31 December 2011

A Romance of My Own

Before we got married, my husband asked me what my idea of a perfect romantic outing was. Now let me tell you, I am talented at answering questions, if I do say so myself. The hundreds of multiple-choice questions on the SAT and ACT, and the countless essay questions I’ve faced since starting college never fazed me, but this one did. For a moment, I was speechless. After some minutes passed by, I replied, “Ummmm, I don’t know, what’s your idea of a romantic outing?”
Definitely not my most brilliant conversational moment. The fact was, I couldn’t think of anything, anything at all, that sounded romantic that I would like to do. I mean, if he had asked me what kind of date I thought would be fun, I could have come up with some answers. I would have suggested bowling, or a Mexican restaurant, or a game of mini-golf. But while none of those fit my idea of the concept of “romance,” I couldn’t think of anything else that did. I’d seen what the word “romantic” meant, in movies and books, of course! But I’d much prefer a steak or fajitas to anything French, Italian, or from the sea, so a fancy restaurant with elegantly dressed waiters wouldn’t work. I also think candlelight dinners to be highly impractical, as fluorescent light bulbs simply provide a highly superior quantity of light. I do appreciate a nice bouquet of flowers, but putting rose petals on the ground just looks like a mess to me. The only poems I appreciate to their full extent are of the humorous type—the long-winded, amorous ones that I read in my high-school literature book bored me. I wanted to think of a good answer to Angel’s question, but I had honestly never given much thought to romance, nor had I come up with specific ideas as to what I would want romance to look like when I was all grown up and had a husband to woo me.
I don’t remember exactly what Angel replied when I, in turn, asked him what he thought was a romantic outing. I believe he said that he thought it would involve getting dressed up nice and going out to eat. Clearly neither of us was highly inclined towards the activities that are traditionally thought of as romantic. We decided to drop any ideas of romance for the time being and just continue our happy relationship without any of that nonsense barging its way in. It could also be noted that at this time in our relationship Angel was still insisting that he planned not to love me until after we got married, as he thought it would be very inconvenient to be in love with me and not yet be married to me. Ha. Needless to say, he couldn’t keep that up for very long, and we just had to put up with the inconvenience of love while we planned a wedding with all due haste.
One year into marriage, however, I am happy to discover that I’ve found romance! I even have an answer for the question of what my idea of a romantic outing is. Picture this: going for a walk with your beloved in a quiet cemetery, wandering among the stones and reading the epitaphs, commenting on the stories that can be pieced together from the information on family stones, learning about people that you were never able to meet. Angel and I first went cemetery exploring together on our honeymoon and added another activity that can be pursued in a cemetery: planning what features we want our joint tombstone to have. A cemetery is, without doubt, the place to go if you want ideas for planning your own stone. As of now, I think we’ve decided we want a black stone that includes the places where we were born, our wedding date, and pictures of us, in addition to the mandatory names and birth and death dates. Probably as we go on to explore more cemeteries in the years to come, we’ll notice other interesting features and incorporate them into our design. With all the primary research we plan to do, I’m pretty sure that we’ll design a stone that will bring enjoyment to many others like us who enjoy a stroll through a cemetery. My mom told me when I was little that cemeteries were romantic, but I never believed her. I’m not sure if this is what she meant, but I find them to be romantic now. I’m sure the rose petals and French restaurants with appropriately elegant waiters work for some people—but it’s my suspicion that everyone has their own unique activities in which they find romance.