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Diptych illustration of the 1920s couple meeting for the first time in the Chinese garden. The painting inspired by the Chinese Tea House at the Marble House in Newport, Rhode Island
**click illustration to enlarge**
(diptych watercolor on paper, 9X21 each painting, 2013)

"Love in a Chinese garden"

I suspect that deep down inside the majority of the Western population lacks romance. That's why so many people are fascinated with who is dating who in Hollywood, care about how Prince William proposed, and 'share' articles about love on Facebook. Of course, it could be just the women. Yep, now that I think of it, it is mostly women. Is it me or does it not seem quite right to you too that people spend time out of their own lives to read gossip columns about the romantic lives of others? Do they have so little romance in their own lives that they have to live vicariously through somebody elseā€¦

I was trying to figure out the other day why the 21st century society is so poorly equipped in this department. Society, as a whole, has forgotten about the importance of true romance, and about the importance of being spontaneous and original in their love endeavors. I believe it's because people stopped reading books! For generations (when they were not fighting wars or struggling for survival) young men and women learned about romantic love from literature. No more! In our time, modern men just kind of stumble around waiting for directives from their TVs as to where to take their women, what to give them as presents and how to sweep them off their feet 30-second-commercial style. Their female counterparts are also confused, mistakingly* believing that a bleached smile and the right style of high heels are more than enough to keep the romance alive**.

Ladies and gentlemen, please read some books. I'm not talking about self-help books on the subject. In most cases they are garbage. Read Remarque, Hemingway, or Marquez to start. Try to grasp the true meaning of love. Learn how to feel passion in your bones. Forget about many fish in the sea. Understand that with the right approach any fish can become the one fish for you, because true love and true passion could be ignited with true romance. Good luck!

*in most cases

**amazingly enough, it is enough for some men

"Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love."
Mother Teresa

"You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams."
Dr. Seuss

"If I had a flower for every time I thought of you...I could walk through my garden forever."
Alfred Tennyson

"A lady's imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment."
Jane Austen