But all of these sticky pink hearts on the windows of restaurants and shrimp cocktails and hotel bookings well it just seemed... a tad forced, if not entirely driven by the female. And while I'm all for the woman taking the wheel, I would never want to see her demand something from her significant other, it's just too desperate.
Then I got on the subway- an automatic pool of diverse humanity and gold mine for an observer of gender relations. Every one on it, both male and female were wearing red, including myself. Now I was merely wearing it to get discounts on my evening's events, but I felt an instant connection to everyone. Men carried roses and women carried floral shopping bags crowded with purple tissue paper. A lesbian couple felt no shame in a little PDA, and a group of teenagers' shoulders shook with laughter within their matching red t-shirts. It was lovely. I talked to three others donning red and it wasn't sketchy, or funny, or anything like that- just nice. We were all people. And we were all happy to celebrate love.
It made me wonder about the subjectivity of romance. I always thought I would be embarrassed if some guy performed some grand, loud public gesture. I'm not really the kind of girl who dreams of surprise picnics on a beach somewhere with sunsets and champagne. In fact, despite my efforts, I've even been a little judgmental towards girls who expect chocolates and roses waiting for them. But maybe I wouldn't be embarrassed. Maybe I'd like it. Maybe experiences have taught me to defend myself and snicker at those doe-eyed flower loving females. Or maybe, just maybe, those girls get the flowers because they expect them. It's a horrifying thought to someone whose never expected them a day in her life. Perhaps there are holes in my design. But I can take some solace in the fact that i connected to about 10 strangers today, because all of New York was uplifted by some intangible spirit. Despite the February weather, the city itself seemed gentler, and everyone in it a good deal kinder.