My guy and I sat on a bench beside the Seine River in Paris and snuggled in to each other. The massive artistry of Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral claimed ownership of the vista before us and romance was in the air. The way I remember it, there were accordion players serenading us in the background, and there was a full moon shining down on us like a benevolent love goddess, although I am pretty sure I’m making that part up. We began talking about what a wonderful holiday we had had and, at some point, the man I’d been dating for all of nine months asked if I would make the trip perfect by agreeing to marry him.
Now that’s a marriage proposal!
The marriage eventually dissolved in the misery of divorce, but not before it had produced evidence of its existence in the form of a darling sweet girl, who is now fully grown up and launched into her own adult life. As they say, children are full of surprises, and my first-born delighted me recently by announcing her engagement to a wonderful young man who makes a superb addition to the family. There is a publication ban on the circumstances around which the marriage proposal was delivered, but, suffice to say, it was highly romantic, and I think my son-in-law-to-be just might win the family prize for romantic proposals.
It got me thinking how wonderful it is that romance still flourishes in a world that is also fertile ground for a lot of perceptively negative experiences. The home page of Canada’s National Newspaper lists stories about politics, finance, taxes, global insecurity, floods, sexism and a murder trial. The “Relationship” section includes articles about a mooching cousin, the racist father of someone’s boyfriend, a fiancé who won’t move out of his mother’s house, the heartbreaking challenges of LGBTQ seniors, and the emotional scars carried by the children of emotionally abusive parents.
Is it any wonder that the tabloids spray all kinds of drivel at us about the romantic lives of celebrities? If we can set aside the cheating and the screaming matches, these magazines also give us the deets on dates, dresses, budding relationships, and the promise of that elusive concept, “happiness.” Sure, it might all be make-believe. But I think many of us actually do want to bring a little more romance into our lives, if only to counter the weight of Reality.
Furthermore, now that I’m warming up to the topic, I think that, at its most basic, romance starts with what we used to so quaintly call “gentlemanly” and “ladylike” behavior. There is something in there about respect for the person, the whole person, the one that also has a heart and soul, that I really like. And I wonder what would happen if we included, in our writing, judiciously and with respect for our readers, just a little more of that – a little more acknowledgement that there is a whole emotional world roiling around underneath the surface of the face we present to the world?
What do you think—am I onto something here? Or not? Leave a comment here or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear what you think!