Raising the level of our romantic game

Raising the level of our romantic game

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When you’re meeting deadlines every week, dealing with angry clients, when traffic takes forever for an important meeting or when body parts that all worked together for all those years now seem to be pulling in opposite directions, it’s easy to let the whole notion of romance slip.

Sure, we have Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, birthdays and Valentine’s Day — well, you have Valentine’s Day.

I’m not a big fan of mass, romantic gestures on cue that support the card and flower industries, when we can make our boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands or wives feel special. But, much of the time, especially when we’ve got kids who have mastered the art of playing on our last nerve with the kinds of conversations that are soaked in sarcasm and disrespect, we might find it a tad challenging to find the time, energy and resources to raise the level of our romantic game.

And yet, one day our children, who just yesterday seemed to have absolutely no use for the opposite sex, have made that remarkable transition from whispering to each other about who they like to mustering the courage to speak to that person.

Recently, our daughter and her friends have been pulled into the whirlwind of an eighth-grade formal.

The communication network is extraordinarily efficient and reliable. Everyone, it seems, knows who is asking everyone else. It’s too bad they can’t add some algebra to the messages they’re all delivering to each other or, perhaps, a few Latin phrases that might be on an AP exam.

As an aside, it’s too bad meteorologists, who still seem to be living with egg on their faces from the big blizzard miss of 2015, can’t develop a forecasting model with the same level of middle school accuracy.

These kids seem to have taken a page from the birds on suburban streets, who sing loudly through the day, calling to their would-be partners to come share some quality time in their cheery, oak, maple and dogwood trees. One boy interrupted everyone’s lunch in the cafeteria, took a microphone and asked a girl to the formal.

Another suitor, who wanted to go to the dance with a softball player, took softballs and wrote one letter on each ball, to spell out “formal”?

And, speaking of sporting equipment, another courageous boy filled a girl’s locker with ping pong balls, which spilled out on the floor when she opened it. In the back of her locker, he’d put a note saying he finally found enough, uh, balls to ask her to the dance. She said “yes.”

There have been a few broken hearts and a few near misses, with a girl saying “yes” to someone just as another boy approached her with flowers. Those flowers suffered an unfortunate fate in the hands of the tardy suitor.

Learning that a boy she didn’t want to accompany to the dance planned to ask her at an after-school activity, another girl changed her plans and was suddenly missing in action.

Fortunately, it seems that, on balance, the anxiety level and frustration is considerably lower than the amusement these classmates have for this process.

As the boys are finding increasingly clever ways to ask the girls to the dance, I can’t help wondering if adult women and men find a similar satisfaction with a good romantic comedy or chick flick once in a while. The sound of those birds singing outside our homes may be just as recognizable and pleasant as a part of the courtship dance to men as they are to women — or indeed to the growing children.