Calvin Klein’s latest Get Together campaign triggered some deep emotional response in me. As I watched all those couples enjoy time together, sunbathe together or rejoice in the beauty of life, I remembered something important:
My first love was a boy from school. Very original, no? We ended up together in a time and age where people didn’t tweet, reblog, like or comment, but wasted their nights in the park, had drinks in a bar built around a very old tree in Central Park and exchanged real love notes instead of tumbling them in helvetica neue.
Gossip got born in colourful journals held by every group of girls during class, landlines were still better than no phones and fashion consciousness was emergent, yet timid. A dress or fragrance from Calvin Klein was pretty much luxury and wearing it easily transformed you in the stylish Queen B of your generation.
I held a special place inside for all these sun drenched, orange tinted, radio orchestrated, snow coated images of teenage years. They may have attached to my heart or might have gone deeper and mixed in my structure, in my fiber, like stardust. They are spellbound, like childhood, like the first time you get up and walk, like the smell of old photos in a Chinese tea box, like the drive behind getting the first boy you like to fancy you back, like the forgotten taste of almond candy from a crystal jar.
My memories are like a bunch of flowers plucked from an open field. The grace of cornflower pastels, with the feist of poppies and the faded grain – they speak simplicity in consistence.
Love for the simple instances in life is something I had to remember after my brain decided to take a break from my responsible adult-to-become daily role. Summertime, sand, holiday romance, basic fabrics, the feel of lightweight cotton on skin after a day at the beach, the smell of daisies running up my nostrils, they were there, at the end of a barely secluded beach, where my thoughts came back to where they belonged.
We all own our private moments, scents, faces, places, particles in black and white or explosions in bright Technicolor. We carry them in mental agendas in the shape of smiles, unfolding arms, dresses, trains, socks, small stones, swings and grass, a tender collection of what we are that reverberates even miles away from home, when you share a peaceful moment with your favourite person in the whole world.
Today we have Skype, FaceTime, Viber and countless other online apps where you can “hang out” with anyone, at any time, anywhere. But all of these experiences somehow stop short of spending actual time together. We come across Facebook memories once in a while and we’re content to remember, but getting together is sometimes so much refreshing than reposting a picture from the summer of ’06.
It’s the difference between waking up to a screenshot of messages from another time zone of your friend and her current flame versus rigorously analyzing the correspondence together over coffee. It’s the luxury of being able to invite someone to an exhibit that they would love, instead of sending pictures and telling them what they would have liked about it.
I keep in touch with my first love, once in a while. The same way I like to keep the bond close with my best friend, who moved thousands of miles away and with whom I seldom use technology to reconnect, because deep down we both know the day we get together will be as life changing as the day we first met (and she spilled hot coffee all over my crispy white shirt). I smile at that memory, but I always prefer to hop on a ship or a plane and go see her.
Because at the end of the day, even though it can be tempting to live in a virtual universe filled with close friends, nostalgia and unlimited cute videos of animals, sometimes you just crave to actually get together.
When Calvin Klein started to encourage people to come out from behind their screens and see each other face-to-face in all splendour, I told my best friend “Let’s do this”. We decided to do it not only because we’re secretly bound by that childish memory of high school when we dreamt to one day walk ourselves in that CK dress our classmate had.
No, this had to do with the fact that we miss each other constantly and the rare occasions we actually get together are sprinkled with fun, laughter, dramatic tales of charming lovers and not-so-charming stories of our mishaps. But hey, that’s what life is made of! And while on social media we might put out a stylized version of ourselves and our companions, the rawness of this photograph a stranger took of us on the beach, this spring, is a haven of youth, lust for life and love for one another.
If you want to participate in CK’s Get Together fragrance campaign, try out their site for a change. They give some fun tutorials on how to leave your house and meet someone in the real world. You just have to take your phone, call your best friend, lover, mother or father, your sibling or the boy who smiles at you from across the counter when you buy cherries on Saturdays at the local market, and challenge yourselves to actually spend time together. Discover yourselves or replenish your relationship. Take it to the beach together. Take a shower with your girlfriend, save some water. Kiss your lover and refuse to let them go. Ask a benevolent third party to immortalize your meeting with this person and next time you go on Instagram to let the world know about your day, remember that beautiful, sincere picture and add a #the2ofus hashtag.
If you are cheeky enough to give it a try, see what challenge you get dealt and send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org with the photos and your story with the person you got together with. We’ll feature the best on our social network.
Written by Ioana Cristina Casapu, references by Angela Waters