Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Cost of Romance

Have you ever watched the TLC show “Say Yes to the Dress”?  It’s a reality show filmed in an expensive bridal shop in NYC.  They follow various brides as they go through the process of choosing their wedding dress.  And of course, there is always a lot of drama involved:  spoiled brat brides . . . ridiculous family members and friends making the process difficult . . . you know how reality TV goes.
I can’t help but watch this show and think, “What a waste.”  Thousands and thousands of dollars for a dress that you wear once.  I know the wedding day is important – I understand spending a lot on a dress.  But I don’t understand spending as much on your wedding dress as you would spend, say, on a brand new car.  A car has a big impact on the way you live your life; a dress makes you look beautiful for one day.  And no woman needs a several-thousand-dollar dress to look beautiful on their wedding day.
In my near decade as a Creative Memories consultant, I helped a lot of women preserve their wedding pictures in scrapbooks.  I saw a lot of lovely pictures, heard a lot of wonderful memories.  But one thing I never once heard anyone say is, “Gee, I wish we’d spent more money on our wedding.  I wish I had insisted on having the ultimate and the best of everything.”  But I heard many, many women say, “Man, I wish we’d spent less money.  I wish we’d taken some of that and put it on a down payment on our house – that would had much more impact on the rest of our lives together than those exclusively designed, hand-made hairpieces I special-ordered for my ten bridesmaids.”
I may just be too dang practical.  But I don’t think so.  I feel the same way about everyday romance.  I told my husband long ago that flowers are nice, but they aren’t my preference for a romantic gift.  Especially not roses.  Fifty bucks for a dozen flowers that will die in a week or so?  Silly.
Chocolates?  Okay, I’ll admit – I’m a chocolate fan.  (I also like those conversation hearts a lot.)  But again, they are gone in a week.  Okay, in a couple days.  Okay, maybe less.
If he’s going to spend that kind of money on me, I’d rather have a couple books that I take my time to read, that I can read over again, and that truly enrich my mind and heart for the long term.  Or even better, give me an experience rather than a thing:  take me to the theater, or out to a nice dinner, something like that.  I know that seems inconsistent – dinner doesn’t last as long as the flowers – but dinner includes conversation, interaction, connection.
Even better – a letter.  A really meaningful letter that I can read over and over.  Not a card with somebody else’s words.
And yes – ahem – it is merely a coincidence that I’m writing this shortly before Valentine’s Day . . .

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