(About a 5 minute read)
Have you noticed how they strip the thorns from the lover’s roses that they sell in the supermarkets these days?
Tonight I’ve been wondering what that’s all about?
I’m not crazy enough to think some sentimental corporations have decided removing the thorns from an almost universal symbol of love will create a world wide revolution in which couples never struggle, fight, or do battle — let alone fight viciously, or even worse, abusively.
It would be ridiculous to think such a thing! Absurd to think it! Why, everyone knows it’s at least a full 50 years off from becoming a daily reality at this point.
Except for Disney, of course. Today’s one lone, vanguard of our possibly fated future. The sentimental corporation on a mission to tame, to domesticate, to pacify, to conquer the disturbing thought there’s a darker side to life — the side where evil is not always roundly trounced and banished in the end.
The thought comes to me: What on earth will the truly good people do? The real ones, I mean — what will they do when the become the last holdouts to have a thorn or two about them?
Why, they’re going to stand out like the very face of evil in comparison to all the other people. The people who the sentimental geniuses have polished just as white as grains of rice, and perhaps just about as disposable and replaceable.
“Price Rollback on Souls!”
Are you familiar with the Gypsy Rose Dance? That ancient dance of lovers? The woman holds a rose stem between her teeth. Almost shockingly these days, the stem has thorns.
Well, the man is suppose to prove to her his worthiness to be her lover by plucking the rose from between her teeth during a deciding kiss. The game is this: IF he can pluck the rose without pricking himself on “her” thorns, then he’s earned his right to become her lover.
The Gypsy dance is quite symbolic, you see. No one gets to become a lover unless he’s skillful enough — or wise enough — to love a woman without being wounded by her intrinsic thorns. Her inevitable thorns. The ones she was born with, mostly.
I guess the dance was invented way back before some genius got the idea that life would be so much better if there were no risks involved to such things as love, for no one has ever thought to strip the thorns — until now, perhaps.
Do today’s hip Gypsies buy thornless roses in supermarkets these days?
To me, the most touching symbol in the Gypsy Rose Dance is this: No man either in myth or in actual reality can successfully pluck the rose unless the woman is willing and able to help him do it.
The woman herself must decide whether to open their teeth and push the rose to his teeth at precisely the right instant. She’s not passive, she’s his partner – at least she is, if the outcome is love and not rejection.
That’s the tenderest part of the symbolism to me. The part that always grabs me on some level. But the most telling part — the deepest part of it all is — by far — the teeth.
Why is the rose held in the woman’s teeth? Why not her hand? Why not her hair? Why not pinned as a broach?
According to tradition, it’s no accident at all. The upper teeth symbolize good. The lower teeth symbolize evil. The point is the rose of love is held between — supported by — both good and evil.
What? Both good and evil, you say? Love is propped up, supported by, made possible by both good and evil?
Gypsies! They’re mad, you know! Honey! Change the channel! The kids might be watching this!
Only the most skillful, only the wisest, lovers can deal with having to work things out by dancing between good and evil. Emphasis on “between”. The Gypsies did not even so much as whisper that their lovers could be all good. Entirely good.
The trick of the traditional dance is not to strip the rose of thorns, not to knock out the lady’s lower, evil, teeth. But to embrace her whole, entire and complete, and then dance between her good and her evil.
Embrace your lover whole, entire, and complete.
Better be careful picking who you hop into bed with, I’d say. They’d best have something like the stench of little wisdom about them if that’s the case. Just sayin’
“Price Rollback on Wisdom!”
Oh, Jeebers! Is there nothing that’s not a commodity these days?
Are supermarket roses an accidental symbol of our age, perhaps? Have we become the ape who dreams to righteously kick the bite out of life in every last way right down to — for god’s sake — supermarket roses?
If so, where is it all headed, this brave new world? This struggleless future? This effortless love? This perfection? This madness?
Will we come as a species to demand everything become sweetness and light? Become easy-come-essay-go? Even love?
And thus the question is posed: Should life contain struggles, real challenges, real risks, real defeats, real victories? Is there anything in our nature that honestly demands that stuff? Demands it not like an optional spice, but like essential vitamins required for proper growth?
What will happen to the ape that rose up out of Africa to populate the whole world if and when the ape gets the tech to remake the world in the imagine of a Disney flick?
What, if anything, will happen to the ape?