Romance Through The Ages

As it's Valentines Day I thought I'd jump aboard the lurrrve boat and write a romance related post; more specifically, about what love and romance have meant to me throughout the different stages of my life. It's normal for our perception of something to change as we grow up and experience more of the world. Much like I look back and cringe at what I wore in my yoof (Argos jewellery/Reebok classic combos, double denim before it was cool, feather boas long after they were cool) it's also quite startling to recall what my definition of love and romance meant back then too.

When you're at school it doesn't take much. Holding hands on the way to assembly or being presented with a Bubblegum 'groovy chick' keyring from Clintons on Valentines Day was sufficient enough evidence that someone 'proper liked you'. When I was about 14 or 15, I remember a boy proclaiming his feelings towards me with a geography based anecdote. He said (and this is no word of a lie):

"Laura, you are my gravel." (Stay with me here) "All of the other girls are sedimentary rock and metamorphic rock. They get worn away. But you'll always be there because you're like gravel."

I remember that tenuous little speech, in which I was compared to an aggregation of small stones, with such clarity because at the time it was just about the most romantic thing anyone had ever said to me. That was until a friend told me to get a grip, reminding me that gravel wasn't just common but something that people tended to walk all over. That kind of burst my bubble. Unsurprisingly it didn't work out with Gravel Boy but I still think of that little spiel with a chuckle and an eye roll. I guess when you're that age, you can find the romance in just about anything if you persuade yourself enough.

As my teens progressed so did my standards - thankfully. Like most teenage girls, I was heavily into American, teen movies and soon began basing my ideas of 'the perfect man' on the likes of Freddie Prinze, Jr in She's All That which was, admittedly, aiming a bit high. Still, those teenage romances were the best. MSN conversations that went on late into the night when the words seemed to flow far more freely than they ever did when you'd bump into one another in the college canteen. DIY cassettes recorded off the radio. Butterflies in your stomach. Passing your driving test and spending hours in Mcdonalds car park laughing over chocolate milkshakes. Those relationships were often short lived but it was still a special time when romance did feel a bit like those American movies. It was something new and exciting and you were free to explore it with little or no pressure.

University was weird. I went through a big break up during that time so I was generally of the opinion that love sucked and all men were the spawn of Satan. Once I was single, I can't say that much romance flourished out of the nights spent in sticky floored clubs necking Cheeky Vimpto as if it was going out of fashion (it was). There were 'couplings' of course but I'm not sure they could be described as the romantic kind. However, quite a few of the couples I knew at uni have gone the distance; some of them are married now. I guess for some people, those are the years when you lay the foundations for your future. For others it's a time to experiment, go a bit crazy and see your last few years of responsibility shirking out with a bang (quite literally, for some). I was a big fan of The Arctic Monkeys at the time and that lyric 'there int no romance around here' probably sums up my uni years quite well.

In my mid-twenties I fell pregnant. But this time, it wasn't like the movies. There might have been a baby but there hadn't been any romance in that relationship for a long time. It didn't work out but (this is going to sound ridiculously cheesy) having Jack made me aware of a higher form of love. One where you put someone else entirely before yourself. My heart was too full with that to be worrying about finding a man and in between early mornings, nappy changes and sterilising bottles I didn't have much time for romance anyway. Dating was off the agenda unless it involved another mum and a soft play centre. And for a while that was all I needed.

Then Carl came along. We'd been following each other on Twitter for a while but the first time we met he was DJing in a bar and I was on a rare night out. Totally off my face on cheap Pinot, I staggered over to his box and slurred something along the lines of "'iyaaa, it's Laura, off of Twitter." He looked confused and a bit scared but with those immortal words a seed had been planted and now, two years on, we're still together. These days romance is found in the day to day. Letting me have a lie in while he gets up with Jack. Bringing me home a bar of Milka just because. Putting up with my horrific PMT. To quote another musician (because it's Valentines day and I'm allowed to talk through the medium of love song) 'it's not always rainbows and butterflies, it's compromise that moves us along.' I think there's a lot of truth in that. He's definitely not Freddie Prinze, Jr but he's still pretty cool. It's also his birthday today so if you're reading this (which I know you will be you blog stalker) Happy Valenbirthday, I love you.

Whatever your perception of romance is, I hope that you have a lovely Valentines day.


  1. That's was a lovely, candid piece, Laura. I guess we have to go through the different phases, trials and tribulations so we can appreciate the real thing when it comes along;-) Happy birthday to your other half for yesterday! x

  2. Thanks Kerry-Ann, I'm quite pleased that some of the phases are behind me! Thanks so much for reading and commenting :) x