Roses are red, but there's more to be said
The irony in the act of giving flowers
As I sat smiling in my car, watching a guy holding a bouquet of flowers cross the street, I began to think about how strange flowers are as a symbol of love.
Now before I elaborate upon this thought, let me make a few disclaimers. First, it’s important to mention I am a huge romantic. I love rom-coms, Nicholas Sparks books, weddings, Valentine’s Day and — honestly — anything remotely to do with love.
Second, I love nature. I would love to live on a farm — maybe not for my entire life, but definitely for a year or so. I love fresh air and hiking. When I was deciding where to go to college, one of my biggest priorities was something I called “the grass factor,” so it is only fitting that I ended up at a university whose central feature is “the Lawn.”
I tell you all of this to make it clear: I am in no way saying I think the practice of giving girls flowers is wrong. I love receiving them. I am simply pointing out the irony.
Flowers may be fresh and beautiful, but the reality of the matter is they will, eventually, die. Sure, you can keep them alive for a while through dedicated, almost constant watering, but, in the end, they will be nothing more than shriveled-up brown remains. Shouldn’t we have a more eternal symbol for love?
Roses in particular are supposed to be the most romantic flower — though they are covered in thorns. You cannot get a firm grip on them without cutting your hand. That is like saying, “I love you, but there is a catch. Actually about ten.”
I suppose it is mostly a question of what you want — something fleeting that could potentially harm you, or something reliable and long lasting.
In some ways, it might be more romantic to give a girl artificial flowers. They might not have the same aroma or soft touch, but at least they will actually last forever. If a guy were trying to express his dedication to a girl, I think an artificial bouquet would do the trick.
Unfortunately, there seems to be a natural tendency to throw artificial flowers into the corner of our rooms and forget about them. You don’t have to water them to keep them alive, so why bother wasting time on them? They’ll still be there in 10 minutes, 10 weeks or 10 years.
What we don’t realize at that moment is the colors will fade, dust will collect and we will wish we had taken better care of them. No matter how much we try to brush off the dust, they still won’t quite be the same as before.
This holds true to more than just flowers. Plenty of relationships, romances, friendships and family members can be tossed aside once we become comfortable with having them. When we get to the point where we know a person is always going to be there, it can be easy for us to take them for granted, and lose the sense of urgency to keep in close touch.
So really, artificial flowers may not be any better. At least with natural flowers, there is an incentive to put effort into caring for them. Plus, if a girl had a lifetime worth of artificial roses stored up, I’d imagine that would get a little overwhelming.
Maybe the value of natural flowers is in the memory. Sure, they may not last more than a week — but then the next week, something else special may happen. You will have the gift of remembering a wonderful evening, and the promise of more in the future — even if you have to endure a few thorn scratches along the way.
Kelly’s column runs biweekly Tuesdays. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.