Perhaps, after all, romance did not come into one’s life with pomp and blare, like a gay knight riding down; perhaps it crept to one’s side like an old friend through quiet ways. (from Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery)
I love Anne Shirley’s wake up about romance in the Anne books. I love that she has the opportunity to go with the mysterious, romantic ideal of her childhood but finds she is more comfortable with the love of an old friend. Did you ever have any of those “choose your own ending” books as a kid? At the end of a chapter it would give you a choice to make and you would skip to a certain page based on that choice. I, of course, always read them both ways. Not great books but kind of a funny concept. I sometimes think about the Anne series that way. What if she had married Roy? (If you haven’t read the series but have only watched the movies you will be very confused by this. If that is the case, go now and get the books. Read and enjoy.) The idea of Anne and Roy just creeps me out. How disappointing that would have been.
I married a Gilbert, an old friend that I knew I could trust. He’s not a brooding, romantic poet. He’s not mysterious and melancholy. Neither is he some brazen heroic knight riding down to save the day. He’s a very good looking, introverted, masculine, good man. He has terrible hand writing and he’s not a good dancer (neither am I so it’s a wash). And here’s a good thing about a Gilbert versus a Roy: he works hard and then comes home and loves us well. He does all the little un-romantic things that make our lives work. He unclogs the dryer vent and installs the smoke detectors, grills the steaks and brings home the bacon. He tickles the kids on the living room floor and he buys stamps. These things are not beneath him. He is kind and forgiving in a way I aspire to. He doesn’t do large romantic gestures very often at all. Our favorite dates are pick up dinners, browsing a book store, renting a dvd, sharing some candy, roasting marshmallows. It’s what we like and when we find something we enjoy we do it again and again.
A friend of mine went on a sunset sailboat cruise with her husband for their 10th wedding anniversary and another couple on the boat were on their very first date. We laughed about what an over-the-top first date that was. Setting the bar a bit high right there at the first, I think. Sometimes Jon and I like to save up and do something special like that too, for an anniversary or a special occasion. But our first date? I don’t even know. We joke that we “pre-dated” for years before we made it official. We are both introverts and neither the kind that’s going to take the big risk. So it took years for us to finally admit that we loved each other beyond the friendship we cherished. We probably had a hundred dates that we had no idea were actually dates. There was no sunset sailboat first date, no pomp and blare. There was just an old friend and his quiet ways. A Gilbert, not a Roy.