Friday, March 03, 2006

Romantic gestures

This was posted in

Columnist, Philippine Daily Inquirer,
Februrary 15, 2006

“FOR WOMEN OF A CERTAIN AGE, ROMANCE doesn’t come like rain showers – frequent and unexpected – but rather like a stream in the desert: you have to look for it and when you find it, you have to make the most of it.”
“Just the other night, my husband and I were getting ready for bed and he started complaining about a bruise on his knee, wondering when and how he got it. I took a look at it and said: ‘It’s just like the one I have,’ showing him a similar dark spot on my knee. “It comes from pressing our knees against our dining table,’ I explained. Our new table, if you must know, comes with benches instead of chairs, and we’ve both taken to putting our feet up whenever we eat, our knees pressed against the table for balance.”
“My husband took a look at my bruise and marveled: ‘Wouldn’t you know, we have the same spot in the same part of the body. I like that!’”
“It was the most romantic line I’d heard in ages.”
“As you can guess by now, one’s definition of romance evolves as one ages. I never thought so when I was younger, but you do arrive at the stage in life when the conventional expressions of romance – roses, chocolates, jewelry and serenades – actually seem sappy and cheesy, love expressed as clich├ęs, uncreative and predictable. Nowadays, I much prefer simple, practical expressions of love, gestures and actions that don’t necessarily come with Hallmark cars sentiments, but are far more eloquent.”

“I MAY have thrown a surprise party for the hubby on his 50th birthday, but he topped that some years ago when I arrived from a month-long fellowship in the United States and found that he had secretly enlarged and renovated the master bath. We had talked about redoing our narrow and cramped bathroom for years, but I never thought that while I was away, he would spend his bonus money on a home improvement project.”
“He swore the kids to secrecy, and when I called a few days before my trip home, asking him what he wanted for pasalubong, he told me to bring home red bath towels. They turned out to be the finishing touches for our new bathroom, which he had furnished with a gleaming new read bathroom. I walked into the house and was led directly to the master bath, and in the next few days, I would make every excuse to enter the bathroom, basking in my new, surprise gift.”
“My sisters and cousins in the States, hearing about the surprise that awaited me upon arrival, nearly swooned at the news. (Again, women our age swoon over bathroom renovations, not roses and champagne.) ‘Mabuti pa si Pie,’ they would sigh.”
“But my brother-in-law had a message for him: ‘Please tell Pie not to do something like that again, we’re beginning to look bad to our wives!’”

“BUT our husbands can’t renovate bathrooms everyday or even every year, and as the years roll on, even just holding hands in public seems beneath your dignity. For women of a certain age, and a certain inclination, romance must then be sought for, grasped wherever and whenever they can find it.”
“For me and a widening circle of friends and family, romance comes by way of “Koreanovelas”, the same serials that air over local channels but which we watch by way of DVD sets with English subtitles, to be followed at our own pace and at leisure.”
“Whenever my family starts ragging me about my current obsession over ‘Koreanovelas,’ I retort that each of us has our own obsessions but I never say anything about their fishing and saxophone playing, their Ipod downloading and fan fiction writing. ‘I don’t get on your case, so get off mine,’ I warn. ‘You should be thankful I don’t go ballroom dancing and employ a dance instructor,’ I throw in, though I must say that I don’t think there’s necessarily anything wrong with hiring men to dance with you.”
“ But I recently came upon a story that puts even my fascination with ‘Koreanovelas’ and their ‘spoony stars’ (as a badly translated blurb puts it) to shame.”

