|"Are those my mum's shoes?" |
"Are those my dad's trousers?"
Unlike the Cuban comedy this situation elicited no laughs at all, at least, I reckon, for those caught up in it. And Mariella was right when she brought up the fact that should one of the two relationships go belly-up (and who’s to say that couldn’t happen) there would be complications to contend with. You can bet your bottom dollar that the annual Christmas family gathering would become a rather awkward affair.
However that same point provoked in me a different reaction, of a more antipodean nature. What was at stake here in this mini-crisis, in my opinion, was not mum and dad’s relationship, dodgy as it might have been perceived by others, or daughter and fiancé’s fears and misgivings. What was at risk here was trust. Simple as that, trust in the person you are about to pledge your life to, “till death do us part”.
That “what if” scenario is the human in us. No matter how many romantic novels are written, how many tear-jerking films are made or how many plays are staged about star-crossed lovers, there usually is a little voice in our heads crying out: “Yes, but what if...?” Maybe this feeling doesn’t manifest itself in the same way as the case Mariella was dealing with (circumstances were different), but it does exist. Separate bank accounts for each spouse but one main joint account for house bills and the like, prenuptial agreements enforced by law and a circle of friends, mutual enough to invite to dinner parties, but still loyal to one of the two consorts. It is almost like designing an escape route before the wedding cake has been sliced. In fact, forget romance, this trust issue turns up uninvited when we think of going into a business venture with our best friend or if we give a good reference of a close mate for a job. Again, there's that annoying "what if..." they let us down?
You might be thinking that I am being cynical. I am. However, do not take my words as a rejection of the existence of romantic love; I am just merely trying to keep it more grounded in reality. The mother who wrote to Mariella about her predicament with her daughter’s fiancé’s father was probably thinking only about her future with le beau-père but her offspring was being far more practical. Mum, what if you and X split up? Who gets to keep the Michael Bublé CDs?
Joking aside, this is what life is really made of. Which is probably the reason why that woman wrote to Ms Frostrup in the first place. And we haven’t even considered what would happen if the mum and dad decided to have another child. That could happen. That would mean that daughter would have a brother who would double up as a step-brother. If the couple were to have a child before that, their little one would be the nephew of a much younger uncle. The possibilities are endless.
So, romance or practicality? A little bit of both, methinks. It’s all right to give flowers, serenade your paramour and walk along the Thames holding hands. That’s love, pure and simple. Meanwhile, keep a separate bank account. Just in case.
Oh, and before I forget. How does the title of that Cuban film translate into English, you might still be wondering? It is literally “The Birds Shooting the Gun”. Now, work that one out. Cheerio!
Next Post: “Killer Opening Songs”, to be published on 9th July at 11:59pm (GMT)