I’m all for romance. But Valentine’s Day itself…meh. Something inside me rebels at the directive to be romantic on a specific day. I suppose it’s a nice excuse to get a babysitter and go for an outing but who really needs an excuse?

The other thing that’s a turn-off for me is the torrent of commercial messages telling us exactly how we should be romantic. So many of them leave me cold! For the record (in case Someone is reading this) I’ve nothing against simple sensual pleasures like flowers or chocolate. There’s no such thing as too many flowers or too much chocolate! But so much of what is touted as romantic seems trivializing or hopelessly generic. And when did cell phones become an acceptable Valentine’s gift? I’d as soon have the proverbial frying pan.

What I find romantic are things that are personal. A back rub after a bad writing day. Jewelry that is either modern and artistic, or antique in feel, like the Wedgewood pendant my husband (similar to the one shown) gave me when he saw how much I like blue jasperware.

I suspect it’s hard for a lot of modern men to go out on a limb and do something risky and original. Maybe that’s one of the draws of historical romance: the idea of a hero who will express his feelings in an eloquent and personal way. I don’t know if the average male during the Regency was really any more romantic than the modern one, but just think of the torrid letter Captain Wentworth writes to Anne in PERSUASION:

“I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own, than when you almost broke it eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you.”

Sigh… Watch me collapse in a puddle!

So how about you? How do you feel about the conventional trappings of romance? What do you find romantic, in real life or in fiction?