The First Move
It is a staple of all Valentine’s Day jokes that it is nothing more than a financial and emotional fiasco. The jokes certainly resonate more when couples tend to break up after a declaration of their love, celebrated with great pomp. Nevertheless, people celebrate this day with unmatched zeal and a newfound attraction towards their partner. The couples leave no stone unturned, and the bidding for love is often extravagant and arduous because it is the day of love. Their motto is simple: all or nothing.
Absurd as it may be, the thrill of making the first move on the person of your affections is still nascent when it is the woman who wishes to take the lead. Sadly, women get ridiculed for their rejection in ways that are often unimaginable to men. Not to mention, her character, modesty, and morality are always under speculation. Somehow, society has convinced us that it is uncustomary for a woman to chase her ambitions and desires, even if it is the 21st century. Not only does this apply to her career prospects, but also her romantic endeavors. Online dating apps provide a woman with the autonomy and liberty to shoot her shot. Although, they often come with risks. Almost every time a woman reveals her identity to connect with members of the opposite sex, a witch-hunt ensues. A reminder that every choice she makes will follow her to her grave. Sometimes, one wishes to be free of the emotional intricacies that come with a relationship, yet one wishes for affection and safety now and then. The physical needs are often unconsidered as women are considered shy and submissive creatures who only desire to bask in their companion's loving gaze and sweetened words.
It makes me beget a simple yet, altruistic question: what exactly is love? Is it a feeling that gives you butterflies? Or is it the feeling that makes you feel so calm that you mistake it for eternal bliss? Are women allowed to express love and reject it as they will? And is love an unabashed grand declaration that makes everything else dull? Love has different meanings. As Leo Tolstoy wrote in Anna Karenina, “I think... if it is true that there are as many minds as there are heads, then there are as many kinds of love as there are hearts.” Just because somebody loves differently does not mean they’re incapable of loving. Not everyone is fortunate enough or brave enough to express their affections for their cherished one, but to belittle the efforts of that individual by declaring it unconventional, is nothing short of trampling the idea of love itself.
Grand gestures, eloquent speeches, sonnets of love, and symphonies of longing and desire hold a grandstanding in our society. Why wouldn't it? After all, love is anything but inferior. We've grown up with certain expectations and notions about love. The man must woo and pursue the woman. A woman's word hardly holds enough value. We often ignore that her expression of love is just as memorable, if not as large. In the grand scheme of things, we forget the most obvious truth: love is liberating. Be it a man or a woman- love shouldn't come bearing monumental conditions that make it seem like a conquest.
Valentine's day now seems to be fuelled by the ideas of the ones portrayed in hallmark movies. When this day of love comes next year, may we remember that a declaration of love is as grinding as the rejection? There is grace in showing restraint and respecting the other person's wishes. Incriminating a witch hunt against the ladies isn't going to build anyone's case. Though it most assuredly will cast a grim veil on the idea of the most powerful emotion in this world. Valentine's day is not a day just for the lovers- it is for all those people who can find it in themselves to give love without malice; love selflessly. It is for every man, woman of any sexual orientation. It is for anyone who can love.
- Devanshee Sharma