Saturday, 21 June 2008

Real Romantic

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HollyGL recently posted her favourite romantic movie moments on her blog. I couldn’t think of a good movie quote to add to her list, since she’d already used up my favourite movie moment ("As Good as it Gets"). In fact the only thing that popped into my brain was Sadie Shapiro offering advice on true love. I was going to simply post that onto Holly’s blog, but it kind of grew along the way.

Now I must confess up front that I’m not really an enthusiast of Romantic Movies. I don’t enjoy most Romance novels either. I never was the type to watch weepy movies or see the point to unrequited love, like Romeo and Juliet. I think I’m more a real romantic, like Sadie. Real romantics understand that beauty lies in simple things. A real romantic knows that sometimes the world’s greatest moments take place unseen and unnoticed… except by two.

So who is Sadie? Sadie is a character in a book, but she’s also so much more than that. She’s the voice of every mother, aunt, older sister and grandmother you ever knew condensed down into one smart little old lady who knows the difference between true love and fake.

I found Sadie in the pages of a book called “Sadie Shapiro’s Knitting Book” about a decade ago. That funny heart-touching character summed up all any good girl needs to know about love and romance. She was created by a man named Robert Kimmel Smith… who must have had some truly remarkable women in his life to have managed to create a character as charming and alive as Sadie.

Sadie gave me the second best advice on love I’ve ever had. The best advice I ever had came from a real woman - Mrs Rosman. We met in hospital… where I was visiting, but she was dying. It was such a short time of meeting and knowing, but within that short time I was honoured to come to know another great woman… with great advice. I owe thanks to both those women, fiction and real, for they led me to the man I married.

Mrs Rosman’s advice was simple – DON’T SETTLE FOR SECOND BEST. I can still see her sitting back against the hospital pillows saying “I said to my daughter exactly what I’m saying to you - NEVER settle for second best in a life partner. No woman with any brains compromises on buying shoes, but they’ll compromise on who they’ll marry? It’s stupid! Being single isn’t half as bad as living forever with the wrong person. If you can’t find the best – stay single. If no-one asks you out – stay home and read a good book.”

…which is what I did, come to think of it. ;-)

Ten years after meeting Mrs Rosman I met Sadie Shapiro and she in turn summed up exactly what my heart had been trying to tell me. Unfortunately I no longer have my copy of the book, I left it behind when I moved countries, but I can remember enough to explain Sadie’s point of view. In the book Sadie tells a young single woman stories about love and romance. How true love is a man who gets up in the middle of the night to get you an extra blanket, because he knows you’re cold. Simple things, taking place unseen and unnoticed… except by two.

When I read that story I knew that was exactly what I wanted. A man who sends you flowers and sends love poems may make your heart flutter, but the man who thinks of your needs and is always there for you… THAT was what I found really romantic! I knew who I was looking for and I knew I wasn’t going to settle for second best. I knew being happy and busy as a single person was better than compromising and marrying some “almost good enough” man. No man deserves to be thought of as “second best”… no woman deserves to compromise.

So I kept busy, found ways to be happy single, and waited with an unspoken hope. When I met a stranger on the internet I had my first hint that he might be “the one” when he showered me with sincerity and kindness rather than cards and gifts.

I had no doubts when I said “Yes” to marrying him, but I went out to Scotland to meet him to quiet any doubts and fears our families and friends had. .

On one of the first mornings of my holiday he took me in his arms, ran his hands in a gentle caress down my back, looked deeply into my eyes and said, “You’re not wearing your thermal underwear! It’s cold outside – go put it on.”

…and I knew I’d found the kind of man Sadie would have approved of. ;-)


*Delightful update*

I started writing this post earlier in the week. I had hoped to add the actual quote from the book “Sadie Shapiro’s Knitting Book” and did some Google searching. The bad news is I never got my book quote, but the good news is that I found Robert K Smith’s books are on sale at Amazon and… I found Robert K Smith himself! He has his own website, with email. I sent a short email saying I was a Sadie fan and received a lovely warm email back the next day. Turns out he has had two great women in his life at the very least. He was married for 45 years to one lovely wife (who sadly passed away from cancer) and now is married again (8 years) to another wonderful woman.

