Romance in the Real World
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.