The sun came out today, a perfect day for lovers.Confession: I don't have a valentine. I don't get it. I'm old, fat, and hardly have a nickel to my name. What's not to like? But then Valentine's Day is not so much about love anymore as sex. Further confession: I don't miss the sex all that much, but I miss the affection, I miss having someone to think about and buy little presents for, and I miss hearing the constant din of a female voice talking about things that matter to women but don't matter to men, and I miss the sight of a woman who means everything to me. I miss her familiar ways, her habits and mannerisms, the way she smiles, the way she lies. I miss her smell.
None of these tender feelings seem of any importance in today's world. Fucking is all that matters. Don't get me wrong, I like sex as much as any guy, and when I see a pretty girl I can't help but try to imagine her without her clothes on. And some women just are sexy. Here I am, sipping my suds in Swans and I'm looking at one of those kind right now. She might be on the wrong side of thirty, has probably had children, is a little bit pudgy and has a wicked gleam in her eye. It doesn't have a lot to do with looks, it's that some girls have an immediate effect on... the hormones, let's say, for those who prefer glandular explanations for these things.
But it's not the glandular reactions that are the soul of eroticism, it's Romance. It's that dizzying gladness of falling in love with someone who you suddenly realize is incredibly beautiful. It's the astonishment you feel when you realize she is falling in love with you. You are under a magic spell. Sex is about mechanics and orifices, love is about the soul.
Of course, we don't believe in the soul any more. We don't believe in things like that. Well, I do, but I'm hopelessly out of date.
There's an old joke about what the Jewish princess said on her wedding night: Beige- I think the ceiling should be beige. It's one version of a very old joke. Every old sailor can quote the bargirl's query: you come? Well I'm here to tell you that guys can get bored with sex, too. I'll bet I'm not the only male who, in the middle of some marathon session of love making, has found himself thinking he'd rather be doing something else. So when you're not doing that, or you are and you're a little bored with it, where does the girl come in? Do you imagine doing something else in her company or are you trying to think of a way to get rid of her?
No, love is not the same as sex. You can have sex without love, but I think without love it gets a little boring.
Not that I've had to worry much about either lately. So I have to content myself on Valentine's Day 2010 with an afternoon at Swans, nurturing a pint of IPA and, with my ear buds in place, listening to a Vivaldi Bassoon concerto. In fact the last time I nearly fell in love was in Swans and her name was Jeannie:
"So I'll drink to Jeannie, that pretty little mizz,
And one immutable, inscrutable, indelible hour.
Oh, there's always something a man could say more,
But that's life," he muttered and watched the beer fizz.