8 comments:

  1. Michelle, I love this post. ...and I agree completely that it is all about the little, subtle, often unspoken things when it comes to real, "true" love. Its when someone not only notices the nuances about you, but remembers them in a loving way to help you navigate life. *sigh* :)

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  2. LOVE THIS COMPLETELY!!!!! And I'm glad you managed to find Robert K Smith!!! ;-D

    I guess my best advice came from my Mom. Mom told me that it was better to be with someone who TRULY cared about us. And that advice stuck in my mind ever since.

    And the reason I chose hubby was also 'coz of the same reason you chose yours...he really paid attention to my needs.

    The day he fell down on ice on our first meeting in Finland and twisted his arm, he came back home after visiting the health care centre. I told him, "Awwww...I'm SO sorry. The bruise looks SO nasty!" (he couldn't get his arm straight for a few days)

    He said with a smile, "At least I'm glad it's not YOU who fell down."

    I went SPEECHLESS he he he he he he he he he he...I guess that was one of the moments that made me felt surer he was the one. ;-D

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  3. Ok seriously, I love this post, but have a hard time relating to it because of the name Sadie.

    Sadie is my step-mother-in-law (husband's step-mom) who... let's just say we are so grateful to not have lived in the UK or somewhere near her :) So you can see why I can't relate Sadie to any good romantic love.

    PS: You married a great man Michelle.

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  4. There's a lot to be said for getting to know someone online before meeting. The risk of anti-climax is great, but if the sparks fly it's like you've known this new person forever. Worked for me!

    Russell

    (Less than three months to the wedding now...)

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  5. Love, indefinable love!Amore, impossibili a definirsi!

    G. Casanova

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  6. Lovely post, as always, Michelle!
    When I read the name Sadie, the first thought I had was of Sadie from Funny Girl ("Sadie, Sadie, married lady") :-)

    I'm another internet love story, and one which led me to move from one country to another (late in life too!)

    I knew, after reading the first sentence my husband wrote to me, that I'd found somebody special, and all the sentences which followed, over several months, confirmed it - still do so! :-)

    I'm convinced that, for some people, (and I think it takes experience of life to avoid frauds...there are many on the net) the internet can serve as a magnifying glass, or x-ray machine - rapid insight not always accessible initially, face to face, seems easier come by on-line.

    So nice that you found R.K. Smith again via the internet too!

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  7. No man deserves to be thought of as “second best”… no woman deserves to compromise.

    AMEN!

    Great post Michelle. Thanks for sharing it. I'll have to remember the thermal underwear pick-up line when I run across that special someone - LOL

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  8. Holly
    You summed that up beautifully. "Its when someone not only notices the nuances about you, but remembers them in a loving way to help you navigate life."

    Hi Amel
    You've got a smart mom... and a hubby who sounds a real sweety! :-)

    Mother Hen
    Re my hubby. yep. He's one in a million and I am lucky. :-)
    As for the name Sadie. LOL yeah, I have some names I hate because of past (bad) memories... and for some reason every Colin I've ever known was a complete eccentric.

    Hi Russel :-)
    I read somewhere years back that internet marriages have a way lower failure rate than other kinds of relationships also. Definitely the key lies in the fact you can get to know each other better through writing than through usual dating.

    ...and sending loads of good luck vibes for the coming wedding! :-)


    ROSA
    Thank you, Merci, gracias, dankie. :-)

    Twilight
    You too? I wondered how you ended up on the far side of the world. That has to have been quite an adventure story as well as a romance. :-)

    You said:
    "I knew, after reading the first sentence my husband wrote to me, that I'd found somebody special, and all the sentences which followed, over several months, confirmed it - still do so!"

    Lovely and exactly how it was for me and my hubby too. :-)

    "rapid insight not always accessible initially, face to face, seems easier come by on-line."

    Very well said! I have an internet friend (Gemini) who had a similar thought. She said she felt internet friendships were stronger as well - for the similar reason that here we are stripped of gender, status, race, culture and can only express our true selves through words. We become closer to our core self than in any other medium.

    PV

    "I'll have to remember the thermal underwear pick-up line when I run across that special someone"

    LOL :-D

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