What romance means, first and foremost, to most women and girls is love. And strictly speaking, it’s the pursuit of and hanging on to, the love of a man. It’s always a wonderful time in our lives when our hero, at last, walks through the door, dashes up the staircase or swings in on a vine to swoop us, his own true love, into his arms. That definition of romance will never die and shouldn’t. But perhaps we can expand the definition of romance a little. Okay, maybe a lot. In my opinion one of the true and lasting methods of coping with life’s problems, large and small, is to romantasize them. Let me illustrate.
You know those little clear stickers they put in car windows with the letters AWD? I realize what it means; all wheel drive. But I’ve decided that it could mean something else and in my mind it does; attractive woman driving. That’s my favorite, but awesome, adventerous, assertive, agreeable or acclaimed could also be used. So what I’ve done here is I’ve “romanced” the term. Pretty cool, huh? Looking at that sticker brings a smile now where formerly it meant little. I already expected all my wheels to drive anyway.
Recently I listened to a popular radio talk show host who came on the air all huffing and puffing about a tangle she’d just had with someone. After grousing about it for a bit she remarked that she’d found a way to cope with this person and all the other odious people in her life. Henceforth she’d imagine herself the heroine in a romantic novel and take on the noble characteristics of that woman, dealing with each situation in like manner. So there, you brute! She’d hold her head high, snuggle into her midnight blue velvet cape, and struggle valiantly just as, perhaps, Scarlett O’Hara did when fighting for Tara or like Elizabeth Bennett who stood up and gave Mr. D’Arcy a thing or two to think about. How romantic can you get? That talk show host had resolved to cope by romancng this part of her life. Bravo!
Sometimes we have to step back from our everyday life and see it through other eyes. My sister visited last spring and I was quite stressed that I hadn’t been able to finish painting our walk-in pantry in time for her arrival. The pantry is an old thing and hadn’t been touched with roller or brush for twenty five years I’m ashamed to say. But she thought it was wonderful. The cupboards and walls, which I’d just managed to get done, were in a color and texture she loved. The open shelves at the far end of the pantry sparked her imagination. Standing back she gave it a good bit of concentration then offered advice on how to decorate and even leant a hand with the rest of the painting. She’d put some charm and romance into the effort and now that it’s finished I can’t walk through it without thinking of her.
I have to include in my expanded definition of romance the four seasons. In the spring I plant my annuals unevenly so they’ll grow as they please or go charmingly astray along a path or patio border. When the vegetables go into the garden I always hope the pumpkin vines will run rampant and we’ll find hidden globules of orange plumpness under the gigantic dark green leaves in the fall. Last year as my husband and I tramped through the rows of tomatoes, pulling them up before first frost, I noticed a distinct clump of leaves and debri between two plants. When I got nearer a little field mouse dropped from the nest and scurried away into the green bean bushes. Poking her head out at intervals, she seemed determined to return to the nest, now on the ground. We shooed her a couple of times, but she kept returning. Stopping, then, to watch we saw her run to that spot in the ground and dig frantically. In seconds she had the tiny pink body of her baby in her paws and ran pell mell back into the green bean bushes. Now was that a brave little mouse or what? The power and romance of a mother’s sacrificial love can never be underestimated!
No woman of my acquaintence has ever been completley happy with her looks. That discontent pervades in our image driven culture and has fueled a billion dollar industry in cosmetics, hair care, weight loss programs, and plastic surgery. But would it be so awful if we began to love the imperfections in our sisters? Put the best possible spin on an extra ten pounds, a less than brilliant smile, or a series of very bad hair days? It’s what character is all about; like those memorable icons in a Dickens novel. Yeah, I’ll be Esther from Bleak House and you can be Belle from A Christmas Carol. How does that sound? We’ll look at each other through sepia tones and toss our heads and hug each other when the joys and sorrows of life hit.
So, maybe you’re still waiting for your true love to swing in on a vine to claim you, or maybe he’s been alongside you for years. But your life can be full of romance no matter. It’s all in how you look at it. So get out your rose colored glasses and romance your life. It really does make a difference.
Image: digitalart http://www.freedigitalart.com/