What Makes Good Romance?

What makes good romance? We all have different answers because what counts as ‘romantic’ is different for different people. I write YA fantasy romance and that can be fun. Especially when it comes to figuring out what will set spines tingling. Hearts racing. Spark a smile on even the most unwilling of faces. I’m no expert, but here’s some things I’ve found to be true about romance…reflecting on some of the most romantic things that I’ve seen in my long (non) illustrious life?

* Romance = Spontaneity. The unexpected. Flowers help too. I was a high school senior walking down the road in Washington D.C with a friend when we noticed a car following us. Driven by a strange boy. A cute strange boy. A smiling cute strange boy. Hoping he wasnt a killer scoping out potential victims, we hurried back to school. He caught us there, hopped out of the car, told me I was the most beautiful girl he’d ever seen and gave me a dozen red roses. *Cue mass swooning, giggling, fluttering hearts from all my school friends.* I never saw that boy again. Never got his name either. Maybe he drove around all day giving roses to random chicks all over D.C. Who knows? Either way, Im really old now and remembering that still makes me smile.

* Romance = Thoughtfulness. Poetry. Music.  When I was fourteen, a boy would write me notes. Written inside intricately folded origama ninja stars. Many times, they contained poetry or song lyrics. I loved those and saved them for years afterwards. (Even though that boy went on to be the very first to ever break my heart.)  And can I just say that in a world of instant messaging and texting – a boy who can take the time to WRITE a note on a piece of paper? Like Daniel does in the first book? A rare treasure. Grab that boy and tie him up. (ok, did that sound a little Fifty Shades to you? or was that just me….)

* Romance = Originality and creativity. Picnics. And blindfolds.  Dating in Varsity years usually consisted of lots of dancing in sweaty, crowded nightclubs. Which is why it was extra memorable when a young man went to all the trouble of preparing a packed picnic lunch AND blindfolding me while he took me to the picnic destination in the middle of nature reserve park. Reason for the blindfold there and back? (No, nothing Fifty Shades about it…I KNOW that’s what you were thinking!)  Because, “this way, it will always be a special place that you can only find again, with me. Because it will always live in your memory as a special place that we shared together.” No, I didnt marry that boy. He never asked me. But I’ve never stopped wondering – where in heck IS that nature reserve park anyway?!

*Romance = Food. Sorry, but this is me. And MY list. So of course, food plays a central role in everything. The boy who baked me a chocolate cake gets an honorable mention. As does the bestest dinner menu on a date. Ice cream dates. Dessert outings. All made for very sweet romance. And the moment when the Hot Man cooked us a steak dinner to perfection, could very well have been the moment I decided we should be together forever.

So yeah, romance is lots of things. My definition of romance though, has changed as I have gotten older. Wiser. (And more tireder.) All the flowers in the world can never equal the feeling when you get to sleep for six hours straight because the love of your life has taken the premature baby for not one but TWO night time feeds and changed disgusting diapers. Even though the man has exams the next day. You wake up to find him soothing that baby, singing to him softly in the gentle moonlight. That’s romance.

All the poetry of Shakespeare and Keats can’t surpass the compassion, kindness and love evident when – you’ve been cut to pieces for a c-section delivery, you’re bloated with two hundred pounds worth of toxaemia, utterly miserable – and he bathes you, helps you dress, brushes your hair, dries your tears and whispers, “You’re the most beautiful woman in the world.” That’s romance.

When he shows up at your workplace with a surprise gift – a desktop fan for your sweltering teacher’s cubicle. Because he was LISTENING when you complained endlessly about how miserably hot you were at work. When he brings you Diet Coke, champagne glasses AND ice in a mini-cooler as well? That’s romance.

When he goes to the Twilight movies with you, even though he hates them. When he agrees that you two will only spend ten dollars each other for Christmas gifts, so you buy him a pair of cheap shoes – and he gets that leather suite living room set that he saw you sighing over and has it delivered when you’re not home and then blindfolds you before you walk in the house. That’s romance.

When he forgives you of the worstest things. When he sees the nastiest sides of you. When he endures the saddest times with you. And loves you even more because of them.

When he gives up the most divisive vices.  Sees his weaknesses and strives to overcome them because he wants to love better. When he cheers you on  to pursue your dreams even if he doesn’t quite understand them.

That’s romance.

Which is why, my Fantasy Romance series is dedicated to the Hot Man. Always and forever.

What’s the most romantic experience YOU have had? Please share…and inspire us because I think everyone could use more romance, more love in their lives!

