Friday, February 10, 2012

Many Flavors of Romance

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, lots of folks are thinking about romance these days. All sorts of gift anxiety going on out there, whether it's what to get a spouse or what's appropriate for a new significant other.

All the romance talk has me thinking about romance in general and, more specifically, what people consider romantic. I'll freely admit, I'm not girly when it comes to romance. The joke around my house is that a man wanting to propose to me would be better served offering me a new laptop computer than a ring. It's a joke that's funny because it's true; I hate wearing rings, but I'll always take a new computer.

I like gifts that are specific and meaningful. Roses and candy are nice and all, but surprise me by cleaning my bathroom and making me a nice dinner, and I'm yours.

I think some of my attitude shows up in my books. My heroes and heroines aren't big into fancy dinners, big bouquets or roses or expensive jewelry. For them, a romantic gesture might be a foot rub after a long hike through the woods in an attempt to avoid a killer hunting them. Or surprising a partner with a burger and shake in the car on a stakeout.

So what about you? Are you a traditional romantic? Or a quirky one like me? What's your ideal romantic gesture?


Carla Swafford said...

That got me to thinking, Paula. In all the books I've written, I've never had the hero bring flowers or candy to the heroine. LOL! I guess I don't do the the traditional.

In Circle of Desire, when my heroine gives herself up to the bad guys to protect the hero from being captured, that's one of the bigger romantic gestures they did.

Naima Simone said...

LOL! Amen on the bathroom cleaning! A man does that and he wouldn't even have to take a bullet for me! Hint! Hint! Nudge! Nudge, Hubby! I'm like you, Paula, unconventional in the romance department. Give me a gift card to BAM and a foot rub rather than flowers and candy anyday! Happy early Valentine's Day!

Paula said...

In my ebook CODE NAME: WILLOW, there's a scene where the heroine's in the bad guy's hands, but she's wired for sound. She can't hear the hero but he can hear her. And just knowing he's listening to her gives her strength. She's able to keep her head, despite being terrified, so that she can give the hero subtle clues about where to find her. I loved that scene. To me, that was deeply romantic, because it was about trust and soul-deep communication.

In another of my ebooks, PLAYING DEAD IN DIXIE, the hero's father is disabled by a stroke. He's only barely able to get around on his own, and one arm is virtually useless. So when the bad guy strikes while the heroine is alone with the hero's father, she puts herself on the line to get him to safety, taking big chances when she'd have been able to get away much more easily on her own. For this particular character, whose life has been one long ramble, never stopping in any place long enough to put down roots, putting herself on the line to help someone else that way is a big step toward putting down roots. She's made a rule to never get involved, but here she is getting involved in a huge way.

There are bigger "romantic" scenes in the book, that that one act said more about the evolution of the heroine that almost any other scene.

Paula said...

If a man would give me a neck rub right now, there's not much I wouldn't do for him.

For that matter, if a woman gave me a neck rub right now... ;)

Louisa Cornell said...

I love those odd little gestures that only mean something between two people. For a guy who HATES eggs, I mean hates the sight and smell of them, to make them for his woman because she loves them. For a gal who is a cat person to give her guy's dog a bath. For a guy who loves heavy metal to buy tickets to a performance of Mozart or an opera and to dress up to take his lady in spite of the fact he just knows his ears are going to curl up and die listening to it. Those things that make two people look at each other and smile and no one else in the room knows why.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Every year for Valentine's, my husband gets a complete physical. Yep, no jewelry, candy, or flowers-instead the gift of knowing he cares enough for me to be sure he will be with me for many years to come.

Cari Hislop said...

Your post brought to mind
Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman.

The book totally changed my life and how I love other people. If you've never heard of it, he basically breaks down the five main ways we show or feel loved and then gives real examples (he's a relationship counselor) of how he helped other people save their relationships. Once we know how we need to feel loved and how our loved ones need to feel loved it transforms our relationships. I grew up thinking my mother hated me because her love language (and she was trying to show her love) is service. She shows her love by cooking and cleaning. My love language is words of affirmation! I didn't get any words of affirmation from my parents growing up. It's amazing how understanding something so simple, yet profound can change one's life.

When I write, love languages often end up in my stories. It's the greatest miscommunication...two people can love each other and be trying to say it with all their hearts...yet neither feels the other person's love because it's not their language. It's like an English speaker falling in love with a Russian speaker and they keep trying to speak their own languages until they end up heartbroken going their separate ways.

Chris Bailey said...

Good question, Paula. Gifts of flowers are lovely, but, like sappy pre-printed cards, they (sadly) always strike me as unimaginative. Last minute. Thoughtless. A clean bathroom? That's something a real prince would do!