Confessions of a RomCom addict

FAIRY TALE

My name is Teresa, and I am a RomCom addict.

I can’t deny it. Given the opportunity to camp out in front of the TV for a night, I’ll choose a romantic comedy over an action movie anytime. Why? Because the romantic comedy is a concrete manifestation of who I want to be and how I want my life to be.

If we take a closer look at why we like certain genres of fiction, we can learn a little more about ourselves–and others. It’s kind of like taking a personality analysis, like the Briggs-Myers or Jung Typology.  But analyzing our movie choices allows us to SEE a picture of the parts of ourselves–and others. And, I do have an annoying, yet undeniable, habit of analyzing just about everyone I meet.

It comes with the occupation–teaching. It’s not that I face the enemy each day. It’s not that I am on a seek and destroy mission. But if I can get into the heads of the people I work with and figure out what makes them tick, then I can overcome the obstacles between us, nip problems in the bud, as Barney Fife would say. The objective is to work together, not in opposition. I also learn more about me and why I do what I do.

But I digress. My mission here is to confess my attraction to romantic comedies and to explain why I am drawn to them like a bug to a light.

SERENDIPITY

Basically, the most alluring element of romantic comedies is that they spotlight the yearning created when we find ourselves in one place while wanting to be somewhere else. Take the case the case of Jonathan Trager and Sara Thomas in the movie Serendipity, my all-time favorite movie and inspiration for this blog.

For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, Jonathan and Sara meet by accident and realize they are somehow cosmically connected. However, their meeting seems to headed for a dead end. They both belong somewhere else and to someone else. However, they challenge fate. Sara writes her name inside a book, and Jonathan writes his name on a $5 bill. They send these items “out into the Universe” to see if destiny brings them back together again.

And not to be a spoiler here, but obviously they do but not without plenty of obstacles.

Wouldn’t it be great to know if we want something badly enough it will happen, even if obstacles are involved? If we want something badly enough, we’re willing to take on a few obstacles. Right?

Everybody has dreams that don’t come true. Every little boy doesn’t grow up to be a professional football player, and every little girl doesn’t grow up to become Homecoming Queen. RomComs take care of that little detail. Every RomCom has the happy ending that real life doesn’t provide.

LEAP YEAR

Another reason why I like a good RomCom is because the main character is usually a quirky, yet likeable, female who is on mission. No matter how hard she tries to make a smooth journey, she always finds herself in an awkward predicament. Take for instance Anna Brady in Leap Year. Anna has been waiting forever for Jeremy, her cardiologist boyfriend, to propose. When he doesn’t, not even on Valentine’s Day, she decides to take matters into her own hands. When she hears of an Irish custom that guarantees marriage if a woman proposes to a man on February 29, Leap Day,  Anna travels to Dublin, Ireland, to propose to Jeremy, who’s there on a business trip.

Anna’s travel plans run awry when she can’t get where she wants to go due to inclement weather. Her plane lands in Wales, and she has to take a boat to Dingle, where she wanders into the only restaurant in town. She finds herself at the mercy of Declan, whom she pays to drive her to Dublin. Although Anna tries her best to maintain control of every detail in her life, nothing goes right. Complicated turns to comedic. She loses her Louis Vuitton luggage, breaks the heel of her expensive pumps, tries to herd a herd of cows, and feigns marriage to Declan so that he and she can secure the only remaining room at a quaint little inn.

The point is, when everything goes wrong, everything turns out right for Anna. Her mission to marry the wrong man fails, and she falls in love with the guy who drives her crazy. She lives through rejection. She acts like an “idjit.” She falls apart, but she gets everything she ever needed, even though at the time she doesn’t know what she really wants.

I think Declan sums it up best when he says to Anna, “Why don’t you stop trying to control everything in the known universe. It’s dinner. Have a little faith that it will all work out.”

I think we all have a desperate need for IT to work out,–whatever IT is. Oh, to have the comfort of knowing, yes, life will work out.

AUGUST RUSH

My third favorite movie is August Rush, though some people may identify it more as a Chick Flick than a RomCom. Whatever you call it, I like it. It’s a movie that ends with a rhapsody. And in case you aren’t into music theory, a rhapsody is “a musical composition of irregular form having an improvisatory character.” Is that what life is? A composition with irregularities and improvisations?