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22 comments

  1. Loved this blog post! Romance – I love it.I can't wait for old people romance (hahahaha sorr Lani!!). But young romance is too expensive for my liking! Thank goodness I'm a not a guy! lolI think the most romantic thing I did was dance in the middle of a roundabout in Clendon to no music. Like that slow dance that people do at their weddings with no choreography. lol He was so gangsta and stuff so I was surprised that he did it. That was lovely. Extremely.

  2. Love love love that! Dancing to only the music in the air…beautiful image. And yes, its totally even more romantic if he's 'gangsta', so special when 'rough bad boys' show their sensitive, romantic sides…. Darren had me dancing in the aisle of a movie theater once. No music. But Im sorry to say i was hideously embarassed and kept telling him to stop it. (When u get old, you get more inclined to be impatient with the romantic other…LOL)

  3. Mine was a long distance relationship 7 years ago, me living in cold Washington State and receiving an early Christmas gift in the mail, it was a beautiful romantic nightgown, I didn't think to much of it until my cell phone rang and I heard the voice of a handsome Hawaiian man by the name of Manu, He asked me if I received the gift And I told him yes thank you it's very pretty, He asked me if it fit me and I told him the truth I have not tried it on yet, He then suggested that I put the phone down and put the nighty on while he waited, I agreed and placed the phone on my nightstand and at this time I was feeling real silly being the only one home and trying this Very sexy gift on, And as I did it was a perfect fit, I picked the phone up and told him it was a great fit and how much I liked it, He then said he was happy I liked it, At this time my doorbell rang I told him to hang on while I answered the door, When I opened the door There was no one there and. Looked down to discover a huge tropical fruit basket sitting in front of the door, In my mind I was thinking now this is strange, there's no cars in the driveway, The doorbell rings and there's no body there. As I went to close the door someone pushed from the other side and it was Manu, all the way from Oahu to spend Christmas with me, To make a long story short, It was a wonderful Christmas and I got everything I asked for that year!

  4. Wooow, the massive Clendon roundabout? Or am I missing the point?I think I'm allergic to romance (seems great on other people, but can't partake of it)

  5. Wow, you have had some romantic dates! Swooning…When my hubby and I were dating every once in a while he would make a cd for me of love songs and put it in my car. I loved that! Sounds silly now though…

  6. This touches my heart… I get my romance fix from books like yours, Lani, because so far, my romancing '"Hot Man" has not yet come into my life ( he's on order, of course!). It's good to know that real guys are out there that do the REAL romantic things, like love and care for you through thick and thin…the really tough things in life, and the most mundane, everyday things of life

  7. Love this post! I've had the big romantic gestures, like being given a framed photo of one tree hill (scene of first date) and noticing that it captured a personalised declaration of love in massive boulders which must have taken him all day, I've been painted (though not in the Rose 'I want you to paint me Jack' kind of way) and I've been whisked away to a mystery destination ( an exclusive island on the great barrier reef). But none of that, nor all the flowers and chocolates compare to that thoughtful romance that shows that you partner really KNOWS you. D packs picnic lunches and picks me up from work with our bub because he knows how much that break means in my day, he cleans the house because he knows I'm never getting round to it, he makes me panipopo because that's what I'm really craving! I love how these things show he loves the real imperfect me who can be a bit of a workaholic, who isnt the least domestic, and who eats way too many carbs of deliciousness!

  8. I love this post! Those are definitely on my list (especially the food, lol)! I can't say a lot of romantic things have happened to me… one guy, after I said yes to being his girlfriend, scooped me up in his arms and spun me around in a circle, like I had just said yes to being his wife. For some reason, though, all I could think of was "Dang, this guy's a lot stronger than I thought." (My sis-in-law thought it was romantic and gave my brother a dirty look. Poor guy.)

