectation. Don’t expect a solid thesis, a strong beginning, middle or end. There is hardly any self-editing. Sentences will run long, but they will run true. This is a place for me to be. You guys wanna be with me? Say yes!!!
P.P.S opinions can be subject to change.