Back in the late 70s Piña Coladas were rarely found on menus. Yet by the early 80s people were ordering them everywhere. Why? Because a particular personal ad became very popular. Twenty years later, the ad is still running. Every day, someone somewhere lands on the song:
If you like Piña Coladas
And getting caught in the rain
If you're not into yoga
If you have half a brain
If you like making love at midnight,
In the dunes of the cape…
In the song, the married man answers the ad and makes plans to meet the woman who likes sex on the dunes “at a bar called O’Malley’s to plan our escape.” While waiting in the bar, in walks his “own lovely lady.” Both affectionately say, “Aw, it’s you,” and live happily ever after.
In that light, the 70s version of a man answering a personal ad to end up with his own wife sounds rather nice. Yet we’ve all known a similar story of cheating spouses that ended oh so differently. In fact, the Piña Colada singer himself said, “People always ask me if it was based on something true. They would love to know it was based on a true incident, but it wasn't.”
Now, over twenty years later, the top two pop songs are by Justin Timberlake and Fergie and are also “personal profiles” of sorts. However, their lyrics, fully loaded with expletives and abusive sexuality, glaringly reveal that our culture’s idea of courtship has fallen far below vulgarity to sheer destructive depravedness.
None of us wants to end up in a marriage in which our spouse goes to personal ads to escape. Nor do we want a guy like Justin, unless we’re on a self-destruct path. Not to mention that when we read an online profile, we certainly hope what we read is true. Yet apparently it often isn’t. A recent study showed that the average person with an online ad is deceptively well above average women weigh less, men make more money, women are more blonde, men are taller than the rest of the population, and many of them are already married.
In the real world, the spouses bump into each other at O’Malleys. They start barking at each other about the intended and discovered infidelities. Then subpoenas go out for witnesses who got drunk on Piña Coladas with the spouse. Divorce follows not long after that. Reruns provided by Geraldo.
All that nonsense is why many singles go to Catholic Match instead to meet someone of honesty, tenderness, with values, strength of character, and depth of faith who doesn’t follow the hollowness offered elsewhere. One man explained that he went to Catholic Match because Yahoo personals and Match.com “are truly a cesspool.”
Yet the underlying issue remains: What is it that we are hoping to find and why are so many in the world not finding it? Why is that lasting love so elusive for so many?
Many women pick up fashion magazines such as Vogue or Glamour and read the sex advice to solve intimacy problems. Men read swimsuit issues of Esquire and Maxim to do the same. Yet doing either is like trying to become a star athlete by porking on chips while slouched on your couch, slamming Buds, and watching reruns of America’s Next Top Model and Friends. Simply stated, you cannot pick up Vogue and learn 101 ways to turn your guy on. Passion isn’t a formula. Nor can you find a fun, passionate woman if you’re flipping through babes in a magazine. Passionate, loving women don’t come leaping off a page into a man’s arms.
Instead, lasting passion and attraction arise from shared passions for what we give to life, otherwise that lusty fling on the dunes of the cape is like carefully pouring water into a vase full of stunning flowers when the vase has a hole in the bottom. No matter how much you pour, the flowers will still die. And they do.
Life and Faith ask us to answer that deeper tug that inevitably pulls at our hearts. That tugging, gnawing feeling is merely Faith encouraging us to reach and step forward, however timidly or strongly, to answer God’s request to become far more engaged in life’s adventures, to become sweeter, stronger, more powerful than you ever understood yourself to be. Life asks us to be brave, to make sacrifices, to share our deepest intimacy, and when we do so, we unlock loads of passion that others might simply never reach.
So how do find that something deeper, when our culture is yanking us towards that cesspool of intimacy gone wrong? Writing an online profile is not easy, yet the process does remind me that our culture has lost the art of writing of love, reaching for love.
Last year, I received an email from a US Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel who had written an update from Iraq to friends and family. It sets a standard we can all learn from.
One thing I know for sure is that no matter how much hate there is in the world, God still loves us. And He says in His word that we are to love one another, as He has loved us (Jn 15:12). It's tough to ponder such things in this environment, but the reality of it dictates that I ponder it even that much more. There isn't a Catholic chaplain here at Kalsu, but he comes through during the week. We have Mass on Wednesday evenings and Thursday mornings, and I attend both. This has been a real blessing for me.
For those of you who think you know how much you love and appreciate your family, leave them for 5 months some time. I so badly miss my children it's incredible. I think of every time that I had a chance to scoop one of them up and hold them, but didn't because I was too busy. I think of the times when I came upstairs to go to bed dog-tired, and could have taken a left at the top of the stairs and kissed and smelled all six of them while they slept, but I didn't and I took a right instead and headed straight for my bed. I think of all the times I passed Teresa in the hall and didn't hug her. I think of all the times I could have put the newspaper or the cell phone down and looked her in the eye and told her I love her, and asked her how she was doing.
As far as my relationship with Teresa is concerned, this separation has served as a “certification” of our love for each other, and the rekindling of our romance has been an awesome fringe benefit. Prior to deploying, at the urging of my son Luke, we signed up for “instant messaging.” As I have access to an Internet café here, using the IM coupled with live video, we've been able to stay in touch. Right before I left I had picked up a set of two web-cams for forty bucks on clearance. I told Teresa the other day that right now I would have paid four thousand dollars for them.
Teresa has been such a superstar. I would like to somehow put into words how much she means to me, and how much she does to keep our family going while I'm away, but I really don't know if I can….
Reading this and as well as wonderful letters of love and other love letters, makes me wonder if writing of love is a lost art. When we write a profile or meet someone at a party, it really is the first love-letter, however subtle. We can dream for a moment that it’s all about sex adventures, traveling to the wine country in a cute sundress, speeding in an expensive convertible, Piña Coladas and bikinis on sandy dunes. But it just isn’t. God is asking us for far deeper passions than that and when we follow them we unlock passion and expressive intimacy that far exceeds anything Vogue or Maxim could possibly write about. Only then do those moments so close together become unleashed and yet solid, no longer do they have a hole at the bottom of the vase.
Yet it all begins just as a smile, chatting, enjoying those glimpses of life’s calm moments together all small steps in finding that passion for each other when times are rough, distracted, or unsure. There are no guarantees in life; there are upsetting and painful turns. But only when we answer that deepest tug on our hearts to give something back to the world will we ever stand a chance that our passion will find its voice with someone we love. When you do so, others may still be singing their Piña Colada song while envying that you simply found love, forever.
Jeannine Kellogg writes for ModestyZone and ModestlyYours, forums for those who value modesty in its various forms and whose voices are not normally heard in the mainstream (or even non-mainstream) media.
This article has been re-published with written authorization of Catholic Match, LLC.
© Copyright 2006 Catholic Match, LLC. This article may not be copied, reproduced, republished, uploaded, posted, transmitted, or distributed in any way without written authorization of Catholic Match, LLC.