We caught one of the last performances of a play from playwright Jane Bodie, RIDE, brought over to the US from Australia. It chronicles some of the ironies and potential nihilism of contemporary dating mores.
A couple wake up in bed together, neither remember the other, how they ended up spending the night together, where they met, or even precisely what they got up to…the fact that they are both naked is indicative, but not conclusive.
He has the advantage, it’s his apartment. She doesn’t even know where she is geographically…’naked in North Fitzroy’ as it turns out (a suburb of Melbourne). They move cautiously around each other, they explore topics, dredge up partial memories (which still seem not to answer how they met until the very end), and wonder about whether they acquired ‘knowledge’ of each other (in the Biblical sense). He says with wry insight that they probably didn’t, “If we had, you’d be in a much better mood!”
At one key moment, she yells, “A few hours ago, you could have been inside me!” And he answers with almost equal intensity that yes he might have been, but he also made her toast,they explored various topics of conversation , played Scrabble, drank some wine, and danced to music, and they were still there together and it was now evening. “We’ve done okay,” he concludes. Indeed.
And while I hope you wake up where you expect to the morning after Valentine’s Day, the type of tentative but definite nurturing these strangers end up exchanging, albeit punctuated with both some flirtation and friction, wouldn’t be a bad anthem for this Valentine’s.
My mentor of old M. Scott Peck who wrote the extraordinary best-seller, THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED, suggested that love is the will to extend ourselves for someone’s nurturing and growth.While we plan how to woo and how to dazzle romantically, or even if we’re contemplating a Valentine’s day without a partner, let’s make the day, the occasion and the sentiment, about nurturing.