Saturday, April 16, 2011

"You Don't Bring me Flowers, Anymore"

Romance may not always begin with flowers, but it must include flowers.

Paramours, husbands, wives, and lovers: take note.

Look at how Kerria stoops down to offer the outstretching, sinewy, furry arms of Tassel Fern a bouquet of its own vibrant, golden yellow flowers. The two meet, barely touching, until the slightest breeze compels the connection. Electric.

The scene is reminiscent of Neil Diamond and Barbara Streisand's performance of the 1978 hit, You Don't Bring Me Flowers. But in this scenario, we don't have the impression that Kerria and Tassel Fern lament a love lost, or a love eroded, as it were. Rather, we feel a distinctive romance, a connection, borne out of the pangs of winter barrenness. This is a joyous reunion.

Romance harbors many expectations. Indeed, one might even muse that romance is expectation (of a certain sort). We engage the objects of our affections with hair tossing or coy smiles. We laugh at even the most inane comment, simply because it emerged from the lips of the beloved. We expect touches and kisses; we expect, perhaps, a candlelight dinner or a concert. We expect a phone call or, as must be prevalent in the younger generation, a text message (email must seem so antiquated). We expect attention. It doesn't have to be lavish attention, though I suspect in the beginning stages of romance, lavishness may indeed be welcome as the definitive antidote to dreaded nonchalance.

In time, romance may grow into love, and love, as Alan and Marilyn Bergman, composers of You Don't Bring Me Flowers, warn us, may atrophy: for love enacts its own kind of stabilizing force to tame the tempestuousness of romance. Love, to remain alive, demands an occasional revolution, a romantic paroxysm. Without it, love becomes inertia itself. Perhaps that is the real reason why the song reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in 1978: all of the flower children of the 1960s, having bent to conformity, married, and had children, began to lament not necessarily the love lost in their lives but the loss of freedom and blitheness. The song captured for them the passage of time, and what a better way to conceal underlying irritation and disconnect than by singing along with Barbara. But even Barbara cannot stave off the blues or save marriages, and so the divorce rate skyrocketed.

Flowers may fare no better than Barbara, but flowers may be that occasional paroxysm, the stimulator (pun intended) that is romance's rejuvenation that permits love to grow.

** Source of graph: OECD Index of Statistical Variables--Population, Marriage and Divorce**

No comments:

Post a Comment