Saint Valentine, patron saint of love, lovers, beekeepers, epilepsy, fainting, plague, and travelers. He was one busy dude.
Since this week included Valentine’s Day and I’m writing a romance, I was thinking about romance; the ways it can be defined, the different meanings, and how those representations have changed for me over the years. Yeah, yeah, I’m a little late for a Valentine’s Day post.
I don’t remember thinking about romance or Valentine’s Day as a kid, certainly it wasn’t the standard it has become for each child to come to class with a card for each classmate and a candy stuck into each one. I don’t remember it being in our home, either. My parents were very practical people, something like buying a heart shaped box of chocolates would have sent my father up on his political soap box to deliver a long, loud lecture–possibly pulling out the Encyclopedia Brittanica for back up and illustrations. Not that he never bought my mother flowers or gifts (not regularly, but it happened), but the idea of being expected to do so because of a Saint, or worse, Hallmark, was just the type of thing to make his head explode.
When I was a teenager, oh I loved all that shit. Pretending I didn’t, of course. But really, what teenaged girl doesn’t love gifts of chocolates, flowers, white teddy bears with red ribbons, maybe a splinter of a gold charm that must surely mean dedication, pledges of undying adoration from anonymous sources? Trust me, they all love it, or some variation. Vegan, hemp wearing girlfriend? Organic fair trade chocolates. Or maybe a bong with a rose painted on it, put Sugar Magnolia on the iPod. Even the girls wearing thick black eyeliner to match flat-died black hair, wearing spikes around their neck. Stick a black ribbon around the damned box, pierce the teddy bear’s tongue and they’ll be certain you really, truly “get” them.
Romance as an adult, though. That changes. And I’m not talking about secksy times. It means different things to different people. I focus on women because I’ve got girly bits. I have to say one of the top three romantic moments I ever experienced with Husband was the first time he insisted I take my pants off so he could iron them. Strange? Certainly. But it represented something. After eleventy billion years together, though, it isn’t quite the same moment. I can identify and create romance inside my head that work for a manuscript, the off balance rush of hormones in overdrive and falling in love. Between Husband and I, we were never big on “traditional,” commercial romantic moments. As life got busier and more complex, the untraditional romantic moments have gotten lost in the shuffle. Maybe this is the stage where it would be nice to have the traditional, commercial moments acknowledged, if only to counteract the effects of SAD and sick kiddo. I find myself wondering what romance means at this stage, with frenetic days of each of us running our separate wheels inside of one cage. A bonus slice of carrot? Fresh shavings?
I don’t know, but I’m also wondering if Flower Child will notice if I steal one of the chocolates from the box I bought her. Probably not, so I won’t.
What does romance mean to you?