by Wendy Wax, guest blogger and author of The Accidental Bestseller.
I met my husband, John, completely by accident on the Carey Bus in New York, the first and only time either of us ever rode it.
Both of us were in New York on business and happened to take the airport transport from JFK to Grand Central Station. He was a six footer with blond hair and blue eyes—exactly ‘my type.’ When we started to chat, I noticed his great accent.
I don’t travel light, (not then and not now, even though before every trip my husband expresses his earnest hope that I will) and having never ridden the Carey Bus, I didn’t really pay attention to the fact that once we got to Grand Central, I was going to have to get myself and all my things to my cousin’s apartment.
John came to my rescue, hailing a cab and delivering me to her building. He then lugged all my things up way too many flights of stairs. (Did I mention I don’t travel light?) He was attractive and well mannered and he had that really great accent, but even though we exchanged business cards—he lived and worked in Houston while I did the same in Tampa—I never really expected to see him again.
That probably would have been the case, if he hadn’t called my office in Tampa and convinced them to give him my number in New York. This was way before cell phones were common, and it was only a fluke that I picked up his message from my cousin’s answering service before John left town. It felt as if fate had thrown us together and wanted to make sure we got to know each other. We went out to dinner—wrong restaurant, great evening. And after that first date in New York, we took turns visiting each others’ cities and made the most of our long distance relationship.
We’ve been married almost twenty-five years now, and we still joke that there we were, minding our own business on the Carey Bus, when romance struck and changed our lives.
The truth is our meeting was by far the most romantic part of our story together. My husband is a fabulous individual and a great husband and father. I have no doubt that he loves me as much as I love him, but he is pretty much oblivious to the kinds of things that a hero in a romance novel instinctively knows: like how to celebrate an occasion, or how to give flowers or gifts for no reason at all. He has never made a ‘grand gesture’ and doesn’t really get the concept.
To John, being honorable, loving, and dependable is a lot more important than planning a surprise party or booking an unexpected island getaway. He’s right, of course. I just kinda wish it weren’t an either/or thing.
Recently, I realized that the whole romance question isn’t just about the two of us anymore. Our oldest son just graduated from high school and leaves for college in the fall; our youngest is nearing dating age. Frankly, I’m a little worried about how harshly the future women in their lives may judge me. I mean, if I don’t clue my sons in to the importance of romance, who will?
So I’ve decided to spend the rest of the summer teaching my sons how to be romantic.
I’m planning to start with Frivolous Gestures 101 in which I will explain why men who buy their wives and girlfriends gifts at Tiffany’s have happier relationships and 85% more sex than those who shop at AutoZone.
This will be followed by a mini-course in Abject Apologizing, which I believe every male over the age of sixteen should be required to take—especially those who failed Frivolous Gestures 101.
If there’s time, we’ll run through a series of heartfelt-compliment flash cards for conveying things like, “I love a woman with a healthy appetite” and “Wow, you look fabulous! Have you lost weight?” (It doesn’t get more romantic than that!)
Then we’ll work on fast-thinking skills with real-life reenactments designed to prepare them for tricky questions like, ‘Do I look fat in this?” and “If you couldn’t go out with me, which one of my best friends would you most want to go out with?”
Compared to remembering to pick up their clothes or put down the toilet seat, this is really important stuff. A woman may forgive a messy bathroom, but a missed romantic moment can haunt a relationship forever.
It’s just a beginning, of course, and there’s a lot of ground to cover. But if we all start teaching our sons now, pretty soon the world will be a far more romantic place.
PS: While I’m working on my heroes in training, I hope you’ll check out my website at www.authorwendywax.com and read an excerpt of my latest releases, Magnolia Wednesdays and the mass market edition of The Accidental Bestseller. Then submit a picture of you reading The Accidental Bestseller on a beach—any beach. I’ll post it to my facebook page http://www.facebook.com/authorwendywax and you’ll be entered in a drawing for a beach bag full of great summer reads.