Monday, 10 August 2009

a right to romance?

I wrote the other week about how we have been enjoying watching the Last Detective.  The other night was saw the last episode in series three and there was a particular conversation that grabbed my attention and I can't stop thinking about.  But first, some background...

In the second series it becomes clear that while Dangerous (they call him that because he isn't) and his wife are separated, he still loves her deeply.  At the end of the series he tells her that he can no longer cope with being 'good old dependable Dangerous'  who comes around to fix the fence, take the dog for a walk, fish hairbrushes out of the S bend and chat over a cup-of-tea.  He doesn't want a divorce (as she first thinks) but a real marriage.  

Now, by the end of the third series not much has happened (things move slowly, it's really not the main plot) except a night out here and there and he is still tennant in a small, spare room at his friend's house.  There is a change of plans one evening and instead of dancing with him she ends up doing some amateur detecting for him.  All seems to go well and the end up spending the whole night together.  

The next day she says it was a mistake. He asks why it was a mistake and what it is that she wants.  She says,
I just want life to sweep me off my feet.  I'm not sure I'm ready to believe that this is it....  I'm sorry, that sounds terrible.  I don't mean to hurt...  I just don't know what I want.
And he says,
Julie.  I'm not superman, or Bruce Willis or Colin-what's-his-name-Darcy.  I'm the one who spends the best part of a Saturday morning putting up shelves or taking the dog out.  And that's OK for me.  You're beautiful and you're lovely and you turn other heads as well as mine but you're still just the girl from round the corner that I fell in love with... and that does it for me.  That's special enough.
So why has it stuck with me?

First I was really struck by her romantic expectations.  She feels she has a right to be swept off her feet and is not satisified with the reality of being married to an ordinary, every day sort of man.

Second I was really struck by his reply, basically saying,  I am ordinary but I love you just as I always have*.  He forces her back down to the ground to look ordinary in the face, not to keep looking in the clouds for something else.

I've heard a lot in the years before and since I've been married about encouraging husbands and prospective husbands to be romantic.  But this has to be only half the story.  I really think we must be encouraging wives (and our young women) to have a better definition for love than romance; to look for and appreciate love shown in the ordinary, every day things that our men say and do.

I wonder what you think about romance? Do we have a right to romance, or is it only for the lucky few?

*  Interestingly, this seems to resonate with my husband who gets tears in his eyes every time he reads the above quote (which is often, as the post has been sitting on my screen for days now while I get around to finishing it!).

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