This episode is about one of my favorite romantic tropes of all time: the grand--or small but meaningful--romantic gesture.
Stream NBC's Lipstick Jungle here
The Age of Innocence trailer
Elizabeth's thank you to Darcy and the second proposal scene from the 1995 BBC Pride & Prejudice
The breathtaking glider scene from Fifty Shades of Grey. One Last Night by Vaults is on constant repeat lately, and I can picture every moment of this scene when I hear it.
Go sailing with Christian and Ana. BTW, spoiler: he's going to buy you that vintage Tudor mansion later. Yeah, now that's a grand gesture.
Grand Gestures and the Little Things
There's a one heck of a meaningful gesture—actually series of gestures— in the movie The Age of Innocence —have you all seen this? If you like period drama, don’t miss it. It’s beautifully directed by Martin Scorsese, based on the novel by Edith Wharton.
Newland Archer starts to fall for his fiancée's cousin, Countess Olenska, who has just returned from Europe to New York. He buys up every last hothouse flower—specifically yellow roses— in his nighborhood one week to send to her, because he's falling in love and he can't stop contacting her.
What do you do with torrid emotions torward a gorgeous woman who isn’t your fiancé in the late Victorian era? You say it with hundreds of flowers of course! In a specific color.
I’m sure this will be a multi-part episode because I love this trope, this theme sooo much. I turn into pudding when I see it.
Grand or small gestures in romance are emotional gifts. They touch my heart because they say I see you, understand what makes you… you, and I'm going to put in effort to honor that, cherish you. Aand most importantly, show you.
It's not about fancy things, it's about the intimacy of these gestures. It’s sooo sexy…
I can't lie, the grand gestures of wealthy powerful alpha men like Christian Grey from the Fifty Shades stories are pretty dang amazing, though. My episode on the Fifty Shades movies is coming up soon. Get your fan ready.
One of my favorite grand gestures comes from the movie Fifty Shades Darker, when Anastasia Steele is under physical threat. Christian Grey whisks her away in the middle of the night to his gorgeous little sailboat and they set sail on the Pacific to get far away from any baddies. There's plenty of private space for hanky-panky and the most gorgeous mountain backdrop you'll ever see.
Now that's how to keep your love safe– If you've listened to this podcast before, you know that's one of my absolute favourite tropes.
Ohhh sizzling hot Christian Grey… He’s bossy and controlling at times but he can conjure the most incredible romantic gestures. I think the smaller they are, the more intimate and meaningful they are.
Like after powerful CEO Grey first meets Ana when she interviews him for the college newspaper. He’s intrigued, and turns it around and asks her questions about herself. He discovers that she's an English lit major and Thomas Hardy was her first favorite author.
And then this happens.
Romantic gestures say I see YOU and who doesn’t want to be really seen by someone they love? Here's a gesture from the movie Becoming Jane that I as a writer I absolutely love — I mention it in my Grabby Kiss episode.
It’s the scene where Jane Austen's lover Tom LeFroy arranges a meeting for her with a successful novelist, just so Jane can be encouraged in her writing career. OK, It wasn't totally selfless — Tom wants her to see that she can be married to him and have a successful career.
Female novelists weren't necessarily supported in that era, so that gesture gets my top prize for swoonworthy love. I see you, I understand what moves you, and I want you to be happy.
Ok, I had to visit the wayback machine for this next one. I clearly remember the power of these scenes from years ago and how attractive they made Andrew McCarthy seem — not that he needed any help.
Anyone else remember the romantic drama Lipstick Jungle? It was on TV about 10 yrs ago—-you can still stream it. I'll put a link in the show notes. It’s based on the novel by Sex and the City author Candace Bushnell.
It’s about three women in Manhattan, juggling powerful careers, friendship and their love lives. Andrew McCarthy plays Joe Bennett, a powerful and wealthy CEO who starts to fall for slightly ditzy but charming fashion designer Victory Ford, played by Lindsey Price.
Early in their relationship she sees one of her first designs, a hat sample, being bought from a second-hand clothing stall on the street. She tries to explain to Joe why it’s so devastating.
And then there’s this.
OK another phenomenal gesture from that show: Victory’s clothing design business is struggling, so she flies to Japan to try to set up a deal.
The scene opens with her on the phone from her hotel room in Japan with Joe in New York. She’s sad and tired and disappointed that the meeting hasn't gone well. She cries: I just want to be home!
Next thing you know — or so it seems — there’s a knock on her door. A hotel employee is standing there with her favorite treat, a cupcake, on a silver tray. He tells her that Mr. Bennett’s private jet is waiting for her whenever she's ready.
Oh the smile that creeps across her face. it would be on mine too.
Another one: Joe says to Victory: what about dinner tonight? I know this great little bistro… and where is that bistro, people of romance? That's right— in Paris. Not Paris Tennessee, Paris France.
Not satisfied with that grand gesture, he also rents out Coco Chanel's atalier so Victory can get her mojo back and be inspired by the workspace of this fashion legend.
Got to hand it to the writers – This is one hot trope come to life.
I think it reminds us of what people do when they love each other. not necessarily with swanky dinners or private jets but meaningful gestures of any size. Love is action.
There’s one small gesture in Discovery of Witches that sums up that love so perfectly to me.
I recorded this phone confessional a while back after I read about it in Discovery of Witches book one.
The witch Diana is in danger, so vampire Matthew whisks her away to his ancestral castle in France, where she will be safe —oh lovely trope!— but not before he notices what she keeps stocked in her cupboards in her rooms at Oxford, making sure that she has all those comfort foods and drinks waiting for her.
As a vampire he doesn't really eat or drink, so this is all about her. Oh man of my heart.
Of course the Original Grand Romantic gesture is Mr. Darcy anonymously paying Wickham off to save the Bennett family reputation in Pride & Prejudice. He’s already in love with Elizabeth and knows the situation would cause her a lot of embarrassment. He sees how important her family is to her. It’s life-changing for his love and the people she loves.
I’d love to hear about the small or grand romantic gestures of your life! Record a voice memo on your phone, click share and email to confessions of a closet romantic at gmail.com
Wishing all of us the gifts of loving, kind gestures, large or small.
Ok, time to rewind Christian Grey flying me… uhhh…Ana in his glider one bright morning just to make her day sweeter. Yeah, it’s the little things…
If you enjoy this podcast, hope you’ll consider clicking share from your podcast app, or telling a friend about it.
Special shout out to my listeners in India—hope you had a wonderful Diwali, full of joy and sweet gestures.
Find show notes with links to what I've been babbling about at confessionsofaclosetromantic.com
So nice to have your company…until next time, wishing you shame-free romance, chock full of the gestures your heart desires.