Sunday, February 04, 2007


I am the least romantic person in the universe.

My youngest son, the one in the picture kissing the girl in the wedding gown, told me it was true years ago. But I didn’t believe it. I mean, I write romance novels, therefore I must be romantic. This was my theory and I stuck with it for a long time… until I saw said picture of him kissing said girl in the wedding gown. At which point I quoth, “Wow, you should sell that to Hallmark or something.”

The happy couple turned to me in tandem and stared aghast…as if I’d grown horns and picked up a pitch fork or something. Apparently, and this was news to me…one doesn’t sell one’s wedding pictures--too sentimental or some such rot. But I mean, come on…they’re a beautiful couple, it’s all rainy and luminous and lovely. Even I can tell it’s a gorgeous shot. Maybe I should have known it was also romantic. But I’m apparently missing the latent ‘romance gene’. Roses and candlelight and soft music don’t really do it for me either. I’m always game for cold hard cash though.

Which brings me to the subject of Valentine’s Day. (You didn’t see that coming did you?) But I mean, really, we Americans have fiscally capitalized on every possible holiday. On February 13th half the men in America will be striding down the aisles of supermarkets, drug stores, and candy shops everywhere, brows furrowed, looking hunted as they try to decide what to buy their true loves. Should it be the ten pound heart of Hersheys? (I mean, nothing says I love you like acne in a box.) Should it be roses? Or a card? Or should they go for broke and get all three?

If someone asked me, I’m afraid I’d have to say…none of the above. Granted, as already stated, I’m not exactly a sentimentality guru, but shouldn’t true romance be something original? Something unique? Something specifically designed for that one special person?

So what’s romantic?? I don’t know. I have kind of a weakness for summer lightning and foreign accents and the way a man ushers his beloved along with his hand really light on the small of her back. But that’s maybe not romantic so much as…weird.

What about you, though? Come on…spill your guts. In your opinion, what’s romance all about?


Cindy Gerard said...

Hey Lois
You've brought up an interesting issue. Romance is romance is romance, right? Apparently not so. So I got to thinking (you wanted me too, right?) Some days, romance is me on deadline and the scent of dinner cooking and me glancing up from my computer wondering if I had an out of body experience and actually remembered there was a man in my house who needed to eat. Same said man is the one responsible for those lovely smells wafting from the kitchen. Now THAT'S romantic because I hate to cook (didn't get that gene) Some days romance is that same man agreeing to watch a TV show just because I asked him too even though he's certain he won't like it. And sometimes, romance is flowers - which just sort of melt me.
Okay - none of those are earth shattering - except if I'm the recipient and then all those romantic cliches kick in and I'm a gonner. :o)

Helen Brenna said...

What Cindy said. I don't think something can be romantic if it's not personal in some small way. Flowers and chocolate can be personal. So can a pair of socks.

I don't think it's weird as much as individual.

Michele said...

Ah yes, after eighteen years of marriage romance is no longer the grand gestures, but the simple surprising acts. Remembering to call if he's going to be late because traffic is awful. Holding the door open to the McDonalds as we dash in for a quick bite. Offering to run to the store for the cheese while I stir the spaghetti.
And most important, remembering to wear the BreatheRight to bed because without it he snores like a bear. Utter romance, there, when he grants me a blissful, noiseless night of sleep.

lois greiman said...

I like the socks idea, Helen. :) We are true northerners, aren't we? Nothing says I love you like toasty piggies.

But I looooove to sleep, so I'm with Michele too.

Cooking though, Cindy? Your husband actually cooks? Yay for you!

Hmmm, reading this, I'm wondering if we're not romantic so much as...old.

Betina Krahn said...

See, guys, it's all in your definition of romance. For me, romance is all about discovery. A romance novel is all about the discovery of another person who fits with and delights and warms the heart. Okay, and maybe the passions, too. It's the first giddy, enthralling stage of falling in love. And it's all about "discovering" and learning a mate and discovering the things inside yourself that you didn't know were there.

So, by that definition, romance involves a bit of a surprise that touches a tenderness inside you. Whatever makes that happen is romantic. Whether it's a gift, a thoughtful act, or a bit of sharing that hasn't happened before. that's why in real life, it's so personal. . . it says I've been watching, paying attention to you and to "us." And it says I care enough to want to please you.

