Thursday, February 14, 2008

Love Is In The Air!

After a quick search on Wikipedia, it seems that the ancient Saints going by the name Valentine had naught to do with courtly love. So our modern romantic Valentines’ day is a bit of a misnomer. The link with romance might have its roots in the fact that February 15th was celebrated as a fertility rite in some cultures.

For example, on February 15th in ancient Rome, noble youths would run naked through the city striking those they met with shaggy thongs. (Now they just run you down with their mopeds!) Women of rank would get in the way and hold out their hand to be struck believing it helped them become pregnant. (Yep--naked Italian guys are good at that!)

The romantic traditions we now associate with Valentines’ day were probably born in 1382 when Geoffrey Chaucer wrote his poem Parlement of Foules to celebrate the first anniversary of the engagement of Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia:

For this was on seynt Volantynys day
Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese
his make [mate].

The ancient tradition Chaucer appears to have invented then took on a life of its own, becoming the celebration of romantic love we know today.

As we on Title Magic spend most of our time dreaming up romantic situations for our characters, we thought today we’d look a little closer to home for romantic moments from our own lives.

Anitra has a lovely story about a boyfriend at school that is sure to make you smile:

I guess the most romantic thing was when my boyfriend would put little notes in things, like in my lunch bag. He would put a slip of paper (like a fortune cookie) that said things like: I love you. I melt when you smile. You rock me better than Metalica (a heavy metal band he really liked). Once he had a series of them that when strung together made a poem--it was very sweet. I still think of him to this day, especially when I get fortune cookies.

Trish has a cute story about her thoughtful husband. (Who wouldn’t love a man who leaves you candy bars!):

This is a really simple story, but it was so cute. One day a few years ago, I went out to my car to go to work. When I looked in the driver's seat, however, there was a little stuffed puppy holding a 3 Musketeers bar, my favorite candy bar. My husband had put them in my car when he'd come home from work the evening before. That made me smile all day, and I still have the puppy though the candy bar is long gone. :)

Lexie remembers back to early days when she was dating her husband:

Let's see...the most romantic thing my husband has ever done...when we were dating, he did various military training stints. He drove, along with a VMI buddy, from El Paso, Texas to Roanoke, Virginia without stopping other than for drive-thrus. When he arrived, he threw pebbles at my dorm window. He must have been exhausted, because he actually woke the girl below --from China, whose English wasn't so good!

Evonne has a more practical take on Valentines’ day!

Romance doesn’t have to be about red roses, though they’re nice too!
I always say that one of the most memorable things a Significant Other ever did was buy me a saucepan. Something dreadful happened to my favorite pan – it may have been my only pan. We were very young, he was still a student and I was in my first job. I was working in a wonderful old building in the middle of a park – no shops for miles. He had a summer job in a posh shop in the West End of London, selling audio equipment. I asked him, without much hope, to get me a replacement. I was over the moon, much to the amusement of all our friends, when he arrived home with exactly what I had asked for. It wasn’t about the saucepan – it was about the fact that he had listened and taken the time and trouble to go looking, in his lunch hour, for the right thing. Of course, the fact that he was very fond of his food might have had something to do with it too!

Savanna wasn’t about to let the lack of a significant other spoil the night for her:

One of my best valentine's day celebrations happened when a girlfriend and I arranged a party at an apartment clubhouse. We were both without a boyfriend and knew a lot of other friends in the same romance-deprived boat. We decorated, had everyone bring their favorite foods and music. We all had an absolute blast being with each other that night. The food was great, the dancing even better. It was disco fever valentine-style. Everyone let loose with lots of laughter and lots of hugs. Those of us who loved to dance, it was our night, all night. I'll never forget it, and will always treasure that valentine's day.

Happy Valentine's Day, Savanna

For someone who claims not to be a romantic, Mel has a lovely romantic moment to share with us:

The hubby and I aren't the most romantic couple on the planet. Most of it is my fault. I figure flowers die and I make my own jewelry, so why expect him to bother with all of that? Last year, though, we decided to get married for our tenth anniversary. He took me to Gatlinburg, TN where we hunted down a justice of the peace. We said our vows with Matlock playing in the background and snagged a cabin in the mountains where we watched it snow from the hot tub on the porch. It was beautiful. Chances are, we'll never be that romantic again. But we'll always be that happy.

Finally I come to myself. Mine is a romantic moment in the making!

I feel rather sheepish admitting this, as I’m a romance writer. But I’m not the romantic in my relationship, my husband is. He’s the one who always remembers our wedding anniversary. I’m the one sneaking out to buy a card at the last minute. This year is our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. My darling husband has secretly (or not so secretly because he left the search window open on the computer) found a hotel near the place we met, so we can return to the scene and relive the memories of our first meeting. There is one snag. Our first meeting was on a remote Scottish island! Not that I dislike remote Scottish islands, but I’d rather have a weekend break in Edinburgh. It still takes us across the border into Scotland, so honor should be satisfied. I think we’ll go for the compromise arrangement: a day on the island of Millport and the rest of the long weekend in Edinburgh. Marriage is all about compromise after all!

Hope you enjoyed sharing our romantic moments on Valentines’ day. We’d love to hear yours!

Happy Valentines’ Day from all of us!


Evonne Wareham said...

Helen - I love the picture!!!

Anitra Lynn McLeod said...

Me too on that picture--that is sooooo cute! I loved all the stories --great idea, Helen!

Savanna Kougar said...

Oh, Helen, that was fantastic. Everyone's story is poignant in its own way. My little heart is all pitty pat.
And what timing, I was just doing a bit of research on Lupercalia, the roman festival you mentioned. Hey, who wouldn't luv a 'running of the bulls -- naked men without the naked bulls, that is. Does anyone remember that scene in Northern Exposure, the running of the bulls, all the men of the Alaskan town running naked, an annual event. It was a scream.
Happy Valentine's Day All

Mel Hiers said...

What wonderful stories, guys! I'm usually a little grinchy this time of year, and this post hit just the right spot. Thanks for getting it all together, Helen. :-)

Helen Scott Taylor said...

You're welcome, everyone. It was fun hearing the romantic moments. Such variety!

I couldn't resist the pic. I found it on one of the stock photo sites and thought it suited our blog. A little different to the norm.

Trish Milburn said...

That was my first thought too -- I love the little starfish picture. So cute.

Evonne, I just loved the saucepan story. :)