Saturday, 21 September 2013

D.A.T.E : Romance Keeper

Baby J dropped off, heels forced on and lipstick sexily applied; I was ready for our first baby-less date night. Putting the finishing touches to my date night face, I was relishing the idea of holding hubby’s hand without a baby limousine between us. It’s a night that is a weekly tradition that we have carved into our marriage for the past 5 years.  So strong is the tradition that our family and friends politely avoid calling / visiting / messaging / emailing / facebooking / whatsapping / tweeting / skyping (many are the ways to contact human beings) on date night. And on the rare occasions when we can’t make that particular night, it becomes breakfast on a Saturday morning. The usage of phones or any electronic device is frowned upon and missing it for any reason bar health, results in penalties! It’s amusing to think that something which I STRONGLY opposed to at the start of our marriage has become a much anticipated and fully enjoyed pillar of our marriage.

Yes, I opposed it. Strange but, sadly true. Prior to marriage I strongly believed that routine was the killer of romance.  Over time I’ve come to understand that having concrete plans on when ‘romance’ will happen doesn’t snuff out romance rather, plans give romance an opportunity to breathe. It removes the ‘has it really been 4 weeks since we last spoke’ from the equation.  It means that you can focus your energy on a particular day. It’s once during the week that you’re guaranteed a conversation, that isn’t centred on red bills or family drama. This isn’t to say that my beloved and I go through the rest of the week with our hearts on mute. This is to say that we are each of assured of devoted, unadulterated attention for each other on that one night – date night.

True romance for me at that time, was meant to be spontaneous. It would be born out of an insatiable desire to please your beloved and it would be demonstrated in an elaborate way; a single red rose delivered by a singing telegram, tailed by a pure white dove with an invitation in its beak to a candlelit dinner on a roof terrace with a view of the twinkling picturesque city skyline.  I know, I’ve watched far too many soppy movies; Hollywood had done it again by creating unrealistic expectations.  But isn’t this true of most of us?  Haven’t we all based our notions of what romance really is on what we have seen and read? 

As I drove to pick up my beloved from the station, I wondered where HE was going to take me, what HE had planned, what HE would like to eat.  It suddenly hit me – why was HE setting the scene, why was HE the romance keeper? In the self-directed movie that I had conjured up, I always ensured the spotlight was always on me, the only receiver of the rousing romantic gestures. I am not alone in my directorial ambitions; most romantic stories are filled with chivalry and demonstrations of love all from the man. 

Surely, in a world where women are campaigning for equality, we should jump at the chance to partake in romancing.  Any feminist takers? Equality in the workplace and politics – yes please. Equality in romancing and wooing – err… #hehasgottoworkforitbecauseiamnotcheap. The truth must be uttered.  For decades we’ve seen many relationships suffer because the man has failed to meet the romantic expectations of his fair lady, possibly citing irreconcilable romantic differences. There are thousands and possibly millions of women who are masterminding punishments for the husband who is zoned into their football frenzied evening instead of, whisking their beloveds to a love filled evening.  I wonder if the longevity of relationships would increase if they would both take the responsibility of keeping things fresh.  The immeasurable soul destroying pain of a divorce/separation outweighs the pride lessening effort of planning a night of love. 

Rewinding our marriage back to our courtship, I remembered how my beloved had always initiated dates and romantic gestures. I was surprised with gifts and constantly being dined.  To my embarrassment I don’t recall planning anything elaborate or as thoughtful.  And as we crossed over into matrimonial land, there are few occasions where I have been the romancer.  I question now whose job it really is to create the romance. I believe this role of romancer should be as fluid as who washes the dishes or who drives the car. In society, the traditional roles and duties of husband and wife are not set in stone. It’s not unusual to see the husband as the cuisine technician or to see the wife as the domestic DIY construction manager.  Should it then be taboo for a wife to sometimes take the lead in keeping romance?

‘Me? Initiate romance? Make some effort?’


I dare you.

This needn’t be a daunting and arduous task; romance defined is a feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love. I’m a strong believer in keeping it simple and tailored specifically to the likes and dislikes of your beloved; playing snap with a bowl of popcorn and dimmed lights, surprising your beloved at work with his favourite take away meal, doing something they always asked you for but you were previously unwilling to do (wink wink). Date night has taken on many forms during our journey. In times of financial famine we have; picnicked on our living floor, gone for a long walk, put a thousand piece jigsaw together. It doesn’t always have to be the same thing and in many respects it doesn’t matter what you are doing – so long as what you’re doing is Devoting Attention To Each other.