  9. I love this post. Even though I' super young, I think I have a young-ish additionRomance=doing whatever you can to avoid embarrassment, even if it's probably deserved. I remember recently drinking a little (a lot) out at a bar with the boyfriend. I'm a horrible dancer I must admit, but this day I decided that I didnt care and tried all sorts of dance moves I'd only tried before in the comfort of my own room. True to my horrible dancer form, I slipped on a spilled drink, simultaneously twisting my knee and screaming bloody murder. Meanwhile, boyfriends friends tell him that I've fallen, and he brushes it off. "She'll be okay, she falls like every day" Then, as he realizes I havent fallen like this before, he rushes over in true gentelmanly fashion, tries to coax me off the floor where I've been trying to get up and my knee has protested over and over. He then sweeps me off my feet and begins to carry me out of the bar to the car, bringing his friends with him to carry my purse and ensure he doesnt pass out from carrying me a mile away to the car. Then, as the bouncers say, "You can't carry her out, she has to either walk or go in a wheelchair if she can't walk" to which he replies, "I will not have her put in a wheelchair, that's freaking embarrassing!!!" As I get annoyed at the back and forth, I hop my way out of the bar, finally collapsing onto the side of the building, where he picks me up and carries me the rest of the way to the car, forcing his friends to carry me when his arms start screaming at him to let me down. I'm sure it doesnt sound like much romance, but doing what you can to make sure I go out with some dignity instead of in a wheelchair. Hiding my face from onlookers wondering who the drunk girl is getting carried by several men (she's probably a slut of some sort). Making sure my butt is covered because it seems guys dont know how to properly carry women in dresses, and avoiding the obvious question of "So, how exactly did you fall? Were you THAT drunk?" sounds a lot like the perfect romance to me.Oh and the super long hospital visit the next day where you invite your nurse sister to make sure your clumsy girlfriend is getting the proper treatment also adds to the romance. In case you were wondering about the injury, I sprained my knee.

  10. I totally get your sense of romance..doing the unusual, unpretictable(spellcheck??? lol), spontaneous, unexpected and so on. I love how my husband never buys me anything for my birthday, mothers day, christmas or any other special holidays but he managed to write me a beautiful note like "Wifey I need gas money, please :)" (insert LOL) or buys me flowers on a random Tuesday night. By far my favorite entry by you, Thanks for reminding me the littlest things matters.

  11. OK – so when I saw your comments about being cut up etc – I began to cry as I remembered something similar in my own man where I was at my absolute worst and he looked after me. We used to write notes to each other and leave them in our cubby hole at work because we were on different shifts.He surprised me with flowers at work. And he came to work and dropped off a new cellphone for me because mine was broken, completely unsolicited. Even though we say we're not going to buy Christmas presents, he always buys me something nice. When he asked me to marry him – he thought because I was a journalist – when he asked me to marry him – it made sense to take an ad out in the newspaper – so the whole readership of the NZ Herald could see and he did it on our anniversary which is cheesily on Valentines Day – with a beautiful engagement ring, inscribed in French 'Heart&Soul' (French because he lived in France and wanted share some of it's beauty with me)When I was young I had a boyfriend who used to come and fillet my fish for me and wash my dishes when I had to work at the fish & chip shop my parents used to own. We used to scratch cryptic messages to one another on a desk in maths class – we had maths at different times but sat at the same desk. He used to walk me where I needed to go after school even though it was in a different direction from where he lived. He would surprise me with flowers and one day caught the bus over with the ingredients in his backpack so he could make pancakes. For my 17th birthday he gave me a bangle that said "Love Always" inscribed on the outside so people could see it. I laugh now cos 3 months later we were broken up…and I was heart broken.

  12. Dang, this blog and all these posts has def made my day. Just sharing my 5sege about my so called unromantic spouse lol. He doesn't know the meaning of Romance even if it hit him on the face lho. I've been with my so called HE MAN for 9years now,not married still just living as a happy couple with 4kids lho.But on Valentines day this year i hopped online to do some banking and saw that $65 was spent at a flower shop in manukau,i got excited, but that was around 10am then it hit 4pm and i started getting angry and started cursing him, even though he was at work, but at 5pm i received a humongous bouquet of flowers,with a note that said ALL MY LOVE and no name,i couldn't wait for HE MAN to get home to thank him.He got home and i thanked him and then yelled at him for wasting that much money on flowers when he could of got me something that would last more then a week (i know what your thinking lho but pls understand haha) anyway later on the evening i saw how sad he was, i jumped online booked us a seat to watch THE VOW at botany, that was my way of saying I'M SORRY BUT I'M PICKING A CHIC FLICK BECAUSE ITS VALENTINES DAY hahahah. We wen't out in his work truck due to being lazy to move it to the road and surprisingly had a good time. Then came back home to reality, screaming kids that asked why didn't you take me and what not. I love my partner but sometimes a lady needs more then a hug t feel loved. I hope i dont have to wait for another 9years 2 receive something lho..CHEERS..

  13. I'd been living in a new place for about four months. I never unpacked because I figured I'd be moving again anyway. On my birthday I came home: new bed, new bedding, new wardrobe, side tables, all my photos hung up, clothes all folded and put away. Paper love hearts on my walls. From my baby.

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