Sex and the Chester: Veterans of Love

By Alyssa Valezquez
Elm Staff Writer

José Narosky was born on April 20, 1930 in a province of Buenos Aries and would grow up to become a public notary and Argentine writer. Known mainly for aphorisms, Narosky’s wit and talent formed many lasting notable phrases. One of his most famous is, “In war there are no unwounded soldiers.” Obviously, when composing this idiom, Narosky was thinking only in terms of the military turmoil of the time. I however,  have come to view this aphorism as the battle cry for the veterans of love.

It is a mantra for the soldiers clad in heels and makeup coming back from the front line of dates and relationships, now resentful and bitter to the cause. This was a cause they once believed in and fought against their fellow womanhood for. Yet in their terms of service, those who did not finish the mission they set out to complete, began to form disbeliefs. Their hearts could no longer take diplomatic lies, significant other imperialism, and commitment MIAs. Those veterans now stand jaded, lost, and bitter, and those who lost now begrudge their involvement in the battle of relationships.

Do you? Why, after a stream of relationship defeats, do we  women tend to callus over with anger at love? If relationships are war zones, why do we go into them willing, yet leave with regrets?

I am always reminded of this question when I go out to dinner and see a woman eating alone. Never content, inwardly agitated, the woman is indignant to love, relationships, and the people around her. Even in our age group, I have run into individuals who are already “preaching” their relationship horror stories. They transform themselves, in both their minds and actions, into victims afraid to trust, not open for another relationship and advocates of the theory that love does not exist. We have all seen them at one time or another, and their presence is as disquieting as any war monument.

This past weekend, my family and I took our annual trip to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire. The theme was “heroes,” though not the kind that wear spandex tights and have publication deals. The term heroes that day was meant for the everyday men and women who serve humanity, whether as a firefighter, police officer, or the servicemen of our country past and present.

“Taps” was played in every corner of the shire and veterans were called periodically through out the day to receive recognition. The whole time, because of their presence, I was humbled in many ways. As the day wore on and the final performance was just about to commence, hundreds of audience members filed into the outdoor arena to laugh and revel in the medieval follies of jesters, wenches, and acrobats. Yet all of us in attendance were in for a much different sort of entertainment.

As the queen took center stage, she asked all servicemen to stand tall. Through prose and iambic pentameter, one message rang clear: thank you. Through endless applause, standing ovations, and the playing of the Star Spangled Banner on bagpipes, all the veterans in this mass of 300 people took off their hats and bowed their heads. It was then, as with any sentimental moment, I began to cry.

I was crying with the veterans because I knew that despite the lies, the anti-war protests, and the occasional twisted leaders in government, those soldiers were proud and honored of their country and their service. They were humbled by all our gratitude that night. Despite their bitterness towards those who instigated the war, they held faith in the cause: liberty and justice for all. I sat down on my wooden bench staring at every veteran, fervently sending him or her my thanks. Not only for protecting me, but also for teaching me that the courage to endure comes from acceptance.

So to all female veterans, yes, relationships can at times be a battlefield, fully equipped with an artillery of ticking mind bombs, foreign threats, and missed targets. Yet throughout the rest of your service keep the lesson I learned this past weekend: the courage to endure comes from acceptance.

Accept that relationships are not easy; you will get hurt along the way and you will have bad dates. Accept that there are men who are not boyfriend material, and there are going to be some you wished you had never met. When all this happens to you remember to pick yourself up, and have a martini.

Because in spite of the hurt and pain, those battle scars will merely help to define, not construct your love life. As a currently enlisted soldier in the branch of relationship and love infiltration, I say to all you veterans: at ease soldiers.

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