A Eulogy for Grand Gestures

Editor’s note: The following article is the reading of a eulogy at an imaginary funeral, only the funeral is not for a person. It is for an idea—the idea of ‘Grand Gestures.’ The floor is open … Enjoy the metaphor.

“Kind of nervous … I don’t enjoy speaking in front of crowds. I wasn’t planning on saying anything—isn’t it always easier when you don’t speak up? I know the floor’s open, and this is the part in the service when anyone can say a few words. I listened to what the other speakers shared, and what struck me—I can see it now as I look out at your faces—is how much older you all are. Sorry that didn’t come out right … I’m trying to point out it’s a generational thing.

You in the older generation performed Grand Gestures. No, you believed in Grand Gestures and executed them regularly. Those actions had weight. They made an impression. They made a difference. They clearly communicated love.

You in the older generation stood under balconies and sang off tune love songs. Nowadays girls just charge us with trespassing. You wrote love letters, expressing your feelings in bold black and white.

Not us younger folks. I’m no sociologist. I don’t know what went wrong or how to properly fix it. I do know guys are not doing a good job of living up to their duty. And many women know this and don’t even wait for us to mess up. Many are so independent they don’t need us anymore … and neither of us can go back to our old roles by avoiding this struggle.

It doesn’t matter if I’m on a date or not: I’ve never seen a girl wait inside the car for me to open her door. And don’t get me started on the argument when the bill comes. I’m not rich; I not going to pay for every meal, but let me pay for one or two now and then, and you can just say thanks without bothering to keep score or ‘pay me back’ somehow.

I mean you know this—that’s why we are at this funeral isn’t it? The Grand Gesture is dead. See how far we’ve come and what we’ve lost along the way?

Listen, I’m not suggesting we go all the way back. But it’d be fantastic to live in a time when Grand Gestures mean something, when they have value and impact.

Have a friend whose relationship was dying. He pressed on. He wrote her a love letter. And there was anger in it and hurt and betrayal and love—a whole lot of warm and fuzzy love. I’m not blaming the letter or counting on it to be a miracle. It didn’t work. Truthfully, all she said about the letter was: ‘That’s nice.’ That’s it? ‘That’s nice?’

When was the last time you got a love letter? Or when you felt compelled to write one? Look at us … no really look at us, at our lives at our decisions. We make lousy decisions. Because we’re lonely. Because we have low self-esteem. Because we hurt. And we want it to stop.

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And me? When I heard you in the older generation speak, I could hear the reverence, the awe and the beauty. I get it, because I’ve read the myths. Cinderella wasn’t Cinderella until the glass shoe slipped back onto her foot and the Prince who made the effort, who searched, who made the Grand Gesture, found his love. I don’t want to shrug anymore and say there are more fish in the sea: I want to carry a glass shoe.

I know this is a funeral for the Grand Gesture. And it’s supposed to be sad and difficult for we now have to figure out how to live without Grand Gestures. The good news is: this is a comic book death! There is no body. If Grand Gestures are to carry value again we must start afresh. We have to establish new and rediscover old Grand Gestures.

This isn’t about the mushy love we celebrate on Valentine’s Day. There maybe different types of love, but they all require Grand Gestures. Even now as I’m single, waiting (often impatiently) for That Girl, I have female friends. I have a sister. And they fall into times of tenderness. They need to be reminded of their beauty and their value—their worth. Not as sexual creatures, but as the women God designed them to be—wants them to eventually become.

Me—us men need to carry some of this work until their Prince Charming comes along who will do this properly. But I need to be strong enough and sensitive enough to commit to this, to not letting these moments go without some sort of acknowledgement … some sort of meaningful Gesture. And women need to be strong enough to admit they’re feeling tender and could use a compliment … a Gesture … and just accept it with grace and humility. Wouldn’t that be special? Isn’t this the harmony those cheezy Coke commercials were singing about?

Thanks for listening. Sorry if I rambled …”

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