Keep the flowers, and offer an adventure instead
It's all chocolate and roses until someone gets hurt.

The Trouble with Valentine’s Day

Today’s the day the chocolate and cards get passed about. It’s all chocolate and roses…until someone gets hurt!

Ironically, I am no longer sucked into the red and white hearts that stores like to tout as Valentine’s Day- and I write romances! Okay, stop laughing! Not those Fifty-Shades types, but quirky and sweet love stories that could easily slot Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant as the heroine and hero (hey, I like old movies!)- or  Kirsten Bell and Chris Hemsworth. Yes, really showing my age here!

I wasn’t always so cynical about Valentine’s Day. I grew up in a religion that didn’t celebrate the day of love- or any other day for that matter, so my take on the day comes from later in life, after I bought into the store-provided commercial side, and my boyfriend at the time, instead of offering me chocolate and roses, went off to work without a word.

I was devastated. I felt unloved. Wasn’t this special day supposed to be, er, special? I was also in my early twenties, naïve, young and wrought with emotions. That day I thought my heart had cracked. It hadn’t. Not really. But when you are young and foolish, it feels like the end of the world. Another friend of mine swooped in for a rescue and asked me if I wanted to go caving.

So I traded in my glass slipper dreams of red roses and glittery heart cards and slipped through the mud, squeezing down a makeshift ladder made of tires into a crack in the ground. We explored the nooks and crannies and tiny passages until I reached one so tight that it made me feel claustrophobic. We emerged from middle earth, mud-stained explorers, and met up with another friend for a pint and a few games of darts. This bizarre turn of events proved to be the best Valentine’s Day ever. Friends are awesome!

I only remembered this story as a Facebook friend of mine asked everyone to list their most memorable Valentine’s gift.  So, even though I have appreciated the flowers, cards & occasional candy through the years (thank you, thank you), my caving adventure, though not romantic, remains foremost in my mind. You can’t buy memories like that in a shop.

About that day: that boyfriend passed into the pages of history, though that Valentine’s Day flop was not his fault. This society places so much pressure on the materialistic life. Seriously, why do they force us into this day? So they can earn money! Don’t wait for February 14th to show someone you care. Impromptu flowers and Godiva chocolates and invitations to adventure, unexpectedly given, are so much more meaningful. Treasure that sweet text, even overloaded with kissy emojis. That squeeze of the arm, when he catches your hand or dances you unbidden, around the kitchen. Love should be shared and shown every day, not just when it’s conveniently slotted into a vacant space between New Years Eve and Easter!

So yes, I won’t be expecting flowers or chocolates (though I may get a leftover dessert from the restaurant! 😉 and that is okay. I am surrounded by the ones I love, making sweet memories all the time, not just once a year.

Need a bit of romance to get you through today? I’m a huge fan of rom-coms, chick flix and old fashioned movies myself. Here are some favorite romantic movies (you will note that most are comedies, as I love a good laugh!). The list is in no particular order. There are golden oldies, some foreign and some familiar favorites. These links are affiliate links, just to let you know. Support this blog, check them out, and have an incredibly awesome day!

These links are affiliate links, just to let you know. Support this blog, check them out, and have an incredibly awesome day!

 16 Romantic Movies to Brighten Your Day

  1. Sweet Home Alabama

The all time romance. Reminds me of a Nora Roberts story! Big city designer (Reese Witherspoon) returns to her southern roots to get her still ex (Josh Lucas) to sign divorce papers so she can marry big city rich boy (McDreamy Patrick Dempsey). Comedy & romance ensue.

  1. Dirty Dancing

Sure Miley Cyrus can twerk, but no one can dance like Baby! Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey star in this movie set in a lakeside resort in North Carolina, where  Swayze plays the bad boy dance instructor and Grey is a coming-of-age girl desperate to find her freedom. And love. A classic!

  1. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days

Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey star in this rom-com about a writer trying to get a story, but she has to get a guy to fall in love with her and break up with him in 10 days. Yeah, that never works, does it?

