PERMISSION TO PLAY : Romance : #p2play


Welcome to PERMISSION TO PLAY! For late Spring and Summer of 2013, Chel Micheline will be hosting a creative challenge (a sort of  “summer camp” for your inner child here) at Bliss Habits every Tuesday. And she’d love for you to join her.

All you have to do is this:
Once a week, every week, make the time to HAVE SOME CREATIVE FUN– something that allows you to let go, drop the inner critic for a while, and just have fun.

Every Tuesday, we’ll do a little “show-and-tell” about our creative experiments- you are welcome to leave a comment or link up to your own blog post about your adventure. (If you want to know more about PERMISSION TO PLAY, click here.)  And since today is Tuesday … here we go!


“Is this not the true romantic feeling;
not to desire to escape life,
but to prevent life from escaping you.”
– Thomas Wolfe

As I have mentioned before, Romance is a tough topic for me.

I was raised in the 1980’s, and the examples of “Romance” I grew up on were David Lee Roth leering at scantily clad ladies in Van Halen videos, bedazzled couples smooching on the Lido Deck of TV’s “Love Boat”, the stack of Harlequin romance books my grandmother had, the champagne glass-shaped hot tubs up in the Poconos (those commercials were always on!), and the awkward “kissy” scenes that would sometimes happen in the movies that my mom and dad took me to, which always induced giggles from me and squirms from them.

My parents were and still are very much in love, but they were extremely reserved about it. I guess that’s why I believed *real* love was quiet.

Bottom line: I had no real concept of romance besides a weird smattering of glossy, “sexy” examples coming from media. All I knew for sure was that “Romance” was for “Grown-Ups”. I guess herein lies the issue, because while I fully embrace and enjoy being a grown-up, I have never considered myself a ‘Grown-Up” kinda grown-up. No fancy jewels, no sedans parked in my driveway, no glossy lipstick and moonlight cruises on fancy boats. I’m just not really interested in that stuff.

So when it came down to figuring out what the heck I was going to do this week for Permission to Play, I realized that in order to “play” with the idea of romance, I better start at the beginning and figure out why my inner child had such a “no way!” reaction to anything remotely romantic. I mean, all little kids do- when my daughter sees kissing on TV, she loves to howl out loud and say “ewwwww!”

But my reaction is more than that- it’s total, flat-out rejection. It just screams “FAKE” to me. It still makes me squirm.

… However…

…the idea of romance can be quite cunning. Not long stemmed red roses and heart shaped boxes of waxy chocolate and soap operas, but more the idea of romance as small, intimate, cozy, affectionate. A bunch of peach and pink old-fashioned roses bundled together in a tiny silver cup on a polished wooden table, curtains flapping in the breeze, two people holding hands, sharing an inside joke, splitting a Kit Kat at a weekly movie date with your significant other.

Instead of “Romance” as a grand gesture of LOVE, I realized I needed to start looking at it as small *opportunities* of happiness, small moments of affection, small sparks of connection.

See that image above, of Mickey and Minnie? That was likely one of my first exposures to romance. It still tickles me to see images of Mickey and Minnie together because for some reason it doesn’t set off the “blech” in me. Instead, it makes me think “awww, how sweet!”

As I was thinking about romance this week, the image I kept returning to in my mind was of Mickey and Minnie, holding hands. I’m not saying Mickey and Minnie are exempt from the “media perpetuated” thing, but it appeals to my inner child in a way that most romatic things don’t. There’s sweetness to it that just makes *sense* to me. There’s no flashy sports car of moonlight cruise or Van Halen songs playing.

So this week I looked (and will continue to look) for ways to make every day life a little sweeter, a little cozier, a little cozier, a little more authentic and loving. Things that not only improve my well-being, but don’t make my inner child howl in mock disgust.

How has your idea of “romance” changed from when you were a child? What were your earliest memories of romance? What about right now, what’s your idea of romance? I’d love to know.

It’s never too late to join in. Simply have some creative fun and get ready to share it next Tuesday. You can leave a comment here or create a blog post over on your site and link it to Bliss Habits on Tuesdays. We’re even on Twitter: Kathy added a # to p2play to make #p2play for twitter! Share your creations there too! We are @BlissHabits (Kathy) and @GingerblueArt (Chel) if you’d like to copy us too!

