With Valentine’s Day just around the weekend corner (the day after Super Bowl Sunday, which, in my mind, is one of the least romantic days of the year), it’s only natural that romance comes to mind. And beyond the age-old argument about Valentine’s Day really being a greeting-card-company-created holiday, I have a bigger issue to put out there. Even if it’s not about the corporate cloning, corporate owning of Valentine’s Day – in fact, even if it’s not about Valentine’s Day at all – where has all the romance gone?
I’m talking about the idea of romance in our society, the feeling that life is full of romantic possibilities. Combine two years of a global pandemic with enough unrest, anger, and fear to make optimism seem a thing of the past, and it’s no wonder that Cupid would soar far away, as fast as his little wings might take him (bow and arrow notwithstanding). Huge factors, of course. But maybe if romance made a big comeback in general, we’d all feel a lot better. To wit:
More movies with guys dancing – and singing – in the rain, not caring if they get drenched or whether their umbrella is open, simply being in love and loving the feeling. It just makes you feel good.
More butter-full, sugar-full, fun-full recipes for candlelit dinners, where all the rules of moderation are conveniently ignored. There’s something to be said for the art of indulging.
More small bookshops meant for browsing on a weekend afternoon – either with your person or by yourself. After all, immersing one’s self in books is a passion unto itself.
More romantic comedies – forget the action, forget the hi-tech, forget the drama, the tragedy, the pain. Laughing together is good for the heart, and what’s good for the heart is at the heart of romance. (To that end, more of Mr. Big showing up to rescue Carrie in Paris and less of him dying on the Peloton – I’m still recovering from that one.)
More soda fountains serving sundaes, shakes, and ice-cream sodas, along with a jukebox playing songs about first love, forever love, and staying-together love. And with great melodies you just want to dance to.
More flower stands – one on every street corner, in fact – so that picking a blossom or two or a dozen to give to someone, or keep for yourself, is easy. So easy, that everyone will want to do it. Every day.
Less 24 /7 news. Yes, we need to know what’s going on. But every minute of every day? Turn it off and go outside for a walk. And while you’re at it, visit the nearby flower stand and the local bookstore. Now you’re getting the hang of it.
More calling and less texting. Indeed, a text is quicker and there’s an emoji for nearly every feeling out there. But nothing replaces the human voice saying “Hey! I’m thinking of you and would love to cook you a butter-full, sugar-full, fun-full candlelit dinner.” And nothing feels better than hearing, “I’d love to!” from a live voice, versus that tired, smiling, kiss-blowing emoji. Take the time – it’s worth it. (Sort of like the difference between reading the book and settling for the Cliff Notes.)
Which leads me to my last suggestion – take the time. Romance means taking the time to think about someone and then spending that time making them happy. So yeah, it can mean buying a bunch of roses on a non-Valentine’s-Day day. It can mean showing up with Chinese takeout at the end of a crazy day when the last thing your partner has the energy to do is even think about dinner. And it can mean really listening when she tells you about that book she’s dying to read but hasn’t had the chance to look for – and then showing up with the gift-wrapped version from said local bookshop (sure, it might be easier to find online but we’re going for full-on romance here).
It’s time to put a little more romance back in the world. One jukebox-dance, pasta-filled, laugh-your-ass-off, in-full-bloom step at a time.
©2022 Claudia Grossman