Have I ever mentioned that I live on Broad Street?
I do. It is my favorite street in the city. I know there are prettier streets to live on in Philadelphia. Lana lives on Spruce -- that is a very lovely street. And then there are the other streets named for trees, Pine and Walnut, even parts of Chestnut. Then there is Delancey and Green and countless others, I am sure.
But Broad Street to me is the truest representation of our fair city. It encompasses the good and the bad and the ugly, but it is all beautiful to a lover.
I love Philadelphia, not just the pretty parts, but the ugly parts too.
I remembered this last night as I was getting out of my cab after having a late dinner with Salty and the Duchess. It had stopped raining for the moment, and as I looked north to make sure no cars were coming before I crossed, I could see the tall, majesty of Center City. I scurried to the middle of Broad, looked right and took in the grit of South Philly.
The warm feeling stayed with me as I finished crossing, bounded up my stairs and put my key in the lock.
That is when it occurred to me, what was really bothering me about all these relationship books I have been reading. No, it isn’t the notion that I can seemingly trick some poor fellow into marrying me, though that is bothersome. It is that none of them mention love -- or if they do, it is so fleeting I can’t remember it.
Now, I am not so naive as to think as John Lennon did that all you need is love. I look at my own parents marriage and know it was more than love that got them through the last 40 years.
But shouldn’t it start with love? Shouldn’t it start with a tight feeling in your stomach and the uncontrollable urge to smile whenever you are around that person; not some math equation where you determine what x equals when y is what you are willing to do without and z is your future happiness.
Sure, maybe it is the person’s Rittenhouse Square that first attracts your attention. But as you grow and get to know each other more, you start to see your lover’s flaws, your lover’s Kensington, if you will. And they see your Gray’s Ferry. But soon, you can even appreciate those parts too, because you can see beauty in them and you understand that they are part of the whole and without them, he or she just wouldn’t be the same.
None of the books talk about this. They talk about what to wear and what to say and where you can go to mix and mingle. They take you from the first date to several dates, to taking it to the next level to forever and ever. But never do they mention love. Could it be that love doesn’t follow rules or fit into any equations? Maybe you can’t trick love into a commitment. Really, why would you want to? After all, if he or she loves you, shouldn’t wanting to spend the rest of his or her life with you be a no-brainer.
These books are marketed to people looking for love; they are in the “Love and Relationships” section of Barnes and Noble for crying out loud. But I am beginning to wonder if all these books aren’t really written for folks that have given up on love and will settle for companionship.
Maybe I will never find a man that make me feel the way I do about Broad Street, but I think that is a chance I am willing to take.