Valentine’s Day is approaching. That means red foil-wrapped chocolates, roses, hearts, Cupids, big red kissing lips. Endless planning for romantic dinners with Champagne, dancing, an evening of unspoken desires, or maybe spoken—I guess it depends with whom you’re spending the evening.

First, some questions. Who is St. Valentine? Who or what is Cupid? What makes dinner romantic? Is it the “love intent,” candles, wine, getting dressed up? Well, what the heck is romance? Is it a noun, verb, adjective, or all.

I started doing research. Holy mackerel! There’s more than one St. Valentine, and they all got killed as martyrs and were associated with the church. Then there’s this pagan celebration that took place way before St. Valentine’s Day on February 15 that is so raucously rated “XXX.”  Some say that celebration prompted the choosing of February 14. Very confusing. Then there’s Cupid. Is it a baby with wings, a boy toddler? He is the son of the love goddess Venus and the god of war Mars!  Now, there’s a match made in heaven! Oh, the bow and arrow. If you get pierced by one of Cupid’s arrows, you will become wrought with uncontrollable desire, I assume for another person. How did this little archer get involved in a celebration of sexy romance with a celibate saint? I’m shaking my head.

Moving onto romantic romance. It starts with the Latin word “romanicus,” then it moves into Old French, something something European medieval chivalry. Lots of stuff about knights and maidens, and gentlemen throwing their cloaks over puddles. Does anyone wear a cloak? Dracula? Oh, I also read that he’s considered oddly sexy and romantic!?  Sorry, I got completely lost, then lost interest. All in all, it seems to be about attraction, love, desire, and definitely sex and red satin fabric.

I decided to delete all that research from my iPad and define romance according to St. Bonnie. Actually, I think I like St. Boneldo. So here goes. I am not what Webster would call romantic, or “a” romantic. The men in my life did not romance me. My first longtime boyfriend thought romance meant riding on the back of his motorcycle while my feet and legs went numb and I ate a variety of flying insects. My second boyfriend was Irish and only shopped at the “stuff from Ireland store.” Everything he gave me was either green, clover, Claddagh, or Belleek. The first Christmas gift I received from my husband was a new range. Maybe cooking meals for him could have been romantic, but grease splatters! Ouch! I’m not trying to burst anyone’s bubble. But I can only share my experiences. I don’t write fiction.

Recently someone asked me that annoying question, “if you could have dinner with anyone alive, who would it be and why?” I lifted my head, rolled my eyes, and stared into oblivion. After about 30 seconds there he was. OMG! Overwhelming my mind’s eye. The epitome of romance, maybe because of all my recent research. Magnum, Jesse Stone, Peter Mitchell, Matthew Quigley, Frank Reagan! A mustachioed Atlas, supporting the world of romance! TOM SELLECK! Finally, romance defined, at least to me, and so age-appropriate.

I have always been a fan of Tom Selleck. I met him back in 1984 in Waikiki, Honolulu, Hawaii. Magnum

P. I. was on CBS television. I worked for CBS Records, all part of the CBS Inc. conglomerate family. CBS Records had this massive worldwide convention that year at the Waikiki Hilton. The international division was hosting a party at the property known as “Robin’s Nest,” the estate where the show was filmed. We’re all standing around partying, having an absolute uproarious time, when all of a sudden a helicopter comes in and lands! I had very long hair, was holding a drink, the wind from the chopper blew my hair across my face and I had no idea what was happening. Lots of cheering. I finally gathered up my hair and there he stood. That Titan, in practically daisy duke shorts, white no less, with a Hawaiian print shirt. Seriously?!  I think I may have dropped my drink. My memory is still clouded.

OK, I’ve regrouped from the memory, although I admit my heart is still aflutter. Hierarchy staff was looking for my boss, the President and CEO of CBS Records Group, for photos and a meet and greet. I found him, yanked him over to meet Mr. Selleck and other cast members. Mesmerizing. That’s the word. Thick, another word. Tom Selleck was thick. His hair was thick curls, his mustache was thick, his eye bows, arms, and exposed thighs. He was tall, muscular, and imposing. He generated this dimple-embedded smile, from behind piercing brown eyes, as he shook hands. Anybody got a fan? We were introduced. His massive hand engulfed mine as he shook it. He towered over me, and I’m 5’9”. After an invitation, the next day I attended a taping of the Magnum P.I. show. I didn’t have any interaction with him, I just watched and observed. What I saw was this extraordinarily handsome, breathtaking manly man exuding a very kind and gentle nature towards everyone on the set. He seemed fun, happy. I felt like I wanted him to be my friend more than any romantic entanglement. So, over these almost four decades I have watched him in movies, television, interviews, moderately following his career. Didn’t matter if he was a cop, investigator, cowboy, or an architect. For me, he never lost that quizzical spark hidden behind that massive mustache and dark eyes. I even took out a reverse mortgage assuming he would come knocking on my door to sign papers. Instead, some guy from Scarborough named Jerry showed up. He was nice, but no Tom Selleck!

In closing, I conclude that whatever romance is, or whatever is romantic, and whatever is required to achieve it, is interpreted by each individual. I never experienced the real deal in real life. But I sure have had the full package fantasy. In answer to the annoying dinner question: Tom Selleck. And why? Because I think he would be a really good friend.

By the way, since he plays the police commissioner in New York City, and rocks that three-piece suit as much as he did those daisy dukes, I would absolutely meet him atop the Empire State Building for a tête-à-tête. He has aged so gracefully. According to St. Boneldo, it doesn’t get more romantic than that. Happy Valentine’s Day.

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