Thursday, 14 February 2013

Writing on Valentine’s Day

The month of February is always about romance, yet the nature of expected romance means that it isn’t always all that romantic in the classic sense of the word. Have you ever read a romance novel where the hero proposes to the heroine on Valentine’s Day? I certainly haven’t, and I think there are a number of reasons why this is so. Firstly, when it is expected of people to be romantic, there’s an element of predictability about it all, and when you’re writing a romance novel, unpredictability is key in creating a strong, compelling plot. It’s far more dramatic for a heroine to receive a proposal from a hero on a windswept cliff after he’s rescued her from nearly tumbling down a cliff face, say, than for that same hero to propose in a staid restaurant setting with hovering waiters all around on 14 February.

And it’s far more romantic, it can be argued, to receive a bunch of roses unexpectedly from your lover for no particular reason than that he was thinking of you, than to be given a dozen red roses on a day that has been specifically designated for romance.

Having said this, simply writing off Valentine’s Day as unromantic and therefore not acknowledging it isn’t all that easy to do, either. By ignoring Valentine’s Day because it’s commercial, you are sending a very clear message as well, in that you are refusing to offer a romantic gesture to your loved one on a day that celebrates love.

The thing is, it may be my opinion that proposing on Valentine’s Day is unromantic (with my hero-and-heroine-on-a-cliff-face scenario playing through my mind). However, someone else might perceive receiving a proposal on Valentine’s Day as the epitome of romance. It all depends on the person concerned. If a man who finds Valentine’s Day commercial, for instance, is involved with a woman who finds Valentine’s Day incredibly romantic, wouldn’t it be a loving gesture for the man to set aside his reservations about the day, and make his loved one feel special by celebrating it with her?

Because that’s, in essence, what romance is all about… doing something that makes your loved one feel special - even if it goes against the grain, and even if it means spending a fortune on flowers that you could get at a far cheaper price on another day.

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