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Beneath the Covers,Past
A Romance Column
By Carol Ann Culbert Johnson

Do You Believe in Romance?

Why do we love the execution of romance? We get all teary-eyed when someone announces that they are engaged or getting married. The wedding itself is a tear-jerker, and we hope and pray that the couple live happily ever after? Do we think of marriage and love as fairy tales, and the old saying “the honeymoon is over,” is literally when the problems begin, and the constant bickering and fighting is the key? Where is the romance and love now?

Why do we love romance novels? When I think of romance novels, I think of Harlequin. I remember when I was fourteen years old, and I had just started high school. I had lunch at 5th period, and I would sit at the lunch table with about five other students. They would chat about boys, and school, and whatever, and I would listen with half an ear. My other ear was occupied with reading. I was reading my first harlequin romance. The romance was about two couples, meeting with an instant attraction, across the room, and then the conflict begins. Around the end of the novel, the conflict is settled and the couple breaks up, but after a few twists and turns, the couple ends up living happily ever after. Harlequin novels had no sex in them at the time, and this was around 1976, and if they mentioned making love, the couple was happily married.

Today I still read Harlequin, but I read the Kimani series, which is geared to African-American characters. I love these books because to get into the real world, Harlequin has advanced, and now the books are describing love scenes in detail, and there are a few curse words along the way. This is the new world for romance in all shapes and forms.

A romance novel is, according to Wikipedia, “is a literary genre developed in Western culture, mainly in English-speaking countries.” These novels focus on the relationship and romantic love of two people with a satisfied ending. I read romance because I love the relationship between a man and woman, the conflict, and then the actually courtship leading up to the ultimate pleasure, marriage, and living happily ever after. I love two people finding that episode of love, and bending backwards to keep that love current against all issues and chaos. I believe if two people really love each other, then an elephant or gorilla could not come between them. If there is true love, there is no obstacle that can’t be solved or handled.

I am asked all the time, “Why do you waste your time reading romance novels? It’s not the real world, and you need to come down to reality.” I frown at them, and say, “I believe there is a soul-mate out there for everyone, even you, and when you find that one true soul-mate, then you will see why I read romance novels.” Even if I am not in love, or my soul-mate has not shown his face, I still believe…

Sometimes romance helps us believe in that one true love, and it escapes us from the realities of the world. Unemployment, health issues, diseases, evil, no justice, homeless, animal cruelty, murder, hatred, jealousy, and lack of kindness, makes me want to enter a world of romance in a land of fairy tales for an hour or two. Why not? I need the break, thank you very much.

As I get older, romance will always be a part of my existence. I want it, crave it, love it and treasure it. When I finally find my true mate, my soul-mate, then my romantic tendencies will all be worth it. Do you believe in romance? I absolutely truly do. Again, why not? Remember, fairy tales do come true if you only believe!

2011 Past Columns

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