“A READER who likewise follows Korean romantic serials says she exchanges email with three US-based Filipinas, all of them members of a Singapore-based forum on Korean dramas and related topics.”
“ ‘Recently’, she writes, ‘I was roused from my sleep by one of my friends’ who wanted to know if she could help the friend find a taped copy of the soundtrack of the Koreanovela ‘Hotelier’ (which just ended on Channel 11, by the way), starring Bae Yong Jun, a superstar of the Hallyu or Korean wave. The friend’s mother, it turns out, has just passed away at the age of 92. Before her death, the old woman loved to watch Yonsama (as Bae is known by Japanese fans) in “Hotelier”, and before she passed away had requested her family to play the drama’s musical theme during her wake and burial.”
“ ‘She had also told her daughter that she wanted to meet the character in that drama in her next life!’ the reader writes. ‘My friend later told me that in the homily during her funeral, the priest also mentioned how the deceased loved the drama and the actor so much!’ ”
“And while she protests that she hasn’t yet reached this level of fanaticism, the reader says she was able to find the soundtrack and send it to her frantic friend.”
“Which gives me an idea. I had initially toyed with asking my family to use the theme from the musical “Rent” for my funeral, but the old lady’s request is tempting. Imagine going to meet your Maker with the romantic themes from your favorite serials floating in the air, images of the “spoony” Yonsama escorting you to the Afterlife.”
“If our husbands had any good sense in them, they would take this as a broad hint. We may protest that romance no longer holds any practical attraction for us, but like finding a stream in the desert, when you find the waters, you want to jump in and refresh yourself. Even if only on the small screen.”

That Singapore forum is actually and I 'know' the people involved. It was really quite incredible when I first read about the request then. But BYJ's powers are demonstrated not only in death but also at joyous occassion. Last year, Esther's son got married to the music from Winter Sonata. Looking at the video, we found out that he had proposed to his wife at Yongpyong Resort, Korea, following the necklace in the snowball scene. Only that instead of a necklace, there was a wedding ring in the snowball. haha!

Why has Korean dramas taken the world by storm amongst the women? Because we all dream of a prince charming who will sweep us off our feet, pledge everlasting love and look incredibly good looking whilst shedding those tears.

It is a good escape from the mundane world. And why should we not dream a little?

Anyway, coming back to romatic gestures. I've concluded that what looks really romatic in reel life doesn't really mean it is so in real life.

Take the church scene in Hotelier, where Ji Yung (SYA) fell asleep at Dong Hyuk's (BYJ) shoulders. I went like.."Orrr..., isn't that lovely?" when I saw the scene. It reality, is actually not that comfortable... for both parties. Even worse if that shoulder isn't quite 'broad' enough with the necessary..'meat' and you end up being 'poked' by that protruding bone.

Or that snowman scene in Winter Sonata. They both looked so lovey-dovey and sweet. But gosh it was so cold in the snow, I didn't last 5 minutes. All I could think of was getting back into the warmth and out of the freezing cold. Never mind building any snowman.

No, I'm afraid some romantic gestures are really confined to the small screen only. That doesn't mean there aren't any romantic gestures in my real life though. They're just different and like the writer said, they change as I grow *ahem* mature. Why just yesterday morning, my husband said one of the most romantic sentence to me:

"What would you like for breakfast?"



luvjoon aka chiligoyo said...

Tiffany..... I love this entry of yours. Believe it or not, it teared me up a little while I quietly read it in the office.

Many a times I immersed myself into the dramas so deeply, sometimes I can't help but compare the romantic reel guys with my fiance. Yes, I'm guilty as charged because I know this is not right. Know what? I'm going to drop him a card now. Thank you for reminding me, Tiff.

PS: Because this is a beautiful entry, can I have the permission to repost this into my private blog so I can always read back on your words? =)

bb said...

i like this post too. read it once in the office this morning, and had to come and read it again tonight...

thanks for sharing, tiff..

joycebay said...

Hi Tiffany
Thanks for this beautiful sharing, needs more great stories like this in our real world.

mishio said...

You had me at the first line - that quote is such a beautiful string of words. Like all your avid readers, love this one much as well. Thanks.

tiffany said...

Hi Chris

Of course, you can repost this on your own blog. : )

Thanks. Glad you all like the article. I was actually quite amused and found it interesting. Amazing how perspectives can chaneg when you get 'mature'. haha!

marissa said...

Hi tiff,

Thanks for posting this in your blog, it's been our joy to know that Rina Jimenez-David (a well respected journalist) is a fan of Yong Joon.