Monday, April 15, 2013

Evolution of Romance

Lets go back in time...back to when I was in the 7th grade and it was a Friday night.  There was a dance after that evening's football game and I was dateless.  So while the sounds of the announcers blared over the speakers on that cool fall night, I was sitting on a swing on the playground nearby with two suitors before me.

Guy 1 and Guy 2 were buddies of mine and had been for years.  I was just beginning to realize the perks of feminine charm (no pun intended even though those perks came courtesy of my ever growing chest). Anyway, I decided I would let one of them take me to the dance.  Whomever brought me back a gift first got to spend their money to buy my $2 ticket into the dance.  (yes I was a cheap ass who even then!)

It was no more than 20 minutes later when Guy 1 can back with a bouquet of flowers in his hand.  They still had dirt hanging on the roots where he had torn them out of a flowerbed.  It wasn't until a long time later I found out he took them from another friend's house....sorry Melinda for that!  Anyway, Guy 2 soon followed with some candy from the convenient store he'd walked to over a mile and a half round trip (which was way far for a 7th grader). In the end the lucky guy was #1 for the simple fact that he moved faster.  Isn't that always the case.  The one that moves fastest gets the prize.

Fast forward twenty years and I can tell you that moving fast isn't always best.  Not by a long shot.  See, in these last twenty years I have had a crush on nearly every boy in my class or high school (not saying much since my graduating class was 23, but still).  I've been married and divorced twice, thought the fastest way to learn someone's true intentions was to give them what they want and see if they stick around.... but in the end, moving fast is like TNT....once it ignites, the bang is loud and bright, and all you are left with is a pile of broken pieces and ash.

The thing I'm learning now is that real romance is in the woo-ing, in the open dialogue, and not hiding behind walls or illusions or worse ... sex.  Maybe my approach all that long ago was twisted, but there was some truth into letting those boys fight for my hand.  Because it is worth fighting for, worth waiting for....my hand, my smile, my hips, my hugs, my boobs, and other bits.  But mostly my love and affection.  It's worth me taking down the wall I've built around me.

In the process of writing about women finding real love (even if it's fictional), I am learning what that really means.  I married my first husband because I thought that is what I was supposed to do as a small town girl.  He was my college sweetheart and I thought that was what life was .... marry that sweetheart and have babies and cope with life as it came.  We were young and both made very ignorant choices at times.  It was for the best when I left, knowing what I had was not that special kind of love that made a marriage last - not like what my grandparents had.

Husband #2 came along a few years later, after a few short term, and one longer, relationships.  #2 was charming, sociable, and financially stable. He was self-assured and had a higher standard than I'd previously been with.  I loved it, I felt I was finally living up to my potential.  We weren't rich by any means, but it was nice to not have to worry which bill I'd have to pay late that month. It wasn't until well after he walked out that I realized he was playing a part in the 'perfect family'.  Lesson learned - perfect doesn't exist.

Fast forward to another 3 years and I am single again, having ended a two year relationship.  In hindsight, I wish I wouldn't have rushed into it just as I have so many of the others that crashed and burned.  Not that my ex is a bad guy, we just seemed to be walking on paths that were gradually moving away from each other.

So while I kept looking over as we drifted apart, and wondered why I didn't move forward, I came to see just how much love and romance have evolved in my life.  From clapping my hands and arrogantly demanding a man to 'entertain me' to realizing that maybe the best things really are slow and steady and worth not rushing headlong into.

Don't get me wrong, fire and passion are what makes me write and I LOVE it!  But I'm also realizing that a strong, steady fire is much more gratifying than a Ka-Boom kind of love - maybe lust is a better word here.  Maybe, just maybe, this romance writer really is clueless about what it takes to make it work in real life.  Like they say 'those that can't do, teach'....or in this case 'write'.

While some of us modern women long for the kind of relationships that the feminists would scream about, love and lust will evolve even more.  Don't get me wrong - I am an independent woman who rules her roost, I've worn the pants in most of my relationships (which isn't a good thing at all).  It would be nice to find a partner to lean on, to work WITH, who really is working toward the same 'thing' I am.

It would be nice to be that 'Leave-it-to-Beaver' kind of wife who takes care of the house and my son, and then have the passion of the sexiest, steamiest novels around.  The balance of good girl/bad girl, of saint and sinner.  It's that dichotomy that gets me stuck every time.  Wanting, being, having it all.

At the end of the day, I want a love like my grandparents.  A love based on deep friendship, understanding, acceptance, and commitment.  Is there more for me to learn about love? Absolutely.  Do I think my writing will not only help me figure it out but guide other romantics-at-heart?  Yep.

When everything is said and done I think that evolving romance is an ever-changing realm of possibilities.  Whether it's fresh cut roses, candlelight, candy, a look, a touch, a kiss, a good conversation...or flowers that still have their dirty roots. We are worth the effort, the wait, the steady fire, and the unconditional love that doesn't just have to exist on paper.

I hope as this year unfolds more that you will follow your hearts, as I will be following mine wherever it leads.