Tuesday, March 8, 2011

On Love and Peaches

Everybody knows that people who are in love are intolerable. They persecute everybody with cutesy stories about the relationship that they believe to be the greatest romance of all times and that people around them consider to be a mundane and boring story. "So why do you like him?" my sister asked me once. She truly repented of asking the question when forty minutes later I was still answering it in painstaking detail. 

My readers have to recognize, though, that in the 23 months I've been blogging I have never indulged my desire to tell them about the most beautiful romance ever, which is, of course, the one I'm living right now. Today, however, I want to loosen my restraint a little and regale you with the most recent touching story of this great romance in celebration of the International Women's Day. Feel free to skip.

Yesterday, the male protagonist of the great romance was passing his SAS certification exam while the female protagonist was working on her next article. After passing the test with flying colors, what do you think the male protagonist did to celebrate? Went out drinking with his buddies? Bought himself a gift? Plopped himself on the couch in front of the television? (All these, of course, would be great ways to celebrate that I would support wholeheartedly.) No, he remembered that the day before the female protagonist, who is also a passionate lover of peaches, couldn't find any at the local supermarket. So he went on a hunt for peaches, found them, and brought them home to the peach-loving female protagonist.

Peaches are not only my favorite food ever. They also carry a host of literary allusions. (You want to live with a literary critic, get used to the fact that everything carries a literary allusion). Giving peaches to a person symbolizes sacrifice in the name of love, the kind of sacrifice that doesn't perceive itself as such and that exists for its own sake. Here is a link to a short story on love and peaches from O Henry, one of our favorite authors ever, that inspired this symbolism of peaches for us.

And now I solemnly promise not to share any more romantic stories for a while.


Jim said...

"Giving peaches to a person symbolizes sacrifice in the name of love,"

That'd lovely enough, oh literary one, but there are more conntations in literature than that. In China peaches are frankly carnal, in the bets posible way. maybe it's because the red blush is seen as sexual, and in fact the word "se4' menas both [red] color and also plain old sex. maybe it's because the soft round shaope of the peach itself evokes some many other images.

In Journey To The West the jade Emperorsis always giving peach feast. Peahes are what the gods live on. The Queen Mother of the West also has peach orchards, and those peaches have some special mythic virtue that I forget just now.

Anyway, what a delightful gesture and what a wonderful way to celebrate a major success. Good luck to both of you! This story was much better than tolerable.

Pagan Topologist said...

This is a fascinating story, but it reminds me of another [weird] literary connection. I won't post about it just now and spoil the glow you are experiencing, but I shall do so later, after a few days.

Pagan Topologist said...

The Wheel of Time series, conceived and mostly written by a writer using the nom de plume Robert Jordan mentions on two occasions that in the universte where this story happens, peaches are poisonous. I gave my daughter on the other coast my volumes of the series that I have read, so I was not able to find the exact volumes and pages; but as I recall it has been mentioned twice. Once, it appears that someone has been murdered by giving them something made of peaches.

I find myself wondering what this implies about this fantasy world or this author, given that this view of peaches is so deliberately contrary to what most of us feel about peaches.

Clarissa said...

I was taught that writers are entitled to little personal foibles. I, for example, am terrified of butterflies because I've seen one butterfly's face under a microscope and it's horrific. Who knows what this writer has seen in a peach? Maybe he dislikes the peaches for being hairy.

Pagan Topologist said...

So long as peaches are so ripe that they are soft, and are completely peeled, I absolutely love them. But I find the fuzz so unpleasant to touch with my lips or tongue that I will not eat one unpeeled.

I don't know. This particualr foible strikes me as beyond weird.