Photo: Michael Edwards
Ever hear the one about the guy who had peachy-pink peonies imported from Chile every February? Apparently, he wanted to guarantee his sweetheart a touch of spring each morning. Then there's that story of the man who kept his wife's kindergarten picture in his wallet, because they met on the first day of school and (even after 66 years together) that photo never failed to make him smile. Oh, and let's not forget my personal favorite: This one involves a woman who thought her boyfriend was taking her for a weekend in East Hampton. Work was high-stress and they were both pretty beat. "You know what? I don't feel like driving," the man said casually. "Let's head for LaGuardia and catch a puddle jumper." But as they approached the airport, he announced a little change of plans. "You'll be needing this," he said, and put a passport in her hand. The very surprised woman and her boyfriend didn't go to the Hamptons that weekend. Instead, he jetted her off to Paris, and there, in the courtyard of the Louvre, he got down on one knee and proposed.
All three stories sound like urban boyfriend legends. But Peony Guy does exist—he colors my hair. And yes, Virginia, somewhere outside Tucson there lives a 71-year-old gentleman who is still madly in love with the girl who taught him to hopscotch. As for Mr. Ooh-La-La, I saw the engagement ring with my own two eyes and—so help me God—that diamond was bigger than my high school.
When I recount the tale of my friend's Parisian proposal to Johannes (a.k.a. the father of my child, the love of my life), there is a thoughtful pause. I know he must be doing what I did—picturing the giddy hand-in-hand walk along the Seine, the caviar on toast points at dinner, Notre Dame glowing against a blanket of stars in the night sky. I sigh. He sighs: "Hey, do you remember the time I went out and bought the stuff that turned the water in your toilet that cool ocean blue color?"
"Yeah, honey," I said. "I remember."
I am a sensible woman. I keep Bactine in my medicine chest, an umbrella in my office, $200 in my sock drawer. I'd sooner remove my own spleen with a grapefruit spoon than buy a set of sheets that require ironing. I believe in practical shoes, low-maintenance hair, and whichever frozen peas happen to be on sale. I'm not entirely sure what a bodice is, but I can tell you that I don't want mine ripped. Still, I can't help feeling that there's something to be said for moons and Junes and Ferris wheels. I believe in the power of marabou, the brothers Gershwin, bubble baths in claw-footed tubs surrounded by a bazillion twinkly white candles. I believe in strawberries coated in dark chocolate and raspberries floating in pink Champagne. I'm glad Victoria has a few secrets. I think fireplaces should be lit, compliments should be paid, La Bohème should be sung, legs should be shaved. I want Lassie to come home, I want Ali MacGraw to live, and I want Gene Kelly to dip Cyd Charisse straight into next Thursday. I'm not proud of this, but in the interest of full disclosure, here it is: I am deeply relieved when Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan finally kiss. My name is Lisa, and I am a romantic.