The premise goes like this. Lyla is an accomplished cellist. Louis is a guitarist and vocalist of The Connelly Brothers, an Irish rock band. Succumbing to their mutual attraction, they spend the night together, but then their lives are interrupted. They go their separate ways, and Lyla finds out she’s pregnant. Before giving birth, she is involved in an accident, and the baby comes early, only to whisked away by Lyla’s father, who puts him up for adoption. The boy, a.k.a Evan, ends up living in an orphanage the first eleven years of his life, but he has something spectacular about him. He can hear music EVERYWHERE.

Led by a spirit of “knowing he will find his parents,” he goes on search for them. He follows the music. A street busker finds him and exploits his talents for cash. Evan becomes August Rush. Again, driven by his passion, August follows the music and finds himself at Julliard, where the people take note of his savant abilities and nonconformist methods and enroll him as a student.

His work is so grand his work is chosen to be played by the Philharmonic at Central Park. Coincidentally, Lyla too will play there that same night, and Louis shows up as well.

Louis and Lyla follow the music and find Evan. The family is reunited.

This RomCom isn’t like the others. The lead character isn’t a quirky, female. But there is a happy ending. Love prevails.

And that is the real message behind RomCom–love prevails.

No matter how ridiculous life can be, love prevails.

No matter how many obstacles and hurts a person has to go through, love prevails.

No matter how confused the lead character may be about what she wants in life, love prevails.

Love prevails. And in the case of August Rush, music leads the way.

Come on now. How could I not fall for a good RomCom?

Real life, however, is not always a RomCom. Any given day, it could be a action-adventure or a thriller or even a horror story. Just turn on the news. There’s your proof.

As for me, I will continue to play the quirky, clutzy, sometimes overly optimistic, sometimes doomsday pessimistic, spastic female on a mission. And I will go where the music takes me and wait for love to prevail.

WORDS OF WISDOM
[Love} always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

MUSIC NOTES
I don’t wanna wait in vain for your love;  / I don’t wanna wait in vain for your love. / From the very first time I rest my eyes on you, girl, / My heart says follow t’rough. / But I know, now, that I’m way down on your line, / But the waitin’ feel is fine ~ Bob Marley from the movie Serendipity

Sweet dreams till sunbeams find you / Sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you / But in your dreams whatever they be / Dream a little dream of me ~ Ella Fitzgerald from the movie Leap Year

Well, it’s a marvelous night for a moondance / With the stars up above in your eyes / A fantabulous night to make romance / Neath the cover of October skies ~ Van Morrison from the movie August Rush

LOOK AND SEE CYBER SERENDIPITEE
www.youtube.com/watch?v=mARCRguuCrk

FINAL THOUGHT

Happy-Ending-Quote-192x179

 

Waiting on 9-11

life

It’s a page turner, ain’t it?

Every day we write ourselves a book. Life is a book, unpredictable. Sometimes we get so anxious, wondering what’s going to happen next, we push it and try to skip forward to the end.

Nope, don’t do it. Wait. Read every page. Every page. Examine it. Ponder it. Reflect upon it. Tomorrow will be here soon enough. If it’s not here, then we won’t have to worry about it, will we?

You’ve done that before, right? Skipped the pages because you couldn’t wait to find out? I bet you had to go back and re-read so that you could understand what was going on.

Me too.

Every day is a new story with pertinent information that will help us understand tomorrow, so don’t go so fast. Reflect. If you skip the details and rush the end, you may miss the significance.

I have had a terrible time focusing the last couple of years. I haven’t been able to read anything but road signs. Sometimes I even miss them. I tried to explain my trouble to the cop who clocked me going 35 in a 15-mph speed zone.

Nobody told me that’s what the new sign meant. I should have paid attention to the details so I didn’t have to pay the triple-digit ticket.

I teach three dual-enrollment college classes. For the last couple of weeks, we’ve been talking about remembering an event and creating a narrative.

My students lead the class, and one of them drew a diagram of a dramatic arc on the page. She explained the importance of providing the background details, setting the stage, adding the conflict, reaching a turning point and, finally, coming to a conclusion.

