When I get a chance, I love chick flicks. The kind of movies where young love blossoms into something real and meaningful. But now past the age of 50, I seem more like a spectator than a participant in the arena of romance. For me, the idea of romance is like visiting Old Williamsburg, Virginia and watching a colonial actor portray a craft that is no longer in great demand; a cooper, glass blower, wagon maker. We marvel that it can still be done, but the reality is, it will never be done well by me.
Romance after 50 is like dancing with a club foot; everything is awkward. Turn the lights down low, you’ll invariably stub your toe. Wear anything less than goose-down and flannel and you’ll shiver like you’ve crested Mt. Everest.
Planning for romance at my age requires charts and graphs that would make executing D-Day seem like a piece of cake. The room has to be the right temperature, the lights must be set so each person has the appearance of an anonymous informant in a confidential interview; just a shadow. I’ve heard that the perfect body is only a light switch away.
I decided since God was the originator of romance, I’d see what the “Good Book” had to say about the subject. I turned to Song of Solomon. As eye opening as it was, it didn’t help me much. I adore my wife, but I had my doubts about the way Solomon romanced. Telling your love that various parts of her body remind you of leaping young antelopes, I didn’t think that would help my cause. Besides, how much advice should I take from a man who had over 1200 mother-in-laws?
So tonight I was going to use my own skills from life. Skills that were honed over 29 years of marriage. It was going to be memorable, and it was. I would start with a romantic movie, the thermostat would be set on warm ocean breezes, the candles would cast their minimal glow, an extra blanket would lie ready at the foot of the bed just in case it was needed, and the radio was tuned too love songs. I had thought of everything except the execution of the plan. She had already seen the movie, this time the room was too hot not cold enough, I burnt my finger lighting the candles, and instead of a cuddle she wanted a hot oil back massage. Okay so I didn’t have the right oil. I did try to convince her unsuccessfully that Pam vegetable spray does say multi-purpose.
Alas, the planets weren’t aligned for romance tonight. It didn’t matter anyway because two minutes after my sad attempt, the love songs were usurped by a piercing weather emergency bulletin followed by tornado sirens wailing one-hundred yards from our bedroom window. An impending disaster was close at hand. How appropriate, that a tornado siren would be the swan song of my romantic skills.
Okay honey, what’s your plans on the 28th of next month? Next time can we skip the candles if we wear miners helmets?