How womantic!

I’m all for romance. But Valentine’s Day itself…meh. Something inside me rebels at the directive to be romantic on a specific day. I suppose it’s a nice excuse to get a babysitter and go for an outing but who really needs an excuse?

The other thing that’s a turn-off for me is the torrent of commercial messages telling us exactly how we should be romantic. So many of them leave me cold! For the record (in case Someone is reading this) I’ve nothing against simple sensual pleasures like flowers or chocolate. There’s no such thing as too many flowers or too much chocolate! But so much of what is touted as romantic seems trivializing or hopelessly generic. And when did cell phones become an acceptable Valentine’s gift? I’d as soon have the proverbial frying pan.

What I find romantic are things that are personal. A back rub after a bad writing day. Jewelry that is either modern and artistic, or antique in feel, like the Wedgewood pendant my husband (similar to the one shown) gave me when he saw how much I like blue jasperware.

I suspect it’s hard for a lot of modern men to go out on a limb and do something risky and original. Maybe that’s one of the draws of historical romance: the idea of a hero who will express his feelings in an eloquent and personal way. I don’t know if the average male during the Regency was really any more romantic than the modern one, but just think of the torrid letter Captain Wentworth writes to Anne in PERSUASION:

“I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own, than when you almost broke it eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you.”

Sigh… Watch me collapse in a puddle!

So how about you? How do you feel about the conventional trappings of romance? What do you find romantic, in real life or in fiction?


About Elena Greene

Elena Greene grew up reading anything she could lay her hands on, including her mother's Georgette Heyer novels. She also enjoyed writing but decided to pursue a more practical career in software engineering. Fate intervened when she was sent on a three year international assignment to England, where she was inspired to start writing romances set in the Regency. Her books have won the National Readers' Choice Award, the Desert Rose Golden Quill and the Colorado Romance Writers' Award of Excellence. Her Super Regency, LADY DEARING'S MASQUERADE, won RT Book Club's award for Best Regency Romance of 2005 and made the Kindle Top 100 list in 2011. When not writing, Elena enjoys swimming, cooking, meditation, playing the piano, volunteer work and craft projects. She lives in upstate New York with her two daughters and more yarn, wire and beads than she would like to admit.
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18 Responses to How womantic!

  1. Deb Marlowe says:

    Ah, I just love that letter. Sigh.

    I agree, Elena. Nothing is more romantic than a man who pays attention. Especially since it often seems such a challenge to our y-chromosomed mates! Yours was so sweet to get you the Wedgewood pendant!

  2. Diane Gaston says:

    I don’t consider myself a very good gift giver, so I can hardly fault my husband for not being one. (although he is worse than me)

    So I understand why people succumb to the commercial gift, the heart shaped pendant I just saw advertised from Penney’s. Because they just don’t know what makes a good gift.

    I like to mark Valentine’s day with a card to my husband, but that’s about it.

  3. I confess that in my youth, I was a sucker for all the hearts and flowers of Valentine’s Day and was quite put out the year that my ex-sweetie pie wanted to go to Benihana of Tokyo. Now that I’m older and wiser, I realize that it’s less about the trappings and all about just showing your love, even if its in little ways. And sometimes what we find romantic, men find corny or silly. Its about embracing what your loved one finds romantic. Looking back on it now, I should have gone to Benihana of Tokyo.

  4. Elena Greene says:

    Diane, I know what you mean and I didn’t mean to say that the popular commercial gifts don’t come with real sentiment.

    Our own celebration used to be just a nice dinner & wine at home (restaurants get too crowded at Valentine’s.)

    Now of course the kids have taken over the holiday. They are excited about the school parties, of course, and then we do an all pink meal at home.

  5. Diane Gaston says:

    Diane, I know what you mean and I didn’t mean to say that the popular commercial gifts don’t come with real sentiment.

    Oh, I know, Elena. Chalk it up to my total envy that your husband gave you such a perfect, personal gift. (I want your pendant!)

    Now of course the kids have taken over the holiday. They are excited about the school parties, of course, and then we do an all pink meal at home.

    Your pink meal idea is so creative! I love this tradition and I’ll bet your children will remember this their whole lives. This is truly what Valentine’s Day is about, a loving, memorable celebration.

