Sunday, December 14, 2008

Dancing in the Dark

"A light rain helps"
--Harrison Ford on romance, from Dancing in the Dark

No, not Bruce Springsteen (although I love that song, I have to say…) This
Dancing in the Dark refers to the book that E. Kay Trimberger calls Isn’t It Romantic in The New Single Woman. The title is different, which I don’t understand, but it’s the same book. At any rate, I read it. It’s sometimes corny, at times enjoyable, at times a little embarrassing, and very, very asexual. It discusses, in hyperbole that even I envy, the romance that its author, Barbara Lazear Ascher, finds in bird-watching, architecture, pastries, paintings, typewriters, a singing class, and so on. Romance isn’t sexual for Ascher—it’s exhausting. For example, Ascher takes four days off to fly to Madrid, go to the Prado, and burst into tears upon seeing a Van der Weyden painting. She then stands in front of a Velasquez for hours. Oddly, this just made me wish I lived in New York, as Ascher does. My own beloved museum, London's Tate Modern, would only be a (tolerable) 7 hour flight away, instead of an excessive 12 hour one. However, with the Met in my own backyard, what need would I have of any other museum? As much as I love the Met, though, I can't imagine there's anything in there that would make me cry.

But, like I said before, Ascher's definition of romance is my favorite so far. For better or for worse, romance is a prominent theme in our culture. So it's heartening to know you can find it with an owl or a typewriter. If it's romance you want, you don't need to wait for a partner-- you can go out and find it by yourself, which I think is a nice idea. It's an unusual book, but a sort that I value. It gives a minority report, so to speak, of desires and longings that aren't often described.

When I went to Madrid, the Prado was closed. Maybe I should have waited around.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That book sounds interesting. I also really like the idea of romance being something you can find in the world without a partner, although I wouldn't have thought to call it romance.