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Where Did Romance Go ?

by Ian McNeice

A few months ago I had a notion for a few days that maybe, just maybe romance had gone and vanished for good. Maybe I was having an off day, who knows. But it gave me the notion to think about the subject of romance and put pen to paper (well keyboard actually).

Is love and romance dead do you think? I don't think so at all. After pondering the question I came to the decision that romance must be alive and well and living in all of us, it may just be hiding. Well most of us anyway. It is a question that women may be accused of asking more than men. But I know a lot of men who would ask the same question. Listen to me when I say romance is not dead; even if it can appear to be dead some days. The question is, why do we think its has gone?

The answer of course does depend on what you mean by romance. Romance is many different things to many different people. It can mean kissing in the rain, it can mean holding a door open, showing respect, buying flowers, moving a seat, supporting an arm, making a Valentines card, creating surprises for your loved one, even helping them when they are in need, but it generally relates directly to affection and togetherness. Romance is the art of demonstrating your feelings in an outward fashion and making someone feel special. You wont be romantic to someone you dont want romance with, so it is a coming together of two like minded people that allows romance to flourish.

Why do we think that love and romance have gone? This is most obviously demonstrated in a passionless world where sex has become main stream. Sex of course is not romance. Sex is exactly that, sex. It may be part of romance, it may be integral to love and a relationship, but romance is something altogether different. Romance appears to have vanished in our lives because people are so busy, so directional, so needy for the things that assist them in functioning. In other words, our lives are quite selfish really. We may not like to admit it, but we do first, what helps ourselves, and then secondly we help others. With romance, your own needs are subjugated by your own free will to allow for the benefit of your chosen partner.

Men are often accused of not being romantic, and being too practical instead. That may be true yes, but it is not fair on men to say that all the time. The practicality of men often belies their romantic nature. By fixing something up, be repairing , mending, doing, helping, thats often a man showing consideration , effort, attention, affection and yes, ladies, romance! The problem is, the lady doesnt always see it that way. Covered all day in oil in the yard is not romantic, except perhaps in a movie or two. Arguing with a waiter or in a shop is not assisting, it is being belligerent and rude and therefore not romantic in the least. However do try and understand that a man thinks that if he is assisting or helping, he is being considerate.

When considering love and romance, romance is about effort, about winning favor, about deserving love, about respect. One only needs to read Chaucers The Knights Tale to read a full description on the concept of romance. What I am arguing is that if you want to be romantic, you need to understand what it is to be romantic. Does it mean you need to watch French cinema, read romantic novels, listen to romantic music. Maybe yes it does! Our world can be a soulless world, and more often that not romance is missing from our daily lives. But it neednt be so. I argue that if you are willing and able to relearn romance for yourself, then you can begin to practise it. Romance is not a definite art from. Just because the person you're with buys you a rose, doesnt make them any more romantic. But maybe it is a romantic gesture if it is spontaneous.

The largest arrangement of red roses, the most expensive seat at the opera, the most luxurious car in the lot are not romantic, especially when they are regularly provided. Romance is about small thoughts and expression, about giving and feeling, about caring for someone and wanting to show someone how special they are. Its about the details, about the small things in life that you put a lot of attention into especially to make someone elses life better on one way or another. Now that is romance.

Valentines day is a commercial day we know but I often think it is sad on 14th February each year when I see so many people pacing along after work clutching expensive roses and cards. It is nice to show you love someone, but if this is the only day in a year you do so then where did the romance go? Every day is a day to buy and send flowers, every day is a day to make someone a hand made card, a scribbled note, asingle flower from the garden, a note on the pillow, a surprise breakfast, a surprise outing, even just a phone call when it's needed. That, my friend, is romance (2)

Christmas Day Romance at ground zero blossoms into marriage

A romance that began with a Christmas Day massage at ground zero blossomed into marriage, with the couple tying the knot aboard a ship that transported terrorism victims on September 11.

Dawna LoPiccolo and John Mraz, who met when she massaged the exhausted firefighter amid the ruins of the World Trade Centre, said "I do" on Friday on the bow of the Spirit of New Jersey.

For the afternoon ceremony, the ship was filled with hundreds of wedding guests, including captains who helped pilot the vessels that carried 8,500 people to New Jersey after they fled the attack site.

LoPiccolo and Mraz were married by the Reverend Lynn Antilla, who had volunteered as a spiritual counsellor at ground zero.

"There are no words to describe the pain, the sorrow," of Christmas at ground zero, the pastor told friends and family members. "But there are also no words to describe the sacrifice and the love of people like Dawna and John."

With tears on their cheeks, the couple embraced his seven-year-old son, John James, and her three-year-old daughter, Jillian.

The newlyweds then sailed down the Hudson, releasing two white doves as they passed ground zero. When the Spirit of New Jersey reached the Statue of Liberty, the wedding cake was cut and champagne toasts offered.

LoPiccolo and Mraz met in a wood shack at ground zero where firefighters lined up for massages.

Mraz, who lost 25 firefighter friends, was in a line of rescue workers waiting for the volunteering physical therapist.

"It was cold, and I rubbed his shoulders, his hands. I said, 'Don't worry, sweetie,"' she recalled in May, after they were engaged.

Then, before returning to work, "he gave me this hug that knocked my socks off!" she said.

On her hardhat, he scribbled, "It was worth the wait," and signed it "John, Engine 248."

The 42-year-old firefighter, who lost his wife of 19 years last year, said he "wasn't out looking for anybody". But three days after he met LoPiccolo, 35, he phoned another firefighter who knew her.

Their first date, just after the New Year, lasted 11 hours.

Said Mraz just after they were engaged: "It was like I knew her my whole life, like I knew her from a past life. She is my angel of the ashes."

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