As it’s almost Valentine’s Day, I got to thinking about the grand gestures that have been performed by lovers over the years from fictional characters like Romeo and Juliet, to the dominant forces in today’s celebrity culture, like Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. Okay, so most of us aren’t prepared to die for our beloved or shell out on hiring a baseball park and buying a 1.5 million dollar engagement ring… but every day there are people out there trying to impress the person who they love (or who they want to love them) with grand gestures.
So, my Wednesday Wondering for this week is to ask what is the best, or most ill-fated, thing you have done to try to impress a loved one or that someone has done to try to impress you? Or maybe you’ve read something in a book or seen it in a film and it’s made you swoon or cringe? Maybe you’ve written about something in your own novel that you think is the ultimate grand gesture or something that went horribly wrong for one of your characters? Either way, we’d love to hear about it and here’s what the Write Romantics had to say:
As it’s another of my Wednesday Wonderings again, I’ll start this off. I think I chose this question because I do love a Rom Com and, more often than not, they are filled with grand gestures and I sometimes come away from watching them and think ‘why isn’t my life like that?’ Although, reflecting on it, having a husband who puts his own dreams and ambitions to one side to make sure that he can provide for and be there for his family, is a pretty grand gesture – even though it won’t make the news or even the plot of the next movie I go to see! I still love the more dramatic grand gestures though and what Colin Firth’s character does in Love Actually is probably my favourite of all. I have read Julie’s second novel, Getting Over Gary, recently and Alex’s debut novel, Beltane. Both books have wonderful, but very different, grand gestures in them and I hope you are all lucky enough to read them soon.
I’ve talked on the blog before about the guy who chased me down the street and asked me out and also the boyfriend who ran down 3 flights of stairs at university at one minute past midnight on Valentines Day morning wearing nothing but heart-covered boxing shorts and clutching a bottle of wine so I won’t repeat myself. They’re the only grand gestures that I can think of that someone has done for me. I don’t think I’ve done any for anyone else which is a bit rubbish of me.
So I’m going to turn to fiction and pick from my favourite romcoms. I absolutely adore Sweet Home Alabama starring Reece Witherspoon. Not seen it? You really must! It’s full of big romantic gestures from both Reece’s and Josh Lucas’s characters (even if they don’t quite realise it at the time) but I don’t want to give spoilers in case anyone hasn’t seen it. I also adore more recent film The Proposal starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds. Again, I don’t want to give a spoiler but I absolutely adore the gesture at the end from her and then him. Such a feel-good film. Oh, and another Reece Witherspoon film I love is Just Like Heaven which also stars Mark Ruffalo. Wonderful romantic ending with a big gesture on his part with the departure and the roof garden. If you’ve seen it, you’ll know what I mean. Again, I don’t want to give away spoilers. Aw, feeling all romantic now. Think I need a romcom fest!
This is my own grand gesture. For my husband’s fortieth birthday I bought him a cow. Well, so what you may think, you are married to a farmer after all. So to rewind to the time I first met my husband. As a townie I was in for a shock, suddenly getting up close and personal with cows. At the time he had a pet cow called Madonna. She was a red and white Holstein Friesian and pretty soon she and I had a good friendship going. I would always carry some cow nuts in my pocket for her and she always made a beeline for me! Sadly she passed away and that lovely red and white colour was missing from the herd. As the time came to decide on a special birthday present I thought what about a new red and white cow. As if it was meant to be there was a market sale the day before his birthday and in it quite a few red and white cows.
Now remember I am a townie, I had never bid for anything in my life, much less a living breathing animal. On the day of the sale I watched the first cow go for so much money I thought I’d never get one, but in came the one I’d decided to bid for. Nerves kicked in at this point, especially when someone started a bidding war, but amazingly I got her. Not only that I also got a three month old red and white calf whose makings were almost the same as the old Madonna and she too became known as Madonna.
This summer my husband will have another big birthday, but I am not going shopping for cows this time!
Once I had what I thought was the ultimate romantic gesture happen to me, the boyfriend of my early twenties got in contact with me after 25 years to ask how I was and if I was single, and if so would I like to meet up?
Well, I was sooooo flattered! As it happened I was single, but he had major problems (see last week’s post!) He gambled a bit too much (this could be the winning ticket – he’d argue), he’d insist on going everywhere with me – insecurity I know but a bit too claustrophobic. And since I could still hear that bossy tone when speaking to him after 25 years my answer was no, I didn’t want to meet up.
But there was a sequel to this story that rather bought me down a peg or two. Not long after that phone call I met Andy, just the Beta chap I wanted, and we’ve been married 5 happy years. I told him about that phone call when we were talking about romantic gestures fully expecting him to agree that this was the ultimate and could never be bettered. But he didn’t.
‘Don’t you think that trumps all romantic notions?’ I asked.
‘Not necessarily,’ he answered ‘going through your old address book is one of those things you do when you separate isn’t it?’
I had to agree. Oh well, you can’t win ’em all!
One of the saddest grand gestures I ever witnessed was when I worked for a small airline. We did a special promotion for Valentine’s day where you could fly your true love out to Jersey for the day, have a trip on a boat with a five course meal, champagne and chocolates, and fly back after a perfect day. Jersey was fogbound on the day and we flew around and around, hoping it would clear but in the end diverted to Southampton, where the passengers sat in the Southampton lounge for four hours. By the time the fog cleared it was too late for the boat trip as the tide had turned and we ended up flying back to where we started. I could have cried, and I was just cabin staff, so heaven knows how the passengers felt.
One Valentine’s Day my ex was short of money so instead of buying me a present he wrote me a poem. He’d never written a poem before and is quite badly dyslexic so, for him, that was quite a grand gesture. As for my writing, there’s a pretty grand gesture in Beltane but telling you about it would definitely be a spoiler so I’m going to say no more…
I was watching the film, Tangled, a few weeks ago with my girls. When it got towards the ending I thought about how perfect the moment was to illustrate a relationship between a hero and a heroine where each would do absolutely anything for the other.
The heroine, Rapunzel, has magic hair and when the hero, Ryder, is injured and dying, the only way to save him is to use her hair to heal him but if she does this she must promise to stay with Gothel forever in the high tower rather than living happily ever after with her man. At the last minute, before she can use her magic powers to save him, he chops off her hair causing it to turn dark and the magic is lost.
Both Ryder and Rapunzel were willing to give up their life in some way for the other – I swoon when I think of this moment. Don’t worry if you haven’t seen the film…it all works out in the end!
I hope you enjoyed reading about our experiences with Grand Gestures and we can’t wait to hear yours.