The random flower guy and that pesky need for love from someone
Since the beginning of time, men and women have been in romantic relationships. Adam and Eve were a couple in love sharing the world in a flowing garden of sensual fruits, beds of flowers, exotic animals and luscious scenery. Over the ages our idea of romance has changed significantly. Even in the times of arranged marriage, romance existed through forbidden love. Shakespeare’s famous Romeo and Juliet shared intimacy and shaped romantic ideas for readers throughout time.
When we think of romance and love some things pop to mind: boys send their girlfriends roses on Valentine’s Day; heart-shaped chocolates wrapped in red foil seem to be a popular way to express your love; quiet candle-lit dinners and champagne will often do the trick.
But why are these symbols representative of love? Or are they just illusions?
One Saturday night a few weeks ago I found myself on the second floor of a popular nightclub on 18th and Connecticut Avenue (I’ve heard of Michael Jordan spottings from regulars). As I sipped my drink and took a minute to get my barrings in the crowded area around the bar, I noticed men hitting on women, women hitting on men, women hitting on women and men hitting on men. I noticed women congregating in corners and gossiping; I noticed men at tables buying bottles and flaunting money. But none of this really caught my eye. Then I saw a familiar face – the flower guy.
The flower guy is everywhere in D.C. I’ve seen him at many restaurants, bars and parties. He roams around places packed with couples, or couples to be, looking to find a guy talking to a girl. As soon as he spots a potential flower-buyer he creeps up, smiles, holds out a rose and says, “three dollars.” On some occasions, the girl blushes and says no. In others the guy suavely takes out his wallet and hands the flower guy $3 while smoothly grabbing the single red rose and handing it to his date.
In personal encounters with the flower guy, I have usually just laughed, telling him that there will be “no luck here.” It seems cheesier than anything else. In one particular occasion I happened unknowingly to be standing next to a man. He was just another stranger taking in the atmosphere. As usual, the flower guy approached and recognized me. Slowly but surely the embarrassed smile crept onto my face and the quiet laughter began over the loud music. The man standing next to me saw what was going on and began to blush himself. I turned my back and faced the flower guy. “You again,” I said and he smiled and handed me a rose.
“For free” he told me. This is shocking for the hustling flower guy. I thanked him profusely and tried to ask him his name. I could not hear over the loud music and he moseyed on through the shoulder-to-shoulder crowd.
As I watched him walk away, I wondered if the flower guy is just another scammer trying to make his dollar or the new and improved ideal of romance in our young and party-going society.
-The writer, a sophomore majoring in English, is a Hatchet columnist.