By Jullie Y. Daza
Like a gift from heaven, market researchers revealed on Valentine’s Day that six out of 10 Filipinos prefer a career over a love life. In Davao, the same judgment was made by one in every five singles.
Have times changed? Stardust in the eyes replaced by the clarity of real life as viewed by cynics calling it the hoax of romance?
If the world has changed, so has the climate for romance. Still, love stories for real and for entertainment continue to proliferate. Love, like God, isn’t dead, it just grew up. Work now, fall in love later. Learn from the experiences of friends, strangers and other lovers. “Love is so short, forgetting is so long,” from a poem by Pablo Neruda.
A six-year-old girl who had just played princess in a school play and walked down a real church aisle as a flowergirl said, “I don’t want to get married, it’s going to be ouchy when I have a baby.” Older girls avoid the pain of love and marriage for other reasons. They empathize with best friends who got their hearts broken by cheats and jerks, and with celebrities for whom forever turned out to be a myth, the mist on a high and windy hill. They have counted the cost of a dream wedding with no assurance of a life happily ever after. Has not many a prince charming turned out to be a beast? They’re afraid to estimate the costs of bringing up a child from cradle to college, with no assurance of a just reward in the professional world. How safe are their babies going to be, with all the moral, social, political, environmental corruption going on around them?
Not that these fears should or would stop them from falling for Mr. Right when he does appear from out of the blue, but even he has his reservations. He is scared to commit, he cannot give up the amorous life – now, that’s romance – of having two or more girls simultaneously in love with him, why be tied when free with three is better? Faithful to one ‘til death do us part, he would’ve to ponder on the rent and taxes to be paid, the sacrifices to be made, the unknown to be confronted. The future is a question mark, with no answers for him in his present state of mind and finances, forget heart.
President Duterte, as street-wise a man of the world as he is, put it succintly when he made this throwaway remark on Valentine’s Day to welcome home a group of Overseas Filipino Women. “If there were only 50 million of us,” he said in a wistful tone, “life would be easier.”