Those elements are the essence of life, each day. Each day is a brand new story.

But the main lesson I sought to teach my kiddos is that whatever they choose to write about, their story has to have the MAIN thing. That thing is significance.

All day long today on 9-11, I’ve been waiting for something to happen. My anxiety levels are at high alert.

I’m ready to turn the page, skip to the end.

I can’t. And it doesn’t matter anyway. I’m not in control of anything but myself. I can’t change anyone but me, and I can’t stop the world.

If I were to skip to the end, I would miss out on the details. I would miss out on how this page prepares me for the next. I would miss out on the significance.

I believe in serendipity, fortunate accidents, but I can’t predict them. I just have to deal with them when they happen.

I also believe everything happens for a reason and that all things work positively for those who love God and who are part of His plan.

It’s not up to us to change his plans. I do think we should be wise and reflective and think about what is happening in our lives. There’s a reason for it, you know, a purpose, leading up to something important.

Remember every story goes through a dramatic arc; every day is a story. What is the significance?

People are motivated by many things. Not to sound cliché, but I am motivated by one thing–love. Love is the significance of my life story. Even though I don’t understand why or how things happen–yet, I do know that I know love.

And no matter what happens today, 9-11, or any other day, I have known love.

But the story is NOT over yet. I’m not skipping pages. I will wait patiently so that when I get to the end I will understand all the details.

TODAY’S CHALLENGE
Today is 9-11. What emotions surged through your soul? Did you experience fear, regret, grief, relief, anxiety, etc? Why? What is happening in your life story? Reflect upon these questions. Please add a comment or two if you have time. I encourage you to write in your journal as documentation of your existence on this day in history. It’s always interesting to go back months or years later to see how you have changed.

WORDS OF WISDOM
“EMILY: “Does anyone ever realize life while they live it…every, every minute?”
STAGE MANAGER: “No. Saints and poets maybe…they do some.”

“Now there are some things we all know, but we don’t take’m out and look at’m very often. We all know that something is eternal. And it ain’t houses and it ain’t names, and it ain’t earth, and it ain’t even the stars… everybody knows in their bones that something is eternal, and that something has to do with human beings. All the greatest people ever lived have been telling us that for five thousand years and yet you’d be surprised how people are always losing hold of it. There’s something way down deep that’s eternal about every human being.”
Our Town by Thornton Wilder

MUSIC NOTES
In life I know there is lots of grief / But your love is my relief. / Tears in my eyes burn, tears in my eyes burn / While I’m waiting, while I’m waiting for my turn.
“Waiting in Vain,” by Annie Lennox, featured in the movie Serendipity

LOOK AND SEE CYBER SERENDIPITEE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-QP27pp5NwM

FINAL THOUGHT

serendipitydestinyhumble

Six degrees of the blues vs. fifty shades of grey? I’ll take the blues.

square dance

A serendipitous life is like an “allemande left.”

In square dance terms, this call requires each dancer to take the other’s hand, making it easier to enter and exit the movement. Serendipitous dancers move freely in life, acknowledging that all things work together like an “allemande left” to allow them to take take hold of and to learn from the fortunate accidents they encounter.

A few weeks ago, I had a creative dream. When I woke up, song lyrics trickled in my head like a gentle stream. But one word  spewed forth like the spring–Celie.

Never heard it–at least, so I thought.

I wrote down the lyrics but changed the name to Cecilia, which is what I thought my mind was probably trying to dream. Hey, it worked for Paul Simon.

Of course, my OCD nature compelled me to research the name’s meaning. Historically, Cecilia was the patroness of music because when she was dying she sang to God. A little more research revealed the name’s meaning refers to “a way for the blind.” Hmm. Music? A way for the blind? Yes. And, of course, “blind” can be interpreted on a myriad of levels.

I was so pumped. What a very cool dream. But one thing kept nagging at me. I didn’t dream the name “Cecilia.” I dreamed “Celie.” Once again, I felt compelled to grasp the hand before me and examine the next clue to find out why I dreamed this song.

