Thursday, 17 November 2011

What Lovers Do

A friend last week after a glass of heavy red wine asked me what had been the most romantic moment of my life. Si tu, Caterina. Yes you, Catherine. You're the one who's travelled the world. You lived in Paris, Milan, then the sticky heat of Africa. Tell me. Dimmi tutto.

I hadn't a clue. I looked up at the building with its fluted edges, the autumn wisteria dropping leaves on the stones at our feet, and fossicked in my favourite handbag from a designer friend.

Well? Allora?

The thing is, I don't think I am very romantic. There is a stark, no-bullshit Australian side of me that cringes in the light of too much attention. I remember my ex gave me lingerie at the Xmas dinner table (picture the entire Italian family surrounding a skinny Parigina with Annie Lennox hair). I fled to the bathroom. That was when I realised I didn't understand romance, or romance Italian-style.

However in other contexts I confess to turning wishy-washy myself. I remember collecting a mass of scented petals in a park, driving to my lover's house to spread them on his back as he slept. Disappearing. Wanting him to wake up and say, What? How is this?

And then realise.


  1. GAH! Romance Italian-style is terrifying! What did you say when you finally came out of the bathroom??

    The need to put that in your next book. That is so romantic. I love it. But then again, I am a diehard romantic, but usually only my lovers have known that.

  2. I think I was bright red and stuffed the present under a cushion. The TV was always blaring so they had moved onto something else. I really can't stand the whole Latin Lover thang. It might work once with most women but then bleh!

    As for the petal scene - big sigh and long pause - it's probably best that our good friends and reading public don't realise what nutters we become.

  3. Romance is lying beautifully with conviction. Give me naked truth.

  4. I haven't experienced much in the way of romance, having spent these 24 years of my life tremendously single, but what I have experienced has made me feel both touched and a little bit embarrassed at the same time, specially when it occurs in public!

  5. Hi Rachel,
    I agree there is a lot of recital in romance. Sometimes you are up for it and sickly sweet yourself, but mostly yes I would also prefer the many naked truths of a partner, plus a cracking sense of humour! Hope you are cool, ciao cat

    Dear Hannah,
    Thanks for swinging by - and I made the carob slice last night just AMAZING. Grazie! Yes those lovely moments are to be savoured. It is gorgeous to see sincerity (not recital!) in another's eyes. Although I can't stand neediness or dependence, they send me running to the hills. I love your blog! Ciao cat

  6. Those petals are pretty romantic ... Except for that little aberration of yours, I'm pretty much like you, I think! I like the idea of romance but in the end am not very comfortable with it. Romance is my husband offering to drive me out to a girls do and pick me up hours later so I can have wine without worrying about driving. That makes me feel loved and cared for.

  7. So true WG! And after the big loves and the minor loving, this is the feeling one really craves. Not so easy to find though, and worth clasping to your heart!

  8. I do ... most of the time ;-)

  9. Hi Cat,

    Just to say congrats on the competition over at Betsy's!

  10. Ooooh, the flower petals are my kind of romance. The quiet, quirky sort. The unexpected.

    On the way home from the hospital with our newborn son in the back seat, my speed-demon husband drove like a little old man, turn signals and all. I think that's the most romantic thing I've ever seen, though it has nothing whatever to do with sex. Our child was precious to him, fragile, irreplacable. My throat still tightens when I remember that drive.

    (And congratulations on the query letter. A Betsy critique!!!)

  11. CONGRATS on the query letter. Well deserved. I'm with you on the romance, I have no idea about all that stuff.

  12. Dear Downith,
    Thank you! Hope your submission is going well too. Let us know! Ciao cat

    What a beautiful story, brought tears to my eyes. Yes, real touching romantic moments often have nought to do with sex. Gosh if I think of where those petals took me.. all that crazy craziness !

    Hi Bobbi,
    Yes I'm amazed, hope I don't get slaughtered out there tomorrow. Must catch up on YOUR book news!

  13. I'm not sure how I stumbled on your blog, but I'm loving it.