Jan 26, 2011

Romance from a male perspective

What I am reading: HOME: Alison Parr

What I am listening to: Wild Ride, Jennifer Crusie

What I am watching: The Wire

What is making me smile: My niece's engagement.

I thoroughly enjoyed Marion Lennox’s article in the current Hearts Talk “From a Male Perspective” in which Elliot Hannay convincingly explained why he thinks Last of the Mohicans is “one of literature’s great romances.” It was insightful and entertaining. I particularly liked the bloke’s take on the romantic high point when Elliot describes how, with both of them facing almost certain death in the morning, Hawkeye puts the ‘hard word on Cora.” Refreshingly to the point, with no romantic languishing of hot, seducing eyes or brooding presence or other such nonsense.

Of course, I then had to ask my own husband what he'd class as the greatest romance and with it, the romantic high point. G. looked hunted – this is a man who reads only science fiction and philosophy. Writers like William Gibson might be brilliant, but they are not great on love stories. After a few minutes of silence as he racked his brains, I tried to find a common language in film. “Hans Solo and Princess Leia?” I suggested. No! Farscape and Firefly didn’t cut it either. Ideally, he felt, love should have the elements of tragedy within it to prove how strong it is. Last of the Mohicans certainly had that.

This reminded me of the scene in Cross Stitch where Claire is captured by Jamie’s arch enemy, Randall, who wants nothing more than to imprison and torture Jamie again, before executing him. Jamie breaks into this enemy stronghold to rescue Claire armed only with an unloaded pistol and a great line in bluff. She hasn’t even been a good wife to him up to now, is only in this predicament because she ran away from him. Yet still he risks it all…. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, G. hasn’t read the book so couldn’t comment.

We went to the DVD shelves. English Patient? Strike. Casablanca? Strike. Finally he settled, somewhat grudgingly, on Pretty Woman because Richard Gere goes against everything he personifies to pursue his love for Julia. The high point is his arrival in the Cadillac with the flowers. “Because of the car?” (G.’s also an avid car lover). G looked appalled. “No, the car is awful but he’s doing it all for her. The car, the flowers, climbing the ladder, it’s all for her. He’s putting himself aside entirely and knows he’s always going to be stigmatised for choosing her but he goes ahead anyway. His love is truly pure.”

So here’s the question to ask the men in your life. Which is the greatest romance and what is the romantic high point? Or share your own views on the subject. For the moment, I’m going with Jamie’s rescue, though I admit, I’m also off to the library to get hold of Last of the Mohicans again and am quite prepared to change my mind.


  1. Well, I don't think my hubby's response is printable, lol. Not much on romance is dh. And definitely not something he gets deep and meaningful about.

    Zana, I can't really remember Last of the Mohicans (I only saw it the once at the cinema's) but I have a vague feeling it may have had an unhappy ending? I don't do unhappy endings, no matter how moving the romance is in the lead up.

  2. I'll have to come back to you about that but I agree about Pretty Woman - it gets me every time... shamefully I watched it while the kids were away in November... ON VIDEO hahahaha

  3. Hey Anita

    I had to smile about your husband's response! The Last of the Mohicans has a dramatic ending. SPOILER: it works for some characters, not others :)

    I agree - happy endings all the way for me too. All very well that some of the great love stories have tragic endings (Dr. Zhivago, Anna Karinina etc.) but I hate a haunting end to a story, especially if I loved the characters.

  4. Tash, VIDEO?! It'll be a collector's item in another few years.
    Funny how we have shameful movies we watch in secret. For me it's French Kiss!

  5. How about Terminator: Salvation for romance and tragedy. I know the central plot is rescuing the young Kylie Reese but what about the romance between Marcus Wright and Blair Williams?

    It's built on tragic circumstances, blossoms and ends in tragedy when Marcus sacrifices his future with her to save John Connor.

  6. Ah Kylie, confessions. Having been an enormous Terminator fan and watching all the others numerous times .... I realise I haven't seen this one! Now I'm reminded of it, I will go to the video shop forthwith! Thanks for jogging the lamentable memory.

  7. Oh Pretty Woman, it's one of my all time FAV movies!! Still love it!

  8. It's fascinating how Pretty Women struck such a chord. It all goes back to Pygmalion, doesn't it. What is it about the storyline that's so compelling, do you think?

  9. Darn, sorry to spoil the plot, Zana! I hope you enjoy it anyway.

  10. Don't worry, Kylie, given my memory, it will all be new in a few weeks time. :)

  11. Zana I think it's the cinderella theme - poor downtrodden heroine being rescued by the shining knight in white armour - who also happens to be super rich =)))

  12. Well, see now, I have an old VHS of Mohicans. I think it's far to say it's my all time fave romance. OMG. What a man!!!
    Totally love Pretty woman too. Richard and I are like *that*!
    But now you've got me thinking... What would my dh's top pick be? He doesn't read anything other than the paper and boating magazines but he does have his favorite movies.
    Must ask him tonight and more importantly ask him *why*.

  13. Hey Mel

    I agree - the rescue by a rich knight definitely has it's appeal - in any century :)

  14. Glad to hear your favourites too. Would love to hear what your husband thinks - quite an interesting sideline of this discussion has been the emergence of male reading habits! Looking forward to hearing what your husband comes up with!

  15. Bummer, Zana, my comment just got gobbled when our connection dropped out and naturally it was an incredibly profound and insightful collection of words that can never be repeated... ;)

    Anyway, I am going to have to go back and watch The Last of the Mohicans with Elliott's comments in mind! And your dh's thoughts on Pretty Woman were great, too, Zana.


  16. Coming in very late here, Zana, but I was introduced to Georgette Heyer by my Dad! He's loved some of her books (but not all of them) since he was a teenager, when he read The Masqueraders. He particularly loves the scene where Sir Anthony reveals that he knows Prudence is a woman and asks her to marry him -- a very strong and utterly romantic scene. Dad can still quote some of it!

  17. Have checked with dh and he votes for Dirty Dancing as the most romantic movie ever. Nobody puts Baby in the corner. :)

  18. Well, the vote in my household is for Darcy in Pride and Prejudice. He not only changes his behaviour in an attempt to woo the women he loves, but he pays off Wickham (who he has good reason to utterly loathe) to marry Lydia so his beloved will be saved from dreadful scandal, he humbles himself to Bingley to promote B's marriage to Jane. And then he proposes a second time! Boy does that man have it bad :-)

  19. Delayed responses - my previous got gobbled and I didn't realise! Emily, I'm a huge GH fan too but confess I don't remember that scene very well. What a great excuse to read that book again.
    Rach, I'm so impressed. Your dh watches movies with dancing! Most jealous.
    Michelle, isn't it amazing, whichever way one cuts it, Darcy so often comes out on top. Yay Jane. I often think how gratified she'd be if she could see how huge her books are, all these years later!