Writing about perfume the other day has made me think of romance. It’s not completely out of left field. Fragrance, of all kinds, is an important part of romance. Yet there’s so much more. And for everyone, it’s different. Before we get into it, though, you’ve got to answer my question:
Are you romantic?
Which, by the way, is not just a question for my female readers. I know a lot of men who are romantic. Some, even more romantic than women. So, are you? And what’s your idea of romance?
Hang on for just one minute. First let’s see what Wikipedia says: “Romance or romantic usually refers to romance (love), love emphasizing emotion over libido.” I agree with that. Romance and sex are two very different things. Which often causes problems between men and women. We’ve all been there once or twice.
It may, however, also refer to literature, music, poetry, and even language. Frankly, you could ask me to take out your garbage in Spanish or Italian and I think I’d swoon. Most women probably feel the same way. I’m not sure about men. I suppose it would have a lot to do with who was doing the asking. For me, it’s enough to hear the language being spoken. At least initially.
I guess that means I’m romantic. Don’t be frightened. Don’t run off. When I say I’m romantic, it’s not cloyingly so. My idea of happiness is absolutely, positively NOT living inside a Hallmark Valentine card. What I’m saying is, I have a ‘soft’ side. It’s nice to come home after a hard day, to find a hot bath drawn and waiting for you. Filled with aromatic oils. Or brimming over with bubbles. And with flickering candles and a glass of wine already there, on the side of the tub. Not every day. Once in a while. When you really need it. And even nicer than the bath, is having a man who figured it out.
Same with flowers. One, single flower (even a buttercup), left on my pillow, or even beside my glass of morning orange juice, means more than a lavish and extravagant bouquet. The flower was hand-picked and carried home.
Gestures. It’s gestures I’m talking about. Thoughtful gestures. I find them very romantic.
Sharing the silence can also be romantic. Being with someone you are so comfortable with, words aren’t necessary all the time. I just think it says a lot about your relationship; and how a glance, a smile, a shrug can communicate as much, if not more, than most conversations.
By now you must be waiting to hear me say I find Paris and Venice two of the most romantic cities in the world. I’d be lying if I said otherwise. My mother always dreamed of drifting along a Venetian canal, being serenaded by a gondolier. “O Sole Mio”, you know. She and my dad got there. Me, too, in fact. Sorry, it was corny. Foul-smelling, as well. I did find the city romantic. It’s a tiny, little jewel; albeit one that’s about to sink. But lovely, nonetheless. With a history that’s still alive. You feel it everywhere. And as stories go, theirs is one of the most romantic. At least I think so.
Most of Europe is the same, for me. I think it’s the architecture. I just love the beautiful old buildings. They look like they stepped out of the pages of your favourite fairy tale. The cobblestones. The old street lanterns, so dimly lit. Looks like candlelight. Couples strolling arm in arm. It is magical. If you’re not in love, you want to be.
There is another city I’ve visited that makes you yearn to be there with a lover. Udaipur, in the state of Rajasthan. In India. Otherwise known as the City of Lakes. It reminded me of Venice, without the bad smells. There is a hotel there, a converted Palace, that sits right in the middle of Lake Pichola. It’s called The Lake Palace Hotel. I was lucky enough to stay there.
The exterior is bright, sparkling white; and it’s draped in bougainvillea. The only way to get to it, is by boat. Which, in itself, in spectacular. When you arrive, flower petals fall all round you, from above. Every square inch of the place is beautiful. My favourite spot was a rooftop restaurant, completely open-air. It’s a private dining room, you can reserve. For a party. Or simply for two.
One day I’ll go back there. I won’t be alone. And I’m sorry. I won’t be blogging.