Some of you may have picked up on the fact that I’m not much of a romantic. It’s not that I have anything against lurve really but I am just generally bored by romantic storylines and find most of what passes for epic love stories to be frankly very unromantic…. I mean people still think Romeo and Juliet is romance…. it’s about a 13 (yup) and an 18 year old who see each other at a party, make small talk once and ruin the lives of everyone around them. I’m sure they were feeling something but love is unlikely. And although we’ve gotten a bit more subtle, what generally passes for romance is either nothing more than passion or some weird partnership of convenience with dreadfully uneven power distribution. If you can’t really say why two characters are together aside from they’re in love, something’s obviously missing.
But even a derpy romantically challenged girl like me can’t help but to be moved at the sight of actual devotion, of the specialest of all magiks, of **gasp** True Love. And when I glimpse such a wonder, I melt into a gushy mushy puddle of fangirling. So on this beautifully snowy Christmas day, let’s all melt together with my one and only OTP:
Celty and Shinra
I love these two so much. Granted, I also love this show very very much so that helps but I honestly believe that Celty and Shinra are one of the sweetest and most romantic contemporary depictions of love.
First, they are both wonderful, intriguing, fascinating characters. Shinra is a morally compromised but extremely intelligent and highly educated man. More than capable of earning a living or carrying a narrative all by himself. It wouldn’t be unthinkable to cast him as the protagonist of a side story. He is interesting and remains so even without Celty. As for Celty, well let’s face it, she’s best girl. I mean she is a self-assured badass who is perfectly believable in her moments of vulnerability and self-doubt and even manages to be a deeply expressive and sensitive character, without a face. They are both great independent of each other and they just get better together.
I really appreciate a balanced power dynamic in a couple and these two are true equals. When one’s down the other one will surely be there to prop them up. They enjoy each other’s company, they are clearly good friends who joke around and tell each other about their day, but they can and do have separate lives as well. There’s no clear expectation that one is meant to be the clearly supportive partner. Neither of them is parenting the other either, expected to be the mature or responsible one. They both share the roles and take up the part as required by the situation. You need to understand and trust your partner implicitly for this to be possible but it’s clearly the best possible situation.
They are also fairly aware of each other. Both of them are flawed, in some cases deeply so and although they are hardly irredeemable and do strive to be generally good people, they have both slipped on occasion and made some bad mistakes. They have not always been honest with each other or fair. But they know it. Neither is under the illusion that the other is perfect. Neither expects the other to be beyond reproach. They are both quite conscious of the other’s shortcomings and they’ve accepted them. They’ve decided the good is more than worth the bad and they want to help each other get better. Personally, I’m always very suspicious of someone who thinks they’re loved one is perfect. Either they haven’t been paying attention at all and when they finally notice, it’s going to be rough, or they’re simply lying. It’s also not the best thing to hear from your partner, staying perfect is a lot of pressure. Being loved warts and all, is a lot more comforting.
That doesn’t mean they don’t want the other to change. To get rid of some of their nastier habits. Quite to the contrary, both of them are extremely encouraging when the other wants to try something new. Although they’ve both shown signs of insecurity and even jealousy, they’ve never tried to hold the other back in any way. Being adults, they realize that such fears lie within themselves and tying the other person down is not going to do anything to assuage them.
As I already mentioned, these two are complete people. That’s a very important element if there is to be any true respect in a couple. A lot of us can get attracted to “cute” or “helpless”. It’s normal to get the urge to protect and take care of someone who can’t seem to do it on their own. Let’s be honest (some of us take advantage of that instinct too). But when you start off that way, it becomes very difficult to see the other person on equal terms. Even if they happen to be a capricious tsundere type who gives all the orders, deep down, some part of you believes that they would be lost without you. A bit like a pet.
Similarly, if you have ever been with someone who loses themselves in their relationships, you know how difficult it can be to see them as their own person. Those people that seem perfectly contempt to be nothing more than so and so’s girlfriend or husband and reduce their entire character to that particular role. It can certainly be pleasant but it doesn’t tend to be very challenging. You can be madly in love with the person you’re with and still have your own interests and opinions. They can even be different!
See, even though Celty and Shinra are hopelessly in love, this love is not their defining trait. They don’t need the other person to feel whole because they were already complete and complex characters. They don’t need to define they’re actions and personalities to please someone else because they have enough experience and will to act for themselves. They trust the other person enough to believe they won’t leave at the first disagreement and respect the other enough to argue with them. At the end of the day, Celty and Shinra don’t need each other at all but they want each other and that’s just so beautiful.
You may think this is a short post but for me to write even this much on the subject of romance and relationships is quite a feat indeed. I hope it made some sense. But mostly, I hope wherever you are, you are having some really wonderful holidays. Even if you’re not with your one true love yet, you will be, soon. Just follow Celty and Shinra’s example and it will all work out!