As a reader of the genre, you gravitate to novels that celebrate the beauties of this wondrous phenomenon, and as a romance writer, I spend 40 hours a week pondering it, and trying to find new ways to do it justice.
Hate to break it to you, friends, but if you haven't noticed, that make us seem, oh, just a tad odd in the eyes of this cynical world. :P Personally, though, I'm okay with that...
Out of all the characters in all the movies I've ever seen, I have to be honest ~ I can relate to Don Juan DeMarco the most. No, no, I'm not saying I am "de greatest lover in de world"!! (but I'm not NOT saying it...eyebrow waggle...haha). What I relate to about Don Juan (Johnny Depp) is his refusing the mundane world around him in favor of making up a grander and more colorful one of his own.
One with love at its core, where every moment brims with meaning and passion and LIFE. Being a romantic is an entire worldview. His vision of this strange, other way of being in the midst of the ordinary world is so strong that it even sucks his therapist in. Anyway, if you haven't seen the movie, you really should (though it's hard to imagine that any romance fan hasn't by now).
It's the people like Don Juan's other failed therapists in the movie who are the sort of folks out there that denigrate our kind of books. Honestly, I feel kind of sorry for them, poor suckers, because they just don't get it, and to paraphrase Don Juan, their scorn for romance novels "is merely a symptom of a much more serious delusion." I suspect many of them have bought into the mundane, mediocre, no-frills version of reality and a dull, gray, passionless life. Their reality is rice cakes while ours is 7-layer chocolate fudge torte.
What I love most of all about this movie is that Don Juan's world turns out to be the true one. OF COURSE it's true. Everyone else thinks he's the crazy one, but "Don Ottavio" finally gets to experience Don Juan's world for himself and sees he was telling the truth all along.
And that's the big secret of romance. The Love we believe in is real. It's the MOST real thing that exists in this universe, actually. That's what I believe--no, it's what I know. And anyone who tries to tell me otherwise, that life is meaningless, that love won't last, that you better not get your hopes up, etc. is just wasting their breath. There is miraculous beauty to be found all around us and good in every person if we'll just look a little deeper (well, almost everyone - true Romantics know that evil's also real).
So, I don't know about you, but I'm going to go on being a proud Romantic all the year round, wearing my heart on my sleeve even if the world is left scratching their heads. I hope you'll do the same. Despite all supposed evidence to the contrary, refuse to let life take that sense of wonder you were born with away from you. Stubbornly hold to your vision of beauty and love, the nobility of the human spirit, and the sacredness of life, because this world is hell-bent on denigrating all three these days.
As the darkness rises in the times we live in, we who believe in Love have, I think, an obligation to shine all the brighter. So, much love to you, all my Don Ottavios out there. Thanks for coming along on this journey with me.
I leave you with Don Juan's most memorable speech, a big hug, and a happy Valentine's day to you, from my heart to yours.
What does being a romantic mean to you? Share your thoughts below. :) Do you find it hard to deal with people who aren't?