My Favorite Romantic Moment

This month on the Femmes, we’re talking romantic moments. This was actually tough for me because I’m generally not a fan of the grand, sweeping gestures that can be associated with a genuine “romantic moment.” To qualify as romantic in my mind, it doesn’t need to be someone hopping on a plane after watching Cuba Gooding, Jr. score the winning touchdown so he can interrupt Girl’s Night Out (hello, TIMING!?) to declare, “You. Complete. Me.”

Blerg, as Liz Lemon would say.

I am not a cynic, however. I have plenty of favorite romantic moments, but they’re on a smaller scale. I’ll take Jake Gyllenhaal’s “I wish I knew how to quit you,” over Jerry Maguire any day.

url When I think of my all-time favorite romantic literary moment, I go to the grandaddy of the “will-they-or-won’t-they” stories, Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.

GWTW is full of spectacle, fire, and romance, but there is one moment that gets me every time. Rhett proceeds to sweep Scarlett off her feet, kissing the daylights out of her and making her forget her precious Ashley—the man she’s loved her whole life. Yes, Rhett is just that good.

“Scarlett O’Hara, you’re a fool!”

Before she could withdraw her mind from its far places, his arms were around her, as sure and hard as on the dark road to Tara, so long ago. She felt again the rush of helplessness, the sinking yielding, the surging tide of warmth that left her limp. And the quiet face of Ashley Wilkes was blurred and drowned to nothingness. He bent back her head across his arm and kissed her, softly at first, and then with a swift gradation of intensity that made her cling to him as the only solid thing in a dizzy swaying world. His insistent mouth was parting her shaking lips, sending wild tremors along her nerves, evoking from her sensations she had never known she was capable of feeling. And before a swimming giddiness spun her round and round, she knew that she was kissing him back.

“Stop—please, I’m faint!” she whispered, trying to turn her head weakly from him. He pressed her head back hard against his shoulder and she had a dizzy glimpse of his face. His eyes were wide and blazing queerly and the tremor in his arms frightened her.

“I want to make you faint. I will make you faint. You’ve had this coming to you for years. None of the fools you’ve known have kissed you like this—have they? Your precious Charles or Frank or your stupid Ashley—”

“Please—”

“I said your stupid Ashley. Gentlemen all—what do they know about women? What did they know about you? I know you.”

His mouth was on her again and she surrendered without a struggle, too weak even to turn her head, without even the desire to turn it, her heart shaking her with its poundings, fear of his strength and her nerveless weakness sweeping her. What was he going to do? She would faint if he did not stop. If he would only stop—if he would never stop.

Well played, Rhett Butler. Well played.

So how will you be spending Valentine’s Day later this week? Comment below and let me know.

Joanna

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15 Comments

  1. Great scene, Joanna! Well, I guess I have to read the book! I’ve seen the movie a dozen times, but never ventured to open the novel.

    Hmmm…my kids read this in 8th grade language arts. Just what are they teaching in these schools, anyway?

    🙂
    Jaye

    Reply
  2. Phew, that excerpt! Fanning away here at 9am. Nice boost on a sick kid, miserable weather day…Do you know I’m not sure I ever read Gone with the Wind? Didn’t love the movie (a case of TSTL), but I may have to read the book and change my mind after this! Nice post, Joanna, thanks!
    Jenna

    Reply
    • I think you may like the book. Although one really does just want to shake Scarlett half the time. But Rhett is really all that and a bag of chips.

      Glad you enjoyed it!

      Reply
  3. Ooops, forgot about Valentine’s day: short answer, no idea! My valentine has been abroad for a week, so it’s not been discussed. Expect we’ll opt for the family dinner, since everybody’s been missing him. At present, I’m leaning toward going out so I don’t have to cook, but otherwise, I’ll make something “red,” like bolognese…cut my picky-eater’s grilled cheese in a heart shape. : )

    Reply
    • You just gave me a great idea, re: heart shape, for my daughter’s V-day lunch. PB&J hearts!!! Have a good one, whatever you guys decide to do.

      Reply
  4. Mia

     /  February 11, 2013

    Joanna,

    You just made me understand something. Congratulate yourself not many achieve this. Sorry sidetracked there – any way – Until this post I never ever understood “nobody puts Baby in the corner.” Swayze thought it was cheesy but everybody loved it. So it’s one of those you complete type lines in that case I’ll have to agree with him.
    Mia

    Reply
    • I must admit — I’ve never seen the entire movie of “Dirty Dancing.” It was a bit too schmaltzy for me, although I have used the “baby in a corner” reference many, many times. Some things just cross over into popular culture–even when we wish they wouldn’t!

      Thanks for chiming in! Have a great V-day.

      Reply
  5. The Book Gone with the wind is much better than the movie. It is a must read. One of the first that put me on a long road of romance reading for life.

    Reply
  6. Fun post. I never saw the movie and the book’s been in my towering TBR pile forever. That scene’s tempting me to move it up on the list.

    I’m not sure what we’re doing for Valentine’s Day. I’m just glad my son’s wrestling coach had the sense to cancel practice. 🙂

    Reply
    • Hi Emma,

      Thanks for weighing in. Definitely check out the book. I think a lot of people have preconceived notions on what it’s like because of the movie. It’s so much better than the movie!

      Have a great V-day, whatever you decide to do.

      Reply
  7. R.A. DeFranco

     /  February 12, 2013

    SIGH! Love that moment. Book or movie, it gets me every time! Although…in all honesty, I only read the book once several years ago. 8th grade required reading? Lord help me. My daughter is already a hopeless romantic. Now they are going to TEACH her to become one too?

    I go for the smaltz, I go for the intimate. I’m just a sucker for romance. I have found over the years that if a story doesn’t have even the slightest hint of romance, I lose interest.

    Reply
  8. Glad you liked my choice! I struggled with this, because there are so many books that get me every time. I almost chose a seen from Age of Innocence, by Edith Wharton, but it’s really more sad than romantic. I guess I’m a sucker for the no-happily-ever-after stories!

    Happy V-day!

    Reply
  9. Great scene. I, too, have to confess I’ve never read or watched GWTW. I have a copy on my bookshelf and everything. But after reading that scene, I really need to. Like RoseAnn, I lose interest if there’s not some level of romance in a story. Even if there’s action, I like the interaction between man & woman.

    Personally, I’ve never been a big Valentine’s Day fan. Maybe because I spent more years without a valentine than with. In my early twenties, a group of us used to get together to have an anti-Valentine’s Day gathering, which amounted to drinking and laughing. Somehow that seemed less disappointing and pathetic than hanging around alone.

    For this Valentine’s Day, I’ll be working and then spending an hour this afternoon with my son’s 4th grade class overseeing their party. This evening is Jazzercise for me and Easter choir practice for my daughter. Clearly I need Cupid to shoot an arrow my way.

    Reply

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