LOLA GOT’S LUTONG BAHAY IN AMERICA: Love recession in Las Vegas By Margot Marfori

HERE in America, news of the Egyptian fallout has reigned supreme over most other issues. The fall from power of Hosni Mubarak, after 30 years, must also make us all go back to the time when the People Power movement gave us back some dignity. And, just like our own dictator, Mubarak’s stash of what should be the people’s money is also hidden somewhere he can only know. If money is power, then there is really very little lost, other than their vacating the seat that lined the very large bank accounts they now posses.

While this is upsetting, the news that there seems to be a “love recession,” especially on Valentine’s Day, here in Las Vegas where wedding chapels are usually at their busiest time, has also thrown a bit of a cold spot in what should be a red letter day.

According to the new figures that went out after February 14, while there is an improvement in the business of love and marriage from last year’s, it still is sadly low compared to what it was before the economy crashed a few years back. The local news people from NBC called it a ‘“love recession.”

Money and power and all the external, material things that we think is important has its own place. Dictators and people of influence will surely have their comeuppance in time, but love? Is there an economics of love too? Makes us wonder how far, if there is, is actually tied in with how much we have in our pockets too.

When I got married (a long, long time ago, far, far away…) I was told this story. There was a young couple who were so in love that they decided to marry. They were advised that they should wait because they both did not have jobs at the time and marrying entailed some responsibilities that they may not understand came with being married. They assured everyone that their love was enough to make their marriage strong, no matter what they had to go through. So, not long after announcing their engagement, they married. The young couple were so in love that their honeymoon consisted of endless romps in the bedroom interrupted only with having to eat once or twice in a day. When the honeymoon was over the young man soon found a job. The unabated fire in their loins became their expressions of love and bonding. For a while, it seemed, the young couple were indeed showing how love was enough to make a marriage. Pretty soon though, the young man found himself wanting a good meal and some companionable conversation instead of the usual physical bedroom gymnastics, when he came home from work. And so, as their physical unions diminished to a few times a week, they found that having to sit down together, share a meal and talk was kind of difficult. They found themselves thrust in long awkward silences, staring at their badly cooked food trying to find something they could chew on. It soon became apparent that they had nothing much in common. Nor was there anything much they really shared, other than the “love” they thought they had. So, it wasn’t long before they realized how their lives followed different paths. Divorce was not too far ahead

So, this is actually another version of a raunchier original. But we do get the picture, I hope. If love was just a word, it continues to change and morph and evolve into a myriad meanings. And we know in our hearts that it’s also all these, and whatever it still will be. How is it then that even in all its transformations it somehow is consistent also. “Love is kind, love is patient…,” the “How Do I Love Thee” staple – all these let us know that love is a good thing. And while having a fat wallet and great sex helps, it certainly is not all there is to it.

There is no gauge for how much love we can posses. Unlike money or material things, there is no set measure for love or loving. And, just as it helps when you have the finances to tide you over the bad times, love too is like having that reserve power when pockets are empty. Having someone to hold your hand when you’re broke may not put money in your bank account, but it does help not to be alone when these times happen.

Dictators will fall, nations will rebound, politics change, leaders come and go. Important days of historical significance have to be memorized. Having found or lost loves though seem to always have a place in our memories with little or no effort in the recall.

How sad then, that even love can have a recession. But I guess, even this only happens in Vegas.

(Mindanawon Abroad is MindaNews’ effort to link up with Mindanawons overseas who would like to share their experiences in their adopted countries. Dabawenya Margot Marfori is a writer and visual artist who continues to live the Davao she loves. She taught at the University of the Philippines in Mindanao from 1996 to 2002. She is now based more times of the year in Henderson, Nevada, while her youngest son is studying at UNLV, and, where her two older children in San Francisco is near enough to visit.)