Isn’t it Romantic?

Story + Photos by Robin Fannon of RSVP Robin

What is romance to you? To spark ideas, we offer loving recipes and a few of Ocala’s happily-partnered folks share their views on this eternal question

It should come as no surprise that when I think of romance, my thoughts immediately turn to food. Food and beverages (especially champagne!) are sexy and romantic. Oysters on the half shell, lobster, slowly braised meats, tons of chocolate and fresh whipped cream are just a few items that would be on my romantic dinner list. Cook these delicacies together, enjoy the meal next to a roaring fire, while listening to anything by Mendelssohn, and that’s my idea of romantic nirvana.

I posed this romance question to several friends in the community and there was a common theme present in most people’s idea of romance. It has nothing to do with revealing lingerie or sexy time in le boudoir. Their responses told a story of relationships and how love weaves a way into our daily routines.

So while snuggling together on the sofa and watching Casablanca on a rainy afternoon can evoke a romantic vibe, it would appear that romance actually starts in the brain and then travels to the heart where it lives. So raise your bubbles and toast to romance this Valentine’s Day!

“For me, something romantic doesn’t have to be a grand gesture or a long planned event. It’s the small unexpected things that really hit home: coffee in bed, a hidden Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, a note in the car. Sometimes just sitting on the couch together, listening and talking about music and artists—in those moments there’s nowhere else I’d rather be than with my wife.” 

—Matthew Wardell


“I love the little things most—the intangible gifts, the sweet favors. Mike has always been my helper and my protector. His handmade birthday cards are my favorite along with his creative gift wraps for his well-thought-out packages. The best was when I came home from a long day at the store the week after Thanksgiving, this past holiday, and found he had set up the Christmas tree and decorated it for me. Fabulous! He really does it all and without being asked. I love unexpected little outings that are not planned, coffee and breakfast in bed every morning, random sweet or funny texts, and just knowing he’s always there. That’s romance to me.”

—Shannon Roth


“To me, romance is found in the everyday gestures of love. The fresh white hydrangeas Mike brings home to me every week. Cocktail hour on our front-porch rocking chairs. Dancing in the kitchen to John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman. Getting lost together for a few hours in the bookstore. Long walks in our neighborhood. There’s really nothing better.”

—Amy Mangan


“When I think of romance, I think about what the word originally meant in the Middle Ages when it was used to describe the vernacular—common, everyday speech. To me, that’s still what it means—the common, everyday ways that we say ‘You’re special to me.’ It’s a shared snort over an inside joke, a pitcher with two cold mugs after a long day at work, a call in the middle of the day for no reason. It’s a way of living everyday life that takes seriously the idea that someone else matters to you.”

—R.J. Jenkins

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