Why Romance By C.V. Walter
I was going to write something in defense of Romance as a genre but I think I’ll tell a story instead.
In 1980, when Dave walked in for an interview at a warehouse, he really didn’t want that job. He’d just dropped out of college to support his mother who was strong, independent, and going through a divorce… again. His parents had married and divorced each other several times over the years and this time he hoped it was going to stick. But with his little brother still in high school she needed help and it was up to Dave to pick up the slack.
He was early to the interview, like always, and very focused on making a good impression. Which is why he wasn’t focused on where his feet were going. He tripped over the trashcan, tried to right himself, and ended up falling on the corner of her desk.
The HR person was a woman named Peggy. She was Dave’s age and a semester shy of being a kindergarten teacher. She’d gone away to college and was her grandfather’s live-in caretaker until he passed away. With him gone, she couldn’t afford to finish her degree and live on her own so she moved back to her home town to work and save up money until she could finish.
She felt terrible that Dave did his interview while bleeding from an injury sustained from her desk and gave him the job.
A few weeks later, he asked her out for breakfast. Now, she thought he was cute but the last three breakfast dates she’d been on had ended disastrously. Like, a bus had crashed into one of them, barely missing her table. So, she was hesitant but something told her to take a chance.
By the end of breakfast, they both knew that this was the person they’d been waiting for.
Of course, there were bumps in the road to their happy ever after.
He brought her lilacs from his mother’s garden. One of the few flowers she’d very allergic to.
His signature dish, the one he learned specifically to woo his future wife, was a spinach quiche. Which was delicious and she ate with a smile and only told him later that cooked spinach is one of the few foods she hates with a passion. But not more than she loved him.
She tried to surprise him by taking his car to get it detailed and it died on the way out of the parking lot. Nobody else could get it started. A trend that continued with most of his cars.
They got married in August because her brother was getting married in June and had been engaged for over a year. Dave and Peggy had known each other for six months by the time they tied the knot but only because they’d kept missing each other. They were at the same events over the past decade with different groups of friends. Several of their friends knew each other and some of them ended up dating and marrying as well.
They had two children. And three grandchildren.
This August would have been their 42nd anniversary if Dave hadn’t passed away in February.
I used to tease my dad that this story would have made a great Romantic Comedy or Hallmark movie.
“Don’t tell your mother,” he said. “She’ll ask you to write it.”
Well, I wrote it anyway.
I don’t feel the need to defend Romance. It’s a billion dollar industry that will continue to be popular for as long as there are people. It’ll twist and change to fit humans as they are but it will always come down to the moment of connection between two people.
Whatever window dressing you put on it, Romance is fundamentally about telling the story of the creation of a deeper connection with another heart. The spark, the moment, that says “this one is worth the pain”. And there’s always pain. When you grow as people, when you grow as a couple, when outside forces try to batter you, when you lose each other. Romance shows you why it’s worth it, why you try, and offers hope for a Happy Ever After.
C.V. Walter is a Romance author best known for her Alien Brides Series. She’s started allowing her muse out to play a bit more, though, and has launched a Noir Space Fantasy series of short stories. The most recent story, Some Like it Bot, is available now on Amazon.
What a lovely story. And yes, that’s the great bones of a romantic comedy right there, and I’m a little misty your parents got to live it out.
The funny thing is, they couldn’t see it. They are/were very practical people who didn’t see the point in Romance but lived it every day.
Thank you for sharing! My own parents did *not* have a romance in any sense of the word. I’m sorry for your loss. My heart aches for your mom.
Romance is needed because people are hungry for it– exactly *because* of the real stories.
Same reason as any other story that touches on what’s true, and important, and that people are hungry for.
Thank you for sharing their story with us.
My folks’ “meet cute” was kinda fun– mom had moved a few hundred miles or so from where she grew up, and was dragged to a fire department fund raising dance by a friend-couple, older, “oh you’ll really like him”…. she was ready to gnaw an arm off to escape when this “smart-ass little cowboy” walked up and asked if she would like to dance.
Mom doesn’t dance. She was also a school teacher that worked ranches during the summer, so she was quite familiar with the failings of cowboys.
….but the guy was so boring she was less bored when he was gone, and he’d finally wandered off to talk at some friends, so she said yes anyways.
