In “The Ugly Reason Why Romance Is Dead and Gone,” Holly Riordan’s revelations drive a stake straight through Cupid’s heart:
We want to appear more laid-back than we actually are, so we keep our emotions bottled up. We think it’s cooler to hate on Valentine’s Day and on marriage and on love in general than to be open and honest about our feelings. We think it’s better to act emotionless.
We don’t want to want candlelit dinners and stuffed gifts and surprise dates. We don’t want to want romance, because we’re worried we won’t get it and will end up disappointed again.
Romance is dead, because no one wants to go against the grain of modern dating and admit that they need more than morning texts and social media likes. No one wants to admit that they would rather sit down at a table and talk over a homemade meal than sit on the edge of a bed and silently watch Netflix.
Romance dead? Hating on Valentine’s Day? Better to act emotionless? If Riordan is correct, if romance is shrouded and ready for the grave, then this geezer has a question: What in the name of Eros, passion, and gallantry are young people thinking nowadays?
If you’re someone who’s truly afraid of romance, or if you’re trying so hard to be cool that you’re more a refrigerator than a human being, then you have only yourself to blame. You’re either running scared or protecting yourself from one of the most exciting roller coaster rides on the planet. As my online dictionary puts it, romance is “a feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love.” Kick romance to the curb, and you’re missing out on an emotion as old as humanity itself.
Whether you’re single or married doesn’t matter. Whether you’re in a long-term relationship or heading out on a first date doesn’t matter. Whether you’re 3 score and 10 years or just old enough to get a driver’s license doesn’t matter. What does matter is that somewhere inside of all of us, no matter how tightly we’ve locked them down, are passion, love, fire, and romance.
And Valentine’s Day is the perfect occasion to release those prisoners.
Judging by Ms. Riordan’s comments above, some people may require a little assistance here. They have apparently forgotten or never learned the ways of romance. Oh, sure, on Valentine’s Day they might purchase that obligatory bunch of roses at the grocery store on the way home from work and even throw in a box of chocolates for good measure, but that’s amateur hour. Time for a change.
Here are five tips if you need help resuscitating romance.
But first, we need some background music. Click here to listen to Dooley Wilson’s classic “As Time Goes By,” reminding us that “moonlight and love songs are never out of date.”
Suggestion 1: This one’s for men only. Make a date. No texting allowed. Call the woman on the phone, or speak to her in person, and ask her to supper and to spend the evening with you.
Suggestion 2: Make your own Valentine’s Day card, or if you buy a card, make it personal with a note. Given the online tools at your disposal and the craft decorations sold in many stores and card shops, this one’s easy. Unless your handwriting is indecipherable, write the note rather than typing it.
Suggestion 3: Make supper a candlelight affair. Yes, that’s hokey. So are Christmas trees, singing “Happy Birthday,” and Mother’s Day cards. If you have children and can’t find a babysitter, have supper at home as if you were on a date. Let the kids see Mom and Dad not just as parents but as two people who fell in love and whose lives are entwined. If you go to a restaurant and the table has no candles, no problem: You can bring one in your pocket or purse along with a holder and matches. With the restaurant’s permission, light it up.
Suggestion 4: Pull out a pack of conversation cards. No matter how long you’ve known each other, these cards with their questions and your replies will bring reflection and laughter. Reserve the right to refrain from answering any questions that make you uncomfortable. Here’s a great vehicle for finding joy and intimacy on Valentine’s Day.
Suggestion 5: In the film Kate and Leopold (which I highly recommend as a mini course in manners to young men), Leopold says to Charlie, who is in love, “Think of pleasing her, not vexing her.” No vexing, ladies and gentlemen, on Valentine’s Day.
As for those of us who are alone on this one holiday set aside strictly for love, we needn’t throw ourselves into a bog of despair. If we’ve lost a loved one, we can treat the occasion as a memory box, remembering the happiness that special person gave to us. If we’re alone, we can make plans to share a special supper with a friend or family member, especially one who may need our compassion and care.
Just remember: If romance is dead, so too is a part of us. And only we have the power to bring it back to life.
Image credit: Pinterest-123RF