Monday, April 13, 2009

On Romance

For Julie, with whom I go way back. We taught at PG High School together, she in a urine-smelling trailer, and me in a hallway that reeked of guano. She always makes me laugh.

Julie had three choices for a topical blog and her choices were: On Romance, On Lost (the TV show), and On the OctoMom. On Lost (the TV show), I have to say the title perfectly describes how I feel when I watch. I only started watching halfway through this season, and I don't get anything that's going on, but yet I'm still strangely fascinated by it. So, I'm not that qualified to discuss. On the OctoMom, I've stayed out of this melee (surprising when you consider the kind of power I yield to change the situation, I know). Should she have had eight babies? No, probably not. But she did. Is she crazy? Yes, probably. But I'll leave the judgement call to the authorities.

So that brings me to the topic that I chose to really address: ROMANCE!

You might wonder about my qualifications, and I have to say, I understand your concerns. But you guys, you must have forgotten that I'm one of the founders of the Tingling Touches club. So I'm totally over-qualified.

Here's the thing about romance. There are all sorts of definitions, and when I talk about romance (in italics) I'm talking about what I consider a (basically false) idea that a man has to treat a woman in a ridiculous way to show how much he loves her. Historically, this has taken several forms:

1. Kissing every stone step the woman walks on directly after verbally reprimanding her so that she flees in tears (The Scarlet Pimpernel).

2. Don't get me started on Wuthering Heights
. That's all I'm going to say about that.

3. Also, if you are really romantic (historically), you might want to act like you totally hate the girl and her family, while secretly falling in love with her. And hey, make sure that disdain shows when you propose against your better sense (Pride and Prejudice).

Then there's the modern romance literature, by which of course, I mean this:

In this genre, a romantic man seems to generally be moody, mysterious, and has a strong tendency to walk around with no shirt (or worse) on. But in the end? All those rude comments he made? All the times that he seemed to snub the heroine? They actually were demonstrations of love. He had to act that way so that he didn't crush her in his arms. And those times that he did crush her in his arms? Weakness, for which he is sorry. Because he should stay away from her because she has a bright future ahead of her/has lost her memory/deserves someone better than him/has gonorrhea. I'm just kidding about that last one. I just threw it in for Rhett, who's fascinated by STDs.

My point here is this: Romance, in italics, is ridiculous.

Because for me, the real romance of our marriage occurs when things are tough. It occurs when we choose to support each other when we don't really want to. It occurred when Rhett took such tender care of me after the birth of my babies. It occurs when he calls me from work to see how I'm doing. It occurs when we forgive each other for the stupid things we do when it would be easier to stay mad.

So, romance? Eh, not so much. But real romance? I'm such a fan.

Oh, who am I kidding? I love me a romantic story as much as the next person. But let's pretend I'm not that shallow, okay?


Melanie J said...

Pleasant Grove High School? I did my student teaching there back in...99? Yes. 1999. Funny.

Anonymous said...

It took me a long time to learn, realize and understand "real" romance. Thanks for your post.

Jen said...

Love the illustrative picture.

Death to Wuthering Heights.

I had breakfast in bed on my birthday. That's real romance right there. Toast, eggs, orange slices.

The Rookie said...

This post is perfect in every way. I'd never read about the Tingling Touches and must say that installments of said novel with the maybe-it-will-happen-maybe-it-won't prairie fire would be appreciated by your readership.

Oh, and Rhett's fascination with STDs is endearing at the very least, if not romantic.

amelia said...

Well, I think we need an "On Wuthering Heights" now...I love that book.

Tingling Touches Club? Just made my day.

Adrienne said...

I'm with you....(non italics) romance is real, (italics)romance is fun to read about.

One of my favorite (italics) romance novels is Night of the Hunter's Moon by Victoria Holt. It's a classic and you may get some good tips for your "tingling touches" club :)

Claire said...

But I can totally see Rhett in those tight jeans (that seem a little high in the waist in that picture), and crushing you with his superior manly grip, the muscles tensing and relaxing in his masculine mandible as he grits his teeth to ask you how your day's going... Don't you have both.. romance AND real romance?!?

julie said...

I love it! You do know, that as a teenager, I really wanted to be aromance writer, don't you? I even read the book, "How to Write a Romance Novel and Get it Published."

BTW, I'M NOT PRIVATE! I just changed my blog address:

Carol said...

Hey, I love Wuthering heights. What's not to like? It's dark, depressing and dreary. Perfectly English.

I have to agree on the romance front. When Rob used to buy me flowers etc it felt so special now when he does the ironing without being asked it is worth all the flowers in the world.

Jen said...

By the way, my fellow primary chorister, is a cattery if you were wondering. It's with all the helpful stuff. Just learned that today and thought I better share.

Katie Irion said...

Loving the post Hides. You know me, I can't disguise my shallowness, a good romance is about as good as anything.
Hey, tell Rhett that Ricky says he has a lot to good stories about STDs. (From the ER, not personal experiencer.)

jennie w. said...

You forgot about the "romance" of being with someone boring and sullen who has the desire to murder you and drink your blood 24/7. I mean, what's not to love about vampires?