Since I write romances, people often ask me to define what makes something romantic. That’s a really good question. Let’s review a couple of scenarios, then discuss.
Your lover knows you enjoy reading. Valentine’s Day rolls around and he decides to show he understands you, cares about you and wants to make you happy. Which is the romantic gesture?
- When you come home, you walk into a cozy den. A fire crackles in the fireplace. A fluffy blanket drapes over the arm of your favorite chair. On the table, a pot of Darjeeling swirls steam into the soft glow of the reading light, the fragrance of dozens of roses mingles in the steam. A pile of crisp, never creased books by your favorite authors and the recommended reads from Amazon sit at the foot of the chair waiting to take you on adventures.
- Your lover e-mails you a $50 off coupon for a new Nook.
- Your man takes you to Barnes and Noble, buys you a triple mocha frappe and waits patiently while you shop to your heart’s content.
You’ve had a really stressful week full of meetings, demanding phone calls, schedule changes and budget overages. Which is the romantic gesture?
- At 5 o’clock Friday afternoon, your lover meets you in the lobby of your office building with an armful of roses. He whisks you off to the honeymoon suite at the nicest hotel on your area, champagne, chocolate, roses and bedding spun by angels are the last thing you notice before he pulls you close and you get lost in his kisses.
- When you get home on Friday night, he tells you to go ahead and order takeout. He had burgers and beers at the bar.
- When you arrive home, your man has run a bath for you and sent the kids to his mother’s for the night.
You have the flu and can’t go to work. Shoot, you can barely get out of bed and wish the bathroom wasn’t fifteen miles from your bedroom. Which is the romantic gesture?
- Your boyfriend calls his grandmother to get her homemade chicken soup recipe. After shopping the farmers’ markets for organic carrots and fennel, he spends all afternoon simmering the healing broth. He delivers the meal to you on an antique silver tray complete with roses and a lace doily.
- He sleeps on the couch to avoid germs while you convalesce.
- He goes to the store, buys chicken soup and several different cold/flu remedies, hoping one will relieve your symptoms. He rents your favorite movies and watches chick flicks with you while you recover.
Okay, so what do you think? I’m sure Option #1 led to swooning. Option #2 resulted in groans and possible recognition. Option #3 caused some “aahs.”
There are three elements to romantic gestures: 1) Caring and understanding 2) Thinking of another more than yourself and 3) The slightest bit of effort.
Sure, Option #1 sounds absolutely divine. Who wouldn’t want someone putting that much thought into a gesture, but honestly, wouldn’t everyone be just as happy with option #3?
But do you want to know the secret to romance? Do you really want to know? Here’s the secret. It’s really very simple. When a man cares about and understands you, thinks of you more than himself and goes to the slightest bit of effort to please you, say “thank you.” Guess what? If you say “thank you,” he’ll probably do it again.
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I had no idea there were places more remote than tiny, Iñupiaq villages with no road access, yet I managed to find one. The woods of Madison County are inspirational and I have written several short stories that have been published in anthologies. My novels, which I refer to as soul-searching snark, are filled with unique characters-strong, bold women and knock-your-bloomers-off hot men. Sure they’re flawed, but who cares? Have you seen their abs?
If I ever run out of story ideas all I have to do is go to the local feed store, sit on the porch with the tobacco-chewing farmers and soak up the country. Somehow along the way, this cat lady acquired four dogs, eleven ducks and too many chickens to count. I live with my extremely tolerant husband and not so understanding cats. When I’m not writing, I’m gardening, baking or thinking about making another quilt.
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