With tomorrow being Valentine’s Day, the most loved/hated holiday of the year, I thought I’d talk about romance. It is what we do! Have you ever been out to dinner on Valentine’s Day and watched the couples in the restaurant? People watching, is a favorite pastime which I find very enlightening.
You have the guy who’s obviously getting ready to propose. You can spot him easy enough. He’s the one who seems his collared shirt is about an inch too tight. He keeps adjusting his tie, but it’s obvious his attempt at hyperventilation prevention isn’t working. He listens to his future fiancé as she rambles on, nodding his head obediently, but you know he hasn’t heard a word she’s said. He’s too busy playing out how the next thirty minutes of his life are going to go. He gulps the over-his-budget Champagne trying to remain calm.
Then you have the couple who have been together for about five years. The lady has dressed up for the occasion. She’s in a red dress, sparkly six-inch heels. He’s dressed more casually, Polo and a pair of khakis. Nevertheless, by their exchange of smiles, you can tell the romance is still alive. While they wait for dinner over a glass of wine, he slips her a small red box with a tiny white bow. She blushes, but hurries to open the gift. Of course there’s a heart-shaped necklace inside. Maybe a diamond attached, maybe not. Still, she’s thrilled.
Then there’s the couple who’s been married between ten to fifteen years. The guy follows all the rules to make his wife happy. Because Hallmark, the florist and the jewelry store commercials have told him what she’s expecting. He’s tolerating dinner when it’s clear; he’d rather be home with a TV tray watching The Amazing Race. Still, he loves his wife very much, so he makes the effort. The table has no pretty red boxes and certainly no over-priced Champagne. More likely he’s clutching a top-shelf, stiff drink while his spouse sips a fancy martini.
Then there’s that couple that leaves you shaking your head. She’s got a look of triumph on her face. I bet you a box of heart-shaped chocolate they had a conversation the week before that went a little like this:
Wife: “Don’t you even think your sorry-butt is going to get out of doing Valentine’s Day. I’d better get some flowers delivered at work. I want a big box of candy, and you’re going to bust into that tight sealed wallet of yours and take me to that new restaurant everyone’s talking about.”
Husband: “Okay.” Shoulders slumped, avoiding eye contact.
You feel sorry for the guy for about a half a second, but not too much because we all know she didn’t just turn into Mrs. B-otch overnight.
Then there’s that adorable couple married for forty-plus years. There isn’t a little box on the table, no over-priced bottle of Champagne crowding them. Sweet tea fills their glasses. Even so, romance encircles them like a halo of bursting love. They have already done the Valentine phases, and they’ve made it through full-circle. Boy, do they have romance stories to tell, if they could only find someone to listen.
I’m not saying all relationships go through these phases of Valentine’s Day rituals. There are couples out there that get more romantic with every passing year. Like the relationships we write about. 🙂
You may say Lori, what does any of this have to do with writing romance? I say—everything. When you write historical, you research the time period. When you write mystery, you research true crime.
When you write Romance, I suggest you research love. It’s not hard. Just open your eyes and look around. You can learn a lot about relationships by doing a little people watching.
Happy Valentine’s Day Romance Lovers and Always Remember to Dream Big!