That second part is why the roses and chocolates and such-- lame or commercial as they may seem at times-- still touch us and make us smile. It's the thought, the concern for our happiness that counts.

But what would really be romantic, is taking the time to discover something new about our lover. . . and perhaps sharing something new or previously unknown about ourselves. Of course, that presupposes that there would be something "new" to discover. Which is where continually growing and discovering new things in life comes in. . .

Whatcha think?

:) Betina

Christie Ridgway said...

Great topic, Lois. I think a romantic gesture can be the other person seeing what you Cindy's husband cooking a meal. One year before we were married, my husband (then boyfriend) gave me a birthday gift in a crumpled brown paper bag. Inside the bag--gummy old car parts. He'd tuned up my car for me!

It was a very caring gesture because not only did he do the work, but it showed he was worrying about me on my commute each day. Darling man. I think I got something else too, but I don't remember it like I remember those car parts.

lois greiman said...

Okay, I'm starting to remember romance. Once, many years ago, my husband woke me from a sound sleep at four in the morning and told me I had to go out in the barn. I assured him he was entirely wrong. In fact I think I may have been rather emphatic and grouchy about it. But finally I dragged myself out there. It was May. The last remnants of winter were fading away. Fog was misty around the edges of the world. I recall racing up the hills through the silvery fog, seeing the sun first rise in the east and thinking that all was fresh and new and exciting.

Oh crap, now I just feel older. :)

Keri Ford said...

For me, romance equals flowers, sometimes. I work in public, and so my husband knows I want the biggest arrangement sitting on the counter! Now, that isn’t all that romantic (especially since I later get the bill in the mail) but I get all the other women ‘oh and ah’ing over my husband’s grand gesture of how much he thinks of me. But every now and then, when he’s been behaving bad and has me grumpy, he’ll show up at home with a simple arrangement of two or three flowers. Those will always make me smile when I look at them versus the dozen or two on special occasions.

Now, to the really romantic stuff that makes me giggle inside.

It’s when he comes to my work and winks at me while I’m busy with customers. He’ll come up and rub on my lower back to greet me good morning. How he grins when I steal the last piece of bacon from his plate and finish off his glass of water. When I fall asleep on the couch, or nearly there, he’ll pick me up and take me to bed. He still looks at me the same right now, 31 weeks pregnant as he did six years ago when I was forty pounds lighter. If I’m tired or in the middle of a chapter, he’ll fold and put away the clothes.

Stuff like that curls my toes. That’s what romance is all about in this household. Some call it routine, I call it love and romance.

Debra Dixon said...

I'm not much of a candy hearts and flowers, classic romance kind of gal.

For me, romance is finding a sticky note on the mirror that says, "I love you." On a day that isn't a birthday or anniversary or anything.

Or a cleverly drawn heart that will only show up on the glass shower door after the steam begins to do its magic.

And he cooks. I find that muy romantico.


Joye said...

Romance is putting your faith in someone else and sharing with them and hoping they reciprocate. Little gestures all year long are more important than one dozen roses on one day.

Cindy Gerard said...

Keri - you had me sighing over your guy. What a sweetie. And Joye, I agree. Trust is so key - and confidence in that trust is a very romantic feeling.
You guys are making me all gushy inside. I'm inspired. I might even take my socks off when I go to bed tonight as my little romantic gesture :o) Oh, come on. Cut me a little slack. It's 3 below zero here, people. And if the toes are cold, this woman doesn't sleep.

Keri Ford said...

Cindy- My feet are ice cold in the summertime when it's 90 out! and let me tell you, the hubby just loves it when I place my ice cold feet on his bare legs! I get told my hubby is a sweetie a lot, but usually they add, bless him for putting up with you.

And congrats for marrying a man that knows how to cook. I had to teach mine how to brown hamburger meat in the skillet!

lois greiman said...

Keri, you actually made me tear up. Romance is not dead.

Cindy Gerard said...

Oh - the man definitely knows how to cook - and not just in the kitchen :o)