Setting The Mood For Romance

Katie Young
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Wednesday - February 06, 2008

We were all huddled around the table at Starbucks, waiting to hear what came next. My friend, Trina, continued with her story:

“So then he handed me a blindfold in the car and told me to put it on. We were driving for about 15 minutes before he parked the car, got out and opened my door for me. I knew we were at the beach because I could hear the waves crashing on the shore, but then when I took the blindfold off he had set up this elaborate picnic with candles and flowers everywhere and a picnic basket of a meal he cooked himself from scratch!”

Trina was recounting her favorite Valentine’s Day with her boyfriend. The story was even more impressive to us girls because Trina’s man wasn’t known for his romanticism. What made it even more special was how her boyfriend found ways to create an evening that included unique touches just for Trina.

“It gets better,” Trina said. “After dessert - chocolate-covered strawberries he dipped himself - he started singing a song he wrote about how much I mean to him! I started crying and I couldn’t stop!”

“Awwww ...” Came the unanimous affirmation from all of us. “That is so sweet!”

(Are you all gagging yet?)

Many of the women I know live for stories like this, though our real romantic tales often have little to do with candlelight, roses and poems, especially as we get older and more comfortable in our relationships.

But this is why Valentine’s Day sometimes feels like the one day we hope for more grandiose gestures of love than any other day of the year. (Of course, I know those who look at the mundane daily courtesies like washing the dishes and taking out the trash as the true acts of romance.)

Then, I also have friends who believe that Valentine’s Day is just a made-up occasion to make single people feel lonely and make men spend needless money on over-priced flowers and chocolates.

While the kind of romantic fairy tales we see in the movies are mostly elusive fantasies that couldn’t survive in the real world, I’ve certainly heard my share of wonderful and heartwarming stories of true love.

One friend told me about an elaborate scavenger hunt her boyfriend sent her on with clues scattered across the city:

“He picked me up and took me to a park where he had champagne waiting. He timed it so we could watch the amusement park’s nightly fireworks show. As the show wrapped up, a guy walking his dog handed me a note. It was a clue to our next destination. Our next stop was an old theater where we watched a play. One of the ushers then gave me the next clue, which took us to a beautiful restaurant. We had a nice dinner, and then my waiter gave me another clue, which led me to the final destination: a hotel room filled with roses.”

Another woman I know was proposed to on Valentine’s Day by her boyfriend of 19 years!

“We arrived at the Ihilani Resort, and he had arranged for us to have an ocean-side suite on the ground floor. We spent some time at the pool, then dressed for dinner. He emerged wearing tuxedo pants, a pressed, collared shirt and polished shoes. We had our champagne, and on the way to the restaurant he said he wanted to stop at our room to drop off some CDs. When he opened the door to the room, it had been transformed with balloons, roses and flower petals, candlelight, romantic music and a private dinner set for two near the ocean’s edge. When it came time for dessert, there was a knock at the door: One of the hotel workers came in to place two platters with dome-shaped lids on our table. My boyfriend took off the lid on my platter to reveal a single card where he had written a marriage proposal in the form of a poem. Under the second platter was a selection of my favorite desserts, all in miniature, with a diamond ring tucked into the raspberries! We were married in April!”

Now, don’t think that romance is restricted only to those involved in love affairs ...

My girlfriend from high school reminded me of a time in college when all of her single friends arranged for a “date night” with a group of mutual male friends where each girl paired up with a guy and had a date contest. At the end of the night, the all met up at and compared the romance level of their dates to see who would win the prize!

The thing about Valentine’s Day is this: It is what you make it. It doesn’t matter if you’re single, attached or married for 40 years. Romance can come in many forms. What’s most important (if you choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day) is that you make it special, you make it unique and you remember to make it fun.

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