The lovely Liz at Living with Kids has been writing about romance all week, for some reason or other, and asked me on Twitter to post a comment about the most romantic place I know.
I didn’t post a comment. I thought about it, I really did. But after a lot of thought, I decided that there’s such a thing as a ‘romantic place’.
I remember sitting on Herring Cove beach in Cape Cod, watching the sun set. It’s apparently supposed to be one of the most beautiful places in the world to watch the sun go down – and it was stunning. But I was there with someone who wasn’t speaking to me because he thought I was being ‘moody’ a week after having had a miscarriage.
I remember sitting on the edge of a catamaran in the Indian Ocean, dangling my feet into a sparkling blue sea, watching the palm trees on the perfect white-sand beach being gently tousled by the wind. Romantic? Not so much. My companion had drunk too much local beer and was asleep and snoring behind me, slowly getting more and more sun-burned.
Then there was the time I had dinner at a waterfront restaurant in New Orleans. There was a live jazz pianist playing in the background, cocktails on the table, and through the open patio windows, I could see the lights on passing steamboats reflected in the dark waters of the Mississippi. Apparently, the restaurant was once voted the most romantic in America – but it didn’t feel much that way as the middle-aged IBM executive next to me pulled out an A4 folder and said, “Let me talk you through our European partner strategy.”
When I think about romance, I think about the time we got lost in the Dordogne during a horrible storm. I was on the verge of hypothermia and the chap I was with took off his coat and gave it to me. Or I think about the eve of my 21st birthday, when I stayed up all night in the common room of the chap's halls of residence in Toronto, playing the piano and making up stupid songs, then going across the street to have pancakes for breakfast. I think about how he flew 3,500 miles just because I missed him. I think about how he’s still my best friend, and he knows exactly where to poke me to make me laugh when I’m being grouchy.
So, Liz, I guess my answer is: I don’t think there are romantic places, just (if you’re lucky) romantic people.