Here’s a banner you can put on your blog:


the code for this badge (just copy/paste into your own blog):

<a href=””><img alt=”playchallenge” src=”” width=”200″ height=”142″ /></a>

Chel Micheline is a mixed-media artist, curator, writer, and avid gardener/reader/swimmer who lives in Southwest Florida with her husband and daughter. When Chel’s not making art or pondering the Bliss Habits, she’s blogging at (come say hi!) or posting new things in the gingerblue etsy shop.

6 thoughts on “PERMISSION TO PLAY : Romance : #p2play

  1. Meg Toledo says:

    This is awesome! I always thought romance and passion were the same thing. When I was in middle school, I remember pretending it was some long centuries-ago time, and my (imaginary) beau was far away, pining for me, maybe at war, or something, and would send letters via pony express to tell me how he couldn’t wait to come home to me and kiss me passionately. Sure, romantic enough, in theory, but in actuality, I’ve lived the long distance thing with my husband twice now, and I don’t recommend it, only because it’s so painful. The best is when you’re together! Now, things that strike me the most romantic are the small things. I love when my husband buys me my favorite chocolate just because, or loads books he knows I’ve been wanting onto my Kindle for me. One time he picked me some flowers outside and put them in an empty water bottle. And one of the sweetest, most romantic things he ever did was to draw a comic book type of booklet of us, drawn to the lyrics of a song we both loved to sing together. That was also one of the first things he ever gave me, and he seriously stole my heart. It’s been nearly 16 years and we’re still in love. I feel like those are the romantic things I do for him, too, the small things – getting his favorite candy when I see it, any small gesture that shows “I’ve been thinking of you.” It’s sweet, and like you said – it’s about connecting. That’s what romance is for me, that sweetness, that close love. And I agree with you, Chel, Mickey and Minnie are wonderful symbols of romance!

    • It’s funny to me how cultural romance is. I guess I’m choosing to embrace the cultural dynamic of “Mickey & Minnie holding hands” kind of romance. Less about champagne and sweat and more about smooching and affection and fun. It feels more “me”. I think romance has always been about companionship for me. True affection, friendship, but also a secret little spark.

  2. “*real* love was quiet…” I like that, Chel. And I think that can be quite true. It’s often the small gestures that win me over the most. My parents loved each other, and were pretty demonstrative about it… But there was a lot of dysfunction between them too, so I never really understood how it all worked, or what was the glue that held to very, very different people together. They separated at one point, divorce, and later got back together… so love won there somehow! I never experienced a lot of what would be considered romantic. I’m not pretty, so I was never told I was beautiful, things like that. The usual gift of roses, etc. are lovely, and who doesn’t like such thing. But I love when my hubby makes me a cup of tea, just how I like it. Or that he cleans up in the kitchen after dinner in the evening. No asking for help, he just does. And I try to do those “little things” for him too. It’s the quiet love that beats loud, I think! :o)

    • Tracy, you are beautiful! Please know that. You radiate beauty – I see it in all your videos. I, too, love simple gestures. Just extra *kindness* is sometimes overwhelmingly romantic to me, when Tom will come out to ask how my swim was or check on me because he *wants* to- he wants to connect with me. I love that stuff. So much better than calling a florist and giving a credit card number and letting them take care of the thought (not that I don’t love roses, but I’d rather a small rose bush than a dozen roses!)

  3. Romance is a tough one for me too…for a long time I thought romance = sex. My parents were/are not overly affectionate, especially my mother. Growing up I know that they both worked extremely hard to provide for our family and provide the extra things that my sister and I wanted to do (dance lessons, soccer, etc) I don’t think they made much time for each other or it happened after I was in bed at night or not around. That’s what happens with my husband and I now…Romance comes in the form of us holding hands while we watch Hawaii 5-0 on Monday nights or a dinner someplace that we can’t often go to because our kids are such picky eaters ( that place could even be Noodles and Co, a fast-ish food place in our area). It’s definitely the little things because we are very different when it comes to the big parts of our personality. I am more of a home body, someone who likes to stay close, relax, read, enjoy nature, make art. He likes to be out and about, dreams of seeing the world, has a hard time sitting still, enjoys nature by taking miles long hikes…

    • Exactly- romance is what you make it. I think it’s just staying connected. Tom and I and Gracie have carved our own little family life and rituals out, and just doing those it’s so fulfilling to me. It may not be grand adventure, but it fills my soul.

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