Reverb Broads 2011, December 28 (my birthday!): Do you consider yourself a romantic person? Do you prefer fancy dinners, roses, and chocolate, or are you more non-traditional? What’s the most romantic thing you’ve ever done for a loved one or had done for you? (courtesy of Kassie at http://bravelyobey.blogspot.com/)
Answering this question feels almost redundant; my whole life is an answer to this question. But I forget sometimes that not everyone knows my weird story, so here’s a quick recap: I made friends with a guy in New Zealand on the MUSH (real-time, text-based online roleplaying game) we both played on in the mid-’90s. We talked on the phone, sent silly packages, and slowly fell in love. We became “exclusive” at the beginning of my year in France, and on my birthday in 1995, he left his island for the first time in his life to fly to London and meet me in person. He had the engagement ring in his suitcase. He asked me in Aberdeen, Scotland on New Year’s Eve; I said yes, then made him talk through all the practical details before I would even open the ring box. We travelled together for three weeks, then he went home until I was back in the States that summer. He flew in to Florida, where I was staying with my parents before returning to Kansas for my last semester of undergrad, and we’ve been together ever since.
So, there are the answers to questions 1 and 3.
But even generally speaking, I’m a pretty unapologetic romantic. I love grand gestures, though I lean toward the non-traditional in what I appreciate. While I enjoy fancy dinners and flowers as much as the next girl, the efforts that speak to really knowing me well are the ones that really ring my bell. My husband bought me a Doctor Who charm bracelet on Etsy for Christmas this year, which was just perfect. And I wear Tresor perfume partly because I love it, and partly because he always says how much he loves the way it smells on me in particular.
I also adore surprises and pulling off ninja-level arrangements. When I went away to Welsh camp during the week of my husband’s birthday, I hid presents for him for each day, all around the house, and left him clues to open each day. I hid a barbeque grill behind the television stand; I put a video of our favorite MST3K episode in one of my kitchen cupboards. I had the poor man convinced I was sneaking home from Toronto every night to hide things that he was sure hadn’t been there the day before. Part of this is helped by his general obliviousness to detail (sorry, love, but you know it’s true: a side effect of being a storytelling genius is that you’re more aware of made-up things than the ones right in front of you), but part was sheer ninjatude on my part. One of my only regrets is that I don’t really have a surprise ninja for myself.
It’s so tricky finding romance in everyday life. A lot of the time, quite honestly, we use laughter and shared interests like methadone for the elusive heroin of romantic gestures. And I’ll be the first to say that, some days, I have exactly enough romance in my body to read about five pages of a smutty novel before I fall asleep–two-way romance takes way more energy than reading about somebody else’s romance. But when the astronomical odds of ever having found my perfect partner in the world give me vertigo to contemplate, it doesn’t take much to feel like there’s romance all around me. There’ll be time (and maybe money) for grand gestures when the kids grow up.