Turned out he was one of the firemen, and could talk about anything. And better yet, listen. And had a very dry sense of humor that most of the county didn’t notice, and since he knew everyone in the area, they had lots to talk about.
Six months later, they were married in a quick, quiet ceremony– a special favor from her childhood priest, because the six month pre-marriage course had both of them rolling their eyes at the idea.
Well, the day they chose turned out to be the day before the daughter of the richest guy in the priest’s parish was getting married.
“Do you mind if we decorate the day before?” And the organist had been flown in from the east coast… “I’m really not sure about this organ, would mind if I practiced during your ceremony?”
Fanciest looking license-only wedding ever.
Being a quick wedding, it was of course never going to last… forty-some years in, it’ll fall apart ANY DAY NOW, surely…. 😀
(OK, not really, they’re still disgustingly in love. Partly because they talk and laugh about everything.)
This is adorable and I love it 🙂
One of the reasons I like romance is because there is no romance in my life and I can be happy for fictional characters at least.
When people run-down romance as a genre, rather than “I don’t like meet-cute because it’s over-done” or “I’m tired of erotica trying to pass as romance,” I start to wonder why. I heard one individual opining that it was the opiate of the female masses, and that happily-ever-after was a fraud and a lie and romances should be banned. Part of me was curious as to what horrible experience this individual had suffered, other than being half-drowned in rhetoric.
You probably recognize a lot of the complaints offered from “all scifi is terrible” type sniffs. Or any other currently not cool/too popular genre.
Long digression… this is from someone who doesn’t like romance novels.
I really like some books that are romance novels or series (McCaffrey’s *Restoree*, the Alien Bride series, Wrede’s *A Matter of Magic*– scifi/fantasy, in two of those cases I had no idea they WERE romances until I was done), and I tend to like it as a sub-plot, but I have a fairly low chance of liking a randomly chosen romance novel. It’s a difference in predictive power for if I’ll like something…and ability to hold up the other end of a conversation if someone is a Real Fan of Romance Novels.
Was it you or Sarah who pointed out that romance readers have incredibly broad tastes, so long as it’s romance? I think it was mentioned here, anyways. Scifi, fantasy, thriller, horror, westerns, time-travel, historical, alt-anything… a romance reader has a good chance of reading them all, so long as it’s also a romance.
So far, I haven’t gotten much into Romance romance.
It’s not that some of the tropes are not my taste. (I often don’t like when the pre-story engagement gets canceled. Especially when the other party turns out to be secretly evil.) (Counter argument, I just finished reading a fanfic I much enjoyed, that started with five engagements that I pretty much knew were doomed. While reading, I’d been shipping a pairing that spent most of the story engaged to other people.)
It’s just that the difficulty of finding the ones I’m most interested in is high enough that I mostly read other genres.
You met my brother?????
His sister-in-spirit. She was . . . troubled in spirit, let us say.
I can do romance subplots but not stories. Such is the whim of the muse.
Romance as romance is HARD to write well.
Agreed. I’ve tried. The first hint I might not have been suited to the task was my tendency to skim through, not just the bedroom scenes, but also the “obsessing about each other” scenes in Jayne Ann Krentz novels.
I enjoyed writing the novels I consider romances, but they’re too weird for the clean romance readers, too G-rated for some of the paranormal romance readers, and too Bollywood-influenced for almost everyone else. Good learning experience though. They were something I *needed* to write at the time, and I am glad I did.
…I can’t throw any stones, not when the first time I met Calmer Half in the flesh we *almost* outran a volcanic ash cloud… We were only a mile from my home when the blast front hit us…
So, yeah, maybe I’m not the best example of boring staid conventional whatever.
You guys had an Action Adventure Romance that I am totally stealing a scene or two from at some point
My parents just met at church. Like you do. Her adopted dad, who kept an eye out on the young Navy officers far from home introduced them. Dead ordinary.
Except… If you’d told my father as an all-American Midwestern quarterback that his bride of 50+ years was a scabby-kneed 11-year-old who couldn’t even afford a pair of shoes from a hick village in NE Brasil he’d have laughed himself sick.
I’m fairly sure before he met me Dan would have laughed at the idea of marrying a Portuguese brat.
There is no need to defend any fictional genre that accomplishes the goal of entertaining one or more readers.