Too Old for Romance?

By Janey Womeldorf

Too Old for Romance?

My husband and I shared a really romantic evening last weekend. We had looked forward to it all week and can’t wait do it next week already. What was this heart-pounding event? On Sunday night, we ate dinner, rushed through clean up, and then cuddled up on our big, brown recliner to watch Downton Abbey together. It is entertaining, historical, humorous and addictive, and for that one hour, we watched, snuggled and devoured as one.

When we first married over 25 years ago, we thought the epitome of romance was to book a table at the Fondue Pot, get dressed up, order a special bottle of wine, and swoon over candlelight while eating gobs of high-fat, melted cheese. Calories and cost were the least of our worries – we were in love, and love is blind – at least for the first ten pounds anyway.

It’s funny, but as the number of our years together got larger, the checks got smaller. More often than not, celebratory dinners out would cause us to scrunch our faces about whether to go out at all. Italian is a prime example: Nothing oozes romance like cozy trattorias, low ceilings, dim lighting and the inviting aroma of garlic, but the problem is, I know how much a pack of spaghetti costs. Our kitchen may not have the ambience of a neighborhood restaurant but I’d rather light some candles, put on our Italian Love Songs DVD, and share a decadent glass of pre-dinner wine and bruschettas while rustling up a steaming bowl of garlicky, pesto pasta to finish the bottle with. Unromantically, this appeals more to our aging bodies than getting our shoes on, heading out, having someone else cook our pasta and paying for the privilege; besides, checks break the momentum. At home, the wine is cheaper, the evening can linger, and my husband swears my food’s better anyway. Bless him; 25 years and he still knows how to make a girl feel good.

As for our romantic night in front of the TV, the pathetic thing was we did three other things that weekend that were all contenders in their own right: On Friday night, we went rogue and tried a new restaurant. This may not seem risqué to some but gambling on a new place, on the one night of the week we eat out, is a big deal to us and cause for excitement. It felt young, daring and fresh, and for a few hours, so did we.

On Saturday, we went to the movies to watch American Sniper. It broke so many box-office records that it made the nightly news. Enquiring minds needed to know, so on Saturday afternoon we splurged on two tickets. We only go to matinees: One, they are cheaper, and two, we can’t stay awake for evening shows. The earlier showing turned out to be a blessing because the movie was so intense we had to go to a bar afterwards to decompress before going home for leftovers. Our Saturday was invigorating, refreshing and fun, and we were still in bed by ten. Perfect.

The next day, after our Sunday morning oatmeal, we went out for a long walk together – exciting on two levels: First, after buying only skimmed milk for two decades, we recently rediscovered 2%. It tastes so creamy and decadent, we grin like naughty school kids when we pour it on our oatmeal, and naughty can be romantic, right? As for long walks together, that never goes out of style.

All three of these things could have easily topped the romance bill, but it was cuddling up on Sunday night to watch Downton Abbey that reigned supreme: For that one hour, we forgot about our own lives and immersed ourselves in someone else’s. It was romantic bliss with not a fondue pot or check in sight.

Our grandparents met during the depression, and when they got married, their “honeymoon” consisted of a trip to their local diner. They had squirreled away just enough pennies to be able to afford a single root beer float. Penniless but happy, they sat at the counter, sharing their float, slurping and giggling away, as they celebrated their new life together. Over the years, their circumstances improved, but when it came to their anniversary, there was only one way they ever wanted to celebrate – over a root beer float. They shared 67 devoted years together and never lost the magic.

My husband and I have been married 25 years. Looking back, our most romantic moments were not the “staged” ones but the ones that were spontaneous and cost nothing. On Christmas Eve one year, we decided to sleep downstairs on the living room sofa bed and leave the Christmas-tree lights on, so we could wake up on Christmas Day morning and drink our tea under the magic of twinkling lights. Most Christmas memories have run together over the years but that one we’ll never forget. Another time, we had planned to go out for a picnic, but Mother Nature had different plans. Not to be defeated by the rain beating down on our windows, we moved some furniture, spread our blanket on the dining room floor and enjoyed our picnic at home. I can still picture it.

Nowadays, romance can be as simple as sharing guilty pleasures. Fortunately, once you turn 50, that’s pretty much everything: Alcohol, chocolate, cheese, anything with sugar in it and, of course, movie popcorn; nothing beats watching a movie whilst clogging up your arteries together. Life would be too dull never to indulge so we still do, just less often. The irony is, that’s what makes it feel wicked and, therefore, romantic.

We may not gush the stuff of sizzling, steamy, lovey-dovey novels but here’s the thing about romance – it can be whatever you want it to be. Once upon a time, it was fondue and candlelight, now it’s cuddling up to watch TV together.

Especially on a Sunday night.

About this writer

  • Janey Womeldorf Janey Womeldorf once went to work wearing different shoes. She now freelance writes and scribbles away in Orlando, Florida. It’s probably best.

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3 Responses to “Too Old for Romance?”

  1. Pam says:

    For us, our most romantic nights are almost always cheap or free and at home. We’re homebodies at heart, so when we do go out it tends to be to see friends or family. We cuddle up for Game of Thrones or Walking Dead, which now that I think about it sounds VERY unromantic, but it works for us!

  2. Janey says:

    So glad we’re not the only ones! Thanks.

  3. Rose Ann Sinay says:

    Ah, you’ve just described the perfect evening:) Cuddle way!

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