4. While You Were Sleeping

Sandra Bullock is a natural in this romantic comedy about her dream guy (Peter Gallagher) who she saves from death and in turn, is mistaken for his girlfriend. What to do? Become the girlfriend. All goes well until he awakens from the coma! But it’s not the dream guy who catches her heart!

5. The Proposal

Another Sandra Bollock special. She plays Ryan Reynolds’ boss and persuades him to pretend to be her fiancee to help her secure a green card to stay in America (she’s Canadian), but she has to face his family first. Hilarious! I think it finally came on Netflix too! (I love all of her movies! 2 Weeks Notice with Hugh Grant is another good one!)

  1. Sleepless in Seattle

Meg Ryan feels she is in the wrong relationship, and when she hears about a lonely guy on the west coast waiting for love (Tom Hanks) she knows it’s a sign and seeks him out. They were great together in You’ve Got Mail.

  1. An Affair to Remember

Sleepless in Seattle opens with the climactic scene from this movie. Cary Grant is an engaged artist traveling to New York on a ship. Deborah Kerr is engaged too- to someone else. They fall in love and agree to meet up in a years’ time if they still feel the same way, but tragedy ensues. Keep the tissues handy for this tear-jerker.

  1. Girl on the Bicycle

You think following a French movie is challenging? How about one with French, Italian and a smattering of German? Engaged guy (Vincenzo Amato) sees a pretty girl on a bicycle and just can’t stop thinking about her- but ends up hitting her with his bus! Confusion, comedy romance, and subtitles!

  1. Love, Actually

So sweet! A series of story lines with big-named actors & actresses wrapped around love, but Hugh Grant as Prime Minister is by far my favorite. It’s set at Christmastime, but romance is year round, don’t you think?

  1. Bridget Jones’ Diary

For all the girls who don’t look like models (me! me!) Renee Zellweger plays a very human down-to-earth girl in search of love. Hugh Grant and Colin Firth, former best friends turned rivals, play her suitors-to-be. This year they’ve come out with Bridget Jone’s Baby- but I won’t be giving any spoilers on who she ends up with!

  1. My Best Friend’s Wedding

This is not a romance- it’s more like my cave-adventure tale. Maybe that’s why I adore it. Julia Roberts is asked to be the best man-er-woman at her best friend’s wedding. Her best friend happens to be a guy (Dermot Mulroney)- a great looking one. She decides to sabotage the wedding in hopes of her best friend noticing her. Will her plan work? Funny, sweet, with a happy ending in a quirky sort of way. That’s what friends are for, right? Runaway Bride and Pretty Woman are sweet pics too- both with Ricard Gere playing opposite Julia.

  1. Failure to Launch

Sarah Jessica Parker is hired by Matthew McConaughey’s parents to get him to finally move out of the house. He decides to turn the tables on them.

  1. The Bridges of Madison County

After Meryl Streep played a housewife who had an affair with National Geographic photographer Clint Eastwood, hundreds of men took up photography. Award winning tear-jerker. You may never look at your mom the same way again.

14. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin
Penelope Cruz stars as a young Greek woman who falls in love with an Italian officer (Nicolas Cage) during the World War II Italian Occupation of Greece. Sad and based on truth (I personally know a woman who went through a similar romance). I am not a fan of Cage, but I loved this movie.

  1. When in Rome

A hilarious remake of Three Coins in the Fountain, starring Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel. This will bring you to tears – of laughter! And make you cheer at the end. Take-away lessons: Don’t take coins from Italian fountains and be careful what you wish for.

  1. Roman Holiday

Audrey Hepburn, cool, calm and collected, plays a princess who escapes her royal duties on a fun day through Rome. Newspaper hack, Gregory Peck is only too happy to oblige. A classic! I saw this when I was young and became determined to see Rome for myself (and did!) Ahh- the power of the silver screen!



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