Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Every Kiss Begins with...A Girl's Best Friend

In the interest of full disclosure, I admit that I was born without the gene for jewelry.  I'm not saying I'm immune; I love earrings when my ears are willing to cooperate and the funky and the folk art can win my heart.  (I'm more likely to be sentimental over who gave it to me or wore it before me.)

The point being that there's no moral high ground for my complete disinterest in diamonds and rubies and such.  My heart is not going to melt over a diamond ring. Besides I'm careless and would probably lose it.

I do that.

But I really really really hate the love for sale commercials that proliferate around the holidays:  A couple by the fireplace, at dinner in an elegant restaurant, or some other romantic scene, he produces the magic box, she opens it, gasps, looks teary-eyed and then throws herself in his arms.  Voice over: let her how much you love her, what she means to you.  Sometimes the giving happens with an audience--whispers of he's giving her "the ring," children watching in anticipation of mom's ecstasy over her gift and, of course,  the inevitable kiss.

I know I'm hardly the first person to rant about this.  We live in a capitalist society and our economy pretty much depends on creating wants.  But I hate hearing the cynical remarks of see, you CAN buy love, even if some of the comments come from women.  Not only is it disgusting but it's also both sad and destructive.

I used to teach classes for Planned Parenthood around subjects related to reproductive health, sex, relationships.  Boys in the class--because many of the places I taught had a large number of students from poor--would sadly and bitterly remark on their chances of getting one of the fine women.  No fancy car, no well-paying job.  No woman.

A lovely doubleheader.  The girls they could get were quite explicitly NOT fine, the guys were losers without the money and the stuff money can buy.  Hmm, McDonald's at nine bucks an hour or drug dealing...?  And the girls better package their product (themselves) or theirs is a future of loserhood as well.

Of course it all moves up the food chain--the guy with the good job knows that there's a guy up the road who provided a bigger rock and got the more prized spouse.  She knows that the woman across the street has a bigger diamond and is consequently more prized.

Exaggerated?  Oh, Lord, yes and thank god for that.  I think love, attraction, caring are still the reason most of us couple and we know enough from celeb relationships that  great big diamonds may promise forever but surely don't buy it.

And there is a certain evolutionary sense to it.  The diamond (or ruby or gold) may be the equivalent of slapping  an antelope down on the table to let the female know "I can provide" for you and our young.  Of course if she doesn't produce said young and/or doesn't have the skills to contribute to survival he will probably start flinging antelopes at another woman's feet and as for her, if the supply of antelopes starts to get a little thin and infrequent...she'd probably be movin' on, too.  (Unless of course that strange thing called love had shown up.)

Of course the song does make sense "...we all lose our charms in the end, but square cut or pear shaped, these rocks don't lose their shap..."  When you come right down to it the only real uses for a diamond are industrial, scratching class, or the fact they can be resold--an investment that you can wear.  That makes a very practical kind of sense.  Logical.  Men may keep money until they die, but if a woman's salable commodities are looks and (maybe) fertility; well, those fade. Gonna need something too buy those antelopes.

(This leaves aside the horrors of what many diamonds actually cost in terms of human suffering and environmental damage to acquire.  More significant but irrelevent to fancy packages and gifts that end in kisses.)

Nothing profound today.  Just the rant of an old woman who doesn't give a rat's about expensive jewelry, but hates to hear every kiss begins with...he went her you would marry her all over again.