Turns out Celie is derived from Cecilia. I don’t want to give away my song ideas, but I wanted the song to have a Delta feel about it. As most of you know, I love, love, love the blues, so I built the song around a mysterious woman named Celie who could read people.

A little more research revealed the French origins of the name. Okay. Louisiana. That works. And according to my Internet “baby names” search, people with the name “Celie” are often great analyzers or mystics.

Perfect.

At this point, I had the whole song written with multiple layers of meaning. I thought I was finished, but then I found one more detail that put the icing on my joconde. (So, I’m trying to be clever here. Get it? For those of you who don’t know, a joconde is a French opera cake. It will make even more sense when you read the next couple of sentences.)

So here’s the missing link (literally) to today’s serendipitous story.

I’m a fan of the show Nashville. I serendipitously showed up at a taping and was an extra. I serendipitously met one of the stars at the Aerosmith concert. My favorite singer on the show is Clare Bowen, who plays Juliet. While I was creeping my Facebook newsfeed, I found a post from my favorite shop, the upscale Two Old Hippies in the REAL downtown Nashville.

(Sidebar:  I love Nashville, the city. I really like to visit  Two Old Hippies. It’s fun to browse for, not just merchandise, but also details and vibes for stories and songs.)

Back to story, the post revealed that Clare Bowen had just bought the last pair of Liberty fringe boots, the same pair of boots I admired but could not purchase. The Two Old Hippies post included a video clip of Clare wearing the boots on The View with Whoopie Goldberg and Sherri Shepherd.

I don’t always click on links, but, hey. I like Two Old Hippies. I like Clare Bowen. And I like the boots. I clicked on it.

(Another sidebar…I had the opportunity to interview Sherri Shepherd several years ago. What a lovely lady! Her presence in this story just makes me smile. Squirrel! Yes, I know. I’m a little spastic.)

Back to the story…again.

Anyway, when they interviewed Clare Bowen, the ladies of The View revealed that the beautifully Southern singer was actually from Australia.

AUSTRALIA?

And she was a trained opera singer. (Remember when I made the witty remark about the joconde?) Clare had to learn country. And she had to learn Southern.

Turns out Clare Bowen herself was having a serendipitous moment on the show.

She couldn’t tell her own story without revealing how a song about Whoopi Goldberg’s character, Miss Celie in  The Color Purple, changed her life.

(Sidebar Number Three…Miss Celie! My dream! Maybe I had buried that little detail far back in my brain and my subconscious was trying to help me dig it out. We can’t even comprehend how God designed our brains. We think we know so much.)

“Miss Celie’s Blues” opened the door to a new understanding of music for Clare Bowen. She found freedom in the blues. She loved the bluesy feel of the song.

The blues. Miss Celie’s blues. Sister Celie’s blues.  Of course! THE BLUES!

Clare Bowen’s first real taste of the blues change her life and brought her to Nashville. How serendipitous.

And, had  I not been sick for seven days with what I am sure is the plague, I would have never have had to leave work today to go to the doctor. And if I did not receive the dreaded shots, I would not have had to go home instead of back to work.

Because I came home when I did, I serendipitously read the Two Old Hippies / Bowen post as it was the first to pop up on my Facebook feed.

Now I know how Clare Bowen, Two Old Hippies, the show Nashville, Liberty fringe cowboy boots, Sherri Shepherd, Whoopi Goldberg, the plague, and THE BLUES worked together today to create my tailor-made serendipitous story.

“Allemande left” everyone.

 

Five words every writer should use

Don’t let the title fool you. I’m not talking using the words in your writing. I’m talking using the words as you are writing. I lived in the Boro this summer, almost quite literally, and picked up some great wisdom from my graduate classes. I thought I’d share.

Curiosity
I loved my literacy class. Felt right at home in there. The vibes among the professor, the doctoral students, and the outcast, me, were all in sync. My professor opened my eyes to one word that makes all the difference when it comes to learning—curiosity. We teachers can’t teach natural curiosity. We can inspire and encourage, but the really great learners have a natural curiosity that drives them toward answers. So writers, let loose your curiosity and feel free to explore. I love it. I could spend hours researching online. I could spend hours traveling across country to visit special places. I could spend hours reading or hours talking to people who have their own natural curiosity.

