Wednesday, June 27, 2007

THE MANY HUES OF ROMANCE


Why must romance be bound by definitions and limits?

Vinita Dawra Nangia

Romance, who loves to nod and sing,
With drowsy head and folded wing,
Among the green leaves as they shake
Far down within some shadowy lake
-Romance by Edgar Allan Poe



  • Deeply dipping d├ęcolletage, dinner by candlelight and ardour in his eyes…… Romance?
    Yes, of course.
  • Walking hand in hand by the seaside, silhouetted against the sunset as you murmur sweet nothings to each other….. Romance?
    Sure.
  • Giggling together over nothing; shared chocolates, songs heard and sung together; fingers touched and snatched away; champagne and roses…. Romance?
    Mmmmm, YES!
  • Time spent together, full of love and mischief, but parting to go your separate ways, love locked deep in your hearts; a baby’s quivering dimpled bottom, pitter patter of rain, streaks of sunset colour in the sky … Romance?
    Ma…ybe.
  • A glimpse of knickers under Anna Kournikova’s tennis skirt; loving more than one person at a time, having no-strings-attached sex with a friend once in a while …. Romance?
    Ouch! Cheeni kum hai…But hey, WHY NOT?

Why must romance necessarily be something to do with love, togetherness and spending time with your lover? Like most things in life, why must romance be bound by definitions and limits? To the extent that when a website asked a number of romance writers to post their definitions of romance, each one defined it as the love story of a man and woman, their strength of character, trials and tribulations, and how they overcome these. Each author specified that a romance could only possibly have a happily ever after (HEA) ending!
But how realistic is that? The definition of romance changes with time. From medieval to Gothic to 18th century romantic poetry to early 20th century War romances, onto the Harlequin series and realistic romances – what a world of difference!
One way to measure this is to flick through a few romance novels. Pick up the all-time favourite Mills & Boons for instance. A few years ago, virginity was a pre-requisite and the main characters verbally sparred their way through the story till the end when they discovered their all-encompassing love and were allowed the first kiss… Swoon, swoon… how sweetly romantic!
Today, they start off as ‘fuck buddies’, move in together and the idea of marriage and HEA comes almost as a surprise! Virginity is not even considered, though fidelity is still a requisite.
Medieval romances were all about quests and adventure. Modern romance too is about quest – but an internal quest, a quest to discover yourself. Romance today is as much about your journey inwards – a relationship with self -- as it is a loving relationship with another.
Romance is no longer about waiting for the right time or opportunity; it’s about the here and now. It’s for you to find romance in every moment, every thought and every word. For, romance emanates from within you. If you keep waiting for the right time and place, it will just pass you by.
What are the feelings a romantic situation arouses? Romance is when you feel good about yourself and everyone around; when your good hormones are flowing and you love the whole world. If knickers peeking out from beneath a skirt seem kinda cute to you, then that’s your kind of romance! If you get addicted to exercise and look forward to your early morning walks, even that could be your experience of romance. Glaze gazing far out into the horizon with a blank mind could be as romantic as a bubble bath with your lover. Anything and everything that helps you connect with joy of living is romantic.
If you are willing to stretch your definition of it, romance is always in the air around you; you just have to sniff it out. It’s there in the leaf that just dropped to the ground; the trees laden with droopy, bright yellow amaltas; in the colours of dawn and dusk. It’s actually nowhere without; it’s within you.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

WHAT ATTRACTS A WOMAN TO A MAN

Looks, sense of humour and conversational skills are ok. But a woman’s biggest turn-on is an idea of the effect she has on you!

Vinita Dawra Nangia

What attracts a woman to a man? The usual reply: ‘A sense of humour, great personality and a sensitive, caring attitude’. The unusual reply: ‘Money and power’. What you will never hear is the actual truth. A woman is generally attracted to a man who is attracted to her.
There – the cat’s out of the bag -- the single biggest fear of fathers and husbands who become wary eyed the moment a man shows signs of being attracted to a woman!
And that’s why it becomes imperative that a man, if he is to succeed in the seduction game, compliments a woman on her looks, personality, her intelligence, eyes, hands, feet…anything!
Most women are so totally in love with themselves that the one thing that appeals to them above all is a guy who not just finds them appealing, but is deeply affected by them. Unable to fathom this, most sincere men may give compliments a miss, considering them too shallow to express their true feelings, and that’s where they make their fatal mistake. Just get this right guys, a woman wants to hear it all, all the time.
And, don’t just tell her she’s beautiful or gorgeous – she knows that and has been probably told so by many before you. What most men don’t realize is that a woman’s biggest turn-on is an idea of the effect she has on you! So go with, “You drive me nuts!” or “Do you even have an idea what you are doing to me?” or “I just can’t figure out the way time flies when I’m with you!” or “To me you are most precious; how does it matter what you wear?”
Just ladle it in guys, in huge heaps! Prefix this with what you may sneer at as mushy, overdone endearments (sweetheart, princess, darling, baby...) and you have a winner on your hands! No woman can resist a man who declares himself smitten by her. But do beware, once you have her hooked, she will be watching closely to see that effect doesn’t wear off ever.
A woman loves to know you are thinking of her at all times; convince her you do. Send her messages or call her at the most unexpected moments just to tell her even in the midst of all your work and engagements, part of your thoughts are with her. Never ever do anything to give her a feeling of rejection, such as cutting off her call or not getting back to her for a longish period. A woman needs to feel wanted and be your first priority all the time. She wants to be relevant to every aspect of your life; it gives her a great kick if you pose your professional dilemmas to her and involve her in a discussion. She also expects you to do likewise for her professional and social involvements.
Having said that, let’s not assume that just any man can get away on the strength of compliments alone. There are certain prerequisites a woman demands in a man. And no, looks is not one of them, though hygiene and grooming certainly are. A woman may be attracted to a good looking guy but she would be wary of choosing him as a partner. She realizes he would be attractive to other women too, and hence there’s more likelihood of him straying. And, loyalty is high on her list of requirements.
For ages women have been attracted to healthy, strong men who could be good providers. That still holds true, though today women also look for men who can meet their emotional needs. As discussed in an earlier column in this space, that’s the contemporary man’s dilemma – that a woman requires from him two opposite attributes – hardness as well as softness!
Of course a good body is always a beacon for the ladies. Here goes her wish list in order of priority according to a recent survey – strong, athletic shape; broad shoulders and chest; tight bum; a full growth of hair; sensual mouth; understanding eyes; strong chin and nose; flat abs and a three-day stubble! In fact the ladies even whisper about how a big nose, large hands and feet signify a big penis! Research however pooh-poohs such conjectures. It is also said that a man who dances well is bound to be a good lover; that could have an element of truth!
They say women are attracted to bad boys. A guy who is a bit of a scoundrel has immense appeal because of the element of unpredictability and danger he brings with him – it’s never boring with him because of the rollercoaster ride he takes you on along with him. And yet, however irresistible he may be, a woman seldom chooses a bad boy for a long term relationship, if she can help it.
Women aren’t genetically programmed to be aroused by the sight of male genitals, though it works the other way round for men – hence the popularity of porn magazines for men, and why porn for women never ever really took off. Growth of facial hair is directly connected to high levels of testosterone and hence is sexually attractive to a woman – the day your testosterone flows, beard growth is faster. Hence, a man with stubble looks like he is ready for action!
A man who is successful or bent upon improving his situation in life and has plans and goals towards that end, also attracts a woman. So, in short, a man on the move with great relationship and communication skills; is caring; and one who is never short on compliments, is a sure lady-killer!
Yes, you are right – tough! But not impossible. Whoever told you seducing a woman and keeping her interested was easy?