As a teen in the early 1980s, I got hooked on The Guiding Light (God rest its soul). My friends and I rushed home after school and watched it together while devouring tremendous amounts of junk food. Thus began my love affair with the Soap Opera.
I went on, during the course of my life, to watch six or seven different Soaps (not all at the same time), and to this day I still record The Young & The Restless, which just celebrated its fortieth anniversary last month.
People love to bash these shows and make fun of their fans, but I think they offer a few insights into making regular life more romantic.
Dressing Up Each Day
Ah, the glamour of the soap diva, decked out in her trendy clothes and fabulous hairstyle. Whether at the local coffee shop, at work, or even just in her house awaiting company, the woman looks darn good. She’s not wearing comfy yoga pants to the grocery store, or hiding under a baseball cap. She’s making an effort to look her best, and in return she gets complimented and probably feels a little better because of it. On the rare days when I make an effort, I feel a little peppier all day. The boost spills over into everything I do, making the extra ten minutes it took to throw on “real” clothes, a dash of make-up, and a pair of earrings worth it.
Greeting Your Partner With A Smile
I don’t know about you, but too often my husband comes home to a mere wave of my hand, or a “hey,” from me because I’m busy attending to some task or child-crisis. Conversely, lovers in Soap-land greet each other with smiles and physical affection. You might argue those Soap characters aren’t knee-deep in laundry or exhausted from a bad day at work, but everyone and anyone can take a two-minute break to smile at the person they love and make a physical connection before retuning to the tasks at hand. I know when my husband comes home happy and smiling (instead of vacant or exhausted) it perks up my mood. I notice the difference, yet often fail to offer to him what I’m yearning for from him. Note to self: do better!
Soap couples touch each other, A LOT. I’m not just talking about all of the make-out sessions or steamy bedroom scenes. I’m referencing the walks in the park, the dinners at the club, and playing on the floor with their kids. Soap couples hold hands, the man usually rests his hand on the small of his lover’s back on their way in or out of a scene, and so on. They make eye contact and give focused attention to each other. These are such little gestures, but many real-life couples lose that over time because we take each other for granted. I ask myself why it’s so easy and natural to reach out and hug or touch my child, yet I don’t seem to do so as often with my husband? Doesn’t he need to feel loved by me every bit as much as my child does? I think so. And if I take those first steps, might it be reciprocated over time? Probably.
Setting the Mood
Candles, wine, soft music, and lighting – all are standard Soap staples for evening conversations and foreplay between couples. How often do you employ any one of those mood-enhancing techniques at home? Is it possible lighting a candle after the kids are asleep might be a nicer transition to nighttime for you and your partner than sitting side by side watching TV or reading your iPad? Would those elements heighten a sense of connectedness and sensuality? Probably. So, why not do it once or twice a week?
Bottom line, we all get complacent. The tempo of life is perpetually increasing, leaving us feeling spent before the day is through. But these little efforts may actually help restore a sense of well being, balance, and love in our homes and lives. Even if you are currently without a romantic partner, treating yourself to candles, wine, and good music, to that expensive haircut or new pair of shoes, and greeting friends with hugs all can lift your spirit and add a little romance to your life.
That is what we can learn from Soaps, and probably why I still watch. Okay, I watch for these reasons AND for the eye candy…
Any closet Soap fans among you? If so, which one do you love?