  6. Diane Gaston says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Georgie Lee says:

    Captain Wentwroth’s letter is so moving. My husband writes very heartfelt letters to me when he gives me cards. I cherish these and find them more romantic than any box of chocolate.

  8. Elena, that Wedgewood pendant is beautiful!! *cough cough* Love the idea of a pink meal. Can Ammanda and my daughter be guests at your home tomorrow?

    We’ve never been into the holiday much right from the beginning. Once in a while, one of us will give the other a card. I’ve always made a card by hand for my daughter with whatever’s at the top of my head then. This is the first year, she’s had gifts. 🙂

    Last year, due to my presence on romance author blogs and boards, it was fun. This year, I’ve been much more into it on the same blog and boards. It’s been more of a prolonged celebration of romance, of reading, and of my outing myself as a romance reader and writer.

  9. Cara King says:

    My husband writes very heartfelt letters to me when he gives me cards.

    Todd writes very nice cards too, Georgie! For which I count myself lucky.

    As to gifts… Unique gifts that show that someone understands you are definitely the best (on any occasion). But I think just taking the effort to remember to get a card or flowers or chocolates is also meaningful…if only to say “no, I don’t take you for granted…”

    I think Valentine’s Day is rather like Father’s Day or Secretary’s Day in that it reminds us to pay attention at least one day a year…in this case, to one’s romantic relationship (if one has one). Makes it more likely that one dresses up and has an elegant meal (either at home or out) at least once a year… 😉

    Though, for whatever reason, Todd’s often away on Valentine’s Day. He will be again tomorrow, so I’m going to a play with a friend instead! 🙂


  10. I do love that pendant, Elena! And can i come to your pink dinner? 🙂

    I think you’re right, Cara, that Valentine’s Day is a reminder to just–remember. And for the card companies and jewelry stores to make money, of course. 🙂 I enjoy the traditional stuff, roses (pink’s my fave), chocolates, poetry. I’m kind of picky about jewelry, but if they got that right it would be BIG plus!

  11. doglady says:

    I used to like Valentine’s Day until I started working at Wal-Mart. If I never see another pink cookie, tart, cupcake or cake again it will be too soon! I have come home covered in pink icing the last three days. My dogs are always happy to see me when I come home wearing icing.

    My DH always wrote such great romantic and funny letters and cards. I have them all in a scrapbook so I will probably settle down with the Godiva’s my brother sent me,enjoy the roses that will arrive at work tomorrow and read through my letters tomorrow nite. He always bought such great gifts. I still have the very first Valentine’s gift he bought me when we were dating – a pair of tiger eye heart shaped earrings and a patchwork teddy bear (he knew I loved quilts.)

  12. Diane Gaston says:

    Sigh, doglady! Your husband wins the Valentine’s Day prize. I can just see him smiling down on you when you reread his loving words.

  13. Elena Greene says:

    Doglady, your stories choke me up, too.

    Keira and Ammanda, you and anyone else are welcome to join us for our pink dinner. I promise strawberry cheesecake for dessert and not a single Precious Moments figure in sight. 🙂

  14. “I promise strawberry cheesecake for dessert and not a single Precious Moments figure in sight. :)”

    Yum! Cheesecake. And no Precious Moments! If someone got me that figurine for V Day, I might have to break it over their head. 🙂 A friend of a friend actually got married at the Precious Moments “Wedding Island” chapel in Missouri. And my friend got to be a bridesmaid, lucky her (not!)

  15. doglady says:

    Oh good grief, Amanda! Don’t tell me there is a Precious Moments Chapel!EEEEK!

  16. Cara King says:

    Speaking of Precious Moments, I had a college roommate who had a collection of those figurines…and she had them displayed atop her dresser, with all the cute little signs (e.g. “Love At First Sight” or whatever) propped in front of the figures.

    My friend Cate and I detested those figures…and so Cate would always secretly switch the signs so that they had naughty implications… But my sweet innocent roommate never caught on, and I guess just thought they kept blowing down and being put back up in the wrong order…


  17. Elena Greene says:

    OMG, a whole Precious Moments Chapel???!!!! I’d have to be drinking heavily to tolerate being there for more than a few minutes… And LOL on that roommate, Cara!

  18. Santa says:

    I’ve read Wentworth’s letter dozens of times and it still makes me sit up straight in my seat, lean forward, wait for her response. Sigh!

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