Feb 14/12

"Every day I sit beside you
On the bus to Madison Avenue...."

So begins the ballad by Ian Thomas, about a guy who wants a girl to notice him. He already is in love with her, but he doesn't think she could love him. Why not? Because he's not special. Simply put, he's not

"Just like Rudolph Valentino..."

Rudolph Valentino was a movie phenom of the 1920s. To thousands - maybe millions - of women who watched his films, he was the ultimate lover. I've seen one or two of his movies. What amazes me about him is how unassuming he looks to me. I'd never pick him out of a crowd. But of course, I'm not a woman.

Valentino had it - that indescribable presence that so many women fantasize about. He was vulnerable, yet proud. He was good looking, but not rugged. His fine features and brooding eyes remind me of a troubled teenage boy. That's what I see in him - that kind of young innocence. Many women love "innocent" - just like many men do.

Back to our song, Right Before Your Eyes by Ian Thomas. The invisible guy is sure he could impress the girl if he could be like Rudolph Valentino. He doesn't know how, though: "I guess I'm to blame," he reflects. He resigns himself to be one of the uncounted millions who can't win true love because they're ordinary. Is he right?

On this Valentine's Day, I'd say that he's wrong on one count, but right on one. Where he's wrong is that being special still wouldn't win the girl's love - probably. Being like Rudolph Valentino would get her attention, but her love is a whole different issue, and actually unrelated. Look at the "special" people - the celebrities of today. Do they find true love? I'd say they have a pretty high divorce rate. In fact, I'd guess their divorce rate is higher than average.

Where the guy's probably right, though, is that neither he - nor most other people - will ever find that romantic love they fantasize about. They might get a successful relationship they can work with their whole lives, but likely it still won't be the "Rudolph Valentino" brand. That magic chemistry between two people, where every move your partner makes is special for you - I've seen it twice. Both relationships were - as Ron Sexsmith would say - "Doomed from the Start." But before those ill-fated lovers broke up, even the air between them was electric. It really was just like in the movies. Very few people who are "in love", even, have that chemistry.

Whatever you're doing today, I hope you've found true love - or at least, an acceptable compromise. There's nothing wrong with loving yourself, though. I'm accused of it all the time....

Here's Rudolph, whose death at age 31 caused mass hysteria among his female fans. I don't suspect his gift with women ever panned out for him personally as well as it did for the movie business. Being the hopeless romantic that I am, though, I think of him quite often. What did he want? What did he need? What did he think? I'll never know - and "I guess that I'm to blame...."

Wikipedia was a source for this article - here and here.

Rudolph Valentino Back