A Fair Trade Book
Title: 1001 Ways to Be Romantic
Author: Gregory J.P. Godek
Author's Blogspot: https://greggodek.blogspot.com/
Author's video with Oprah, Donahue, et al.: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0f7PQV9zKaY
Length: 264 pages plus index
Quote: "If you have the right mindset, you can make cleaning the bathroom romantic; if you have the wrong mindset, you can turn a moonlit stroll onto the beach into a fight."
Right. I thought, "Oh, the fourteenth of February, the Official Commercially Marketed 'Hallmark Holiday' for Romance, has come and gone, so maybe I should schedule this book review for next year..." Then I thought, "Wrong. People who either forgot, or deliberately ignored, Valentines Day need this book for the rest of this year." Because this is a book about doing things that are fresher, more fun, more meaningful, and therefore more romantic, than just buying a Hallmark card in time for a Hallmark Holiday.
Godek explains on page one: "There are two kinds of romance: Obligatory romance. Optional romance. Both are important, and although my focus is on optional romance, beginners are advised...not to overlook the obligatory. But...[o]ptional romance is more genuinely romantic. Obligatory romance includes...her birthday...your anniversary...Valentine's Day. Optional romance includes: Everything else."
"Well, I'm Anti-Valentines-Day. I don't want a 'romantic' or sexual relationship in my life. I'm practicing celibacy...while enrolled in a strict traditional college or university, while doing military service or international 'volunteer' service, while unable to support a family...or because I'm asexual or postsexual...or because my sexual desires don't fit into my religious practice...or whatever." If that's you, then this book is not for you.
What a pity, because the fact is that the "optional romance mindset" works for sex-free kinds of love as well as for the "romantic" kind. Somebody should probably write a book about that idea. There's nothing wrong with surprising your parents, co-workers, boss, client, neighbors, even someone you don't actually know but whose work you admire, with a gesture of appreciation for them too.
The Washington Post once featured a cartoon strip in which a fairly typical Washingtonian said something like "I'm not 'unique.' I'm just like everybody else," and his friend said, "Does everybody send a Christmas card to the IRS?" But, seriously...as long as you do it in a way that expresses neighborly good will rather than a morbid stalker-type interest in individuals, you could send a greeting card, a letter of thanks, even a gift to all the workers in an office. Or the author of a book you enjoyed. Or the family across the street, your grandchildren's other grandparents, your third grade teacher if s/he is still alive, the next delivery person who delivers a package to your house, the driver of the city bus...
The suggestions in this book are, however, fairly specifically for couples. Although the spirit of "Let the gift find you," "No nagging, no complaining," and "Magazines from the month of his/her birth make great gifts" are for everybody, every page of 1001 Ways to Be Romantic is about erotic/romantic love, as distinct from the neighborly, family, or other kinds.
Which means that, additionally, if you were to sit down and work your way through this book, you would not get 1001 different suggestions. Some of the ideas repeat in very slightly different forms...and if they don't work for your mate, at all, they could become annoying. People who are allergic to chocolate and/or roses get tired of reading suggestions that these things are generally considered romantic. Some people may want to take Godek by the collar and growl, "Now hear this: Drinking alcohol is about as 'romantic' as eating soap. Don't make me say it again." Or even, "If she really loves me, she'll stop wasting money on commercial 'romance' garbage. Is that perfectly clear?"
No worries, though...even if you're married to one of those people, you will find suggestions for things you can do that s/he will love. Only not quite 1001 different ones.
As those who clicked on the video link know, Godek is alive and actively marketing the idea of reminding men to be more "romantic." So, 1001 Ways to Be Romantic is a Fair Trade Book. That means that when you send $5 per copy + $5 per package + $1 per online payment to either address at the very bottom of the screen, I send a clean secondhand copy of the book to you, and $1 to Godek or a charity of his choice.