Put down the phone, be with your loved ones in real time

It is important to spend quality time with loved ones rather than celebrate them just on social media

Is love today only for ones who display picture on social media, where we capture a staged moment for our friends, followers or fans? Do we feel the pressure to celebrate moments for pictures on social media, or for private stolen moments with a loved one where we nurture our relationships and allow our lover to feel cherished, indulged and desired?

Now don’t get me wrong, there is no harm in celebrating love for the world. But to prove points to the rest of the world and for display pictures and to compete with the other accounts to amass likes and comments is definitely not okay.

It’s perfectly delightful to have special days in the year when you reiterate your love and your passion more than the others. Which of us does not want to be treated to a special date night once in a while, and take pictures to share them with your well-wishers? Even for your parents, siblings, and friends — making an occasion special is great.

But when that comes with the pressure of pictures and proving points to your friend lists, it becomes a farce or a gimmick that is lacking in depth and reality. Somewhere it becomes unreal and loses the sincerity of the moment, much like monkeys performing in a circus.

Performing for the social network audience, where you just post pictures on Instagram and Facebook to prove how much of a fuss you were made of and how grandly your lover celebrates you, leads to dissatisfaction, disappointments and a lack of true fulfilment in a relationship over time.

Not because you or the lover is really concerned, but because people should perceive that you are so much in love and showering each other with red hearts, red velvet cake, and mass-produced prototype cards!

That said, I’m definitely one for romantic dates, staring into each other’s eyes, holding hands, receiving surprise presents, kissing publicly, and just making much of special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries.

And yet, when my roommate from LA called her mother only on Mother’s Day and sent her a present charged to her very mother’s credit card, it just proved to me even more vociferously how much of a farce all this is. She never was concerned about her mother the rest of the year, so immersed in her own needs and desires and life.

The charade of proving points to other people about your love for your loved ones is such an absurdity. And when I see couples generally bored or a nagging girlfriend chiding her boyfriend in a shrill tone all the time except on Valentine’s Day, where they are beaming for pictures, snapping away for Snapchat stories, I begin to wonder about this hyped day that creates such disparities in behaviour and such pretence.

Social media advertisements feverishly speak about loving updates, cake cuttings at ‘intimate’ do’s during the lockdown, pendants of love brandished through online marketing, friends boasting and a fake ‘ring’ in the air just after you’ve heaved a sigh of relief that performance pressure of New Year ’s Eve is finally over! It’s nearly inevitable, so there’s no way out in the atmosphere of cakes, anniversaries, birthdays and hearts and gifts that must be given to best friends, parents, lovers, and others.

Never-ending updates extolling the great feats and devotion of the son or husband — Why, I ask, when they don’t even look at each other at the last party they attended? They are well known to have their separate lives, and yet on Facebook, there is a long post alert praising each other? All this pressure proliferated by the sham of pretence that is encouraged by the circus of social media.

Speaking purely for myself, I buck and rebel from pretence, and also from treating life like a performing seal for the audiences. It is nearly nauseatingly saccharine sweet, this picture-perfect world painted by pretentious posts of anniversaries and birthday of a ‘loving’ and ‘besotted’ couple that are so evidently bored and tired of the whole marriage thing.

Whatever happened to the thrill of a secret romance and the joy of stolen precious moments with one’s lover or spouse?

There really does not have to be a special day or a photo op, that is reason enough to rejoice and spoil your loved ones. One can instead not look for a reason or particular occasion to pamper, love and indulge the special people in your life.

What happened to the joy of just kissing and walking barefoot on a white beach with that intangible moment of unadulterated desire? The desire of each other, of proximity, of love, and not of fulfilling others’ expectations from you and your ‘perfect’ life to show them.

Stolen moments are sometimes more meaningful than pretentious surprises that you conjure for a photo op for social media. It’s smarter to invest in real relationships and work to create lasting moments for both of you, such as a candlelight dinner at the beach house alone without the phone and the expectations that come with it.

Expectations and pressures from your audiences, commenters, the economy, your parents, can oftentimes be enough of a burden to make you want to run away on a private holiday alone. Flaunting floral bikinis on Facebook, mass-produced heart-shaped pop up cards, a twelve-carat diamond or a couple’s ticket to holiday in Tahiti does not endorse your lover’s love.

All the pampering is fabulous if it’s spontaneous, but neither so cool nor of much value if it’s forced, gimmicky and for display picture and social media updates.

Love was supposed to be a feeling in the heart that made your spirit flutter with joie de vivre, not with the wanting of Mont Blanc pens and solitaires of materialism nor for the audiences and likes and comments.

I say let’s cherish every special moment with each other; nothing lasts forever, even life itself is transient. Don’t convert the real into a charade, don’t wait for just one day to spoil, pamper, and celebrate love and that too for stories and posts.

Little gestures spread over the year and for private consumption make for happier relationships and longevity.

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