Conceptual metaphors
Most entry level English students know what a metaphor is. It’s like a simile—without the like. He is a dog. She is a social butterfly. The guy who sits next to me in class is a vulture. Conceptual metaphors exist on a more subliminal level. Take the novel Heart of Darkness, for example. The novel itself expresses a theme of uncertainty or ambiguity. The author uses numerous vague words throughout the novel to create a sense of dimness. The metaphor runs through the entire work and adds a deeper level of meaning to the story. I like using conceptual metaphors in songs. Crafting the conceptual metaphor is a great mental work out for every writer.

Liminality
Speaking of ambiguity, here’s a word that was foreign to me until I stepped into my stylistics class. Liminality literally refers to a state of ambiguity, that feeling of being stuck in the middle, on the threshold, too far to turn back, too close not to keep going. Liminality is a vital element of YA fiction. The characters find them in a state of liminality as they cope with transcending from adolescence into adulthood. Not an easy place to be. I suppose teen angst is a by-product of liminality. But liminality isn’t just limited to teens. Adults find themselves there too. We change every day. Who I am today is not who I was yesterday. Adults find themselves stuck in the middle of caring for the children and caring for their aging parents. It’s hard watching your parent grow old. The inner turmoil that comes with change creates a sense of liminality. Liminality creates tension. Tension keeps the reader turning the pages.

Limerence
I picked up this word totally by accident. Some might say by fortunate discovery, ah, serendipity. Actually, I was writing a paper on liminality and clicked on the wrong term as I Googled. But the word limerence is quite similar to liminality, but it very specificially deals with romance. So romance writers take note. You probably already know this, but now you’ll know why your writing techniques work. It’s a psychological thing. Psychologist Dorothy Tennov came up with the term. Limerence refers to a romantic state of mind that occurs when one person is so attracted to another that she or he becomes obsessed with the need for reciprocal feelings. When these feelings are not reciprocated, the limerence goes away. Limerence can develop into true love. Or not. The concept is worth researching if you are writing about relationships. Human beings are weird, obsessive, sensitive, emotional, dramatic creatures. When one of these creatures suffer from limerence, a story naturally evolves. And limerence involves tension, lots and lots of tension, again a key ingredient in what makes a novel a success.

Serendipity
Of course, I had to include my favorite word. But writers beware. Too much serendipity in novel makes the work unbelievable. Having the right people or tools to magically show up just when they are needed to solve a problem seems a bit unrealistic. Serendipty, of course, is a happy accident, something someone discovers without looking for it. Sometimes you can search your entire life for the answer to a question, and then almost miraculously when you finally give up looking, you stumble across what you’ve been looking for. A happy accident? Happy, yes. Accident? I don’t think so. God orchestrates everything. I believe in divine appointments. I believe in answered prayers. I believe in miracles. He knows our hearts desires, especially when we’ve honored Him. So open your eyes, and roll with the serendipity when you find yourself face to face with it.

So, folks, it’s your turn to get to work. Share your thoughts with me. I’d love to hear what you think  every writer needs to use—or know.

Merry Christmas 2011

Last January I wanted to find the perfect snow day picture. I think I came pretty close. The barn and the trees covered with snow paint a picture of peace and serenity.

I wanted to write the perfect Christmas blog, but I couldn’t find the perfect words. These will have to do.

A couple of days ago I made a quick trip to a convenience store to buy some cleaning supplies. I couldn’t tell if the woman in front was older or younger than me, but her eyes told me she had lived a hard life.

I was in a hurry, but the lady wanted to talk. “Today has been a bad day,” she said to the cashier. The cashier said nothing but scanned and bagged the items.

“My mother died today.”

All of a sudden it didn’t matter to me that I was in a hurry. The cashier looked up with empathy and muttered, “I’m sorry to hear that.”

I knew I had to say something. I felt this woman’s pain even though we had never met before. I told her my parents had died recently and that I was so, so sorry that she had to go through such a difficult time. I didn’t have anything else to offer her except a sincere heart that said I cared.

“Yeah, no one’s ever died on me,” she said. We stared at each other for a few seconds. I just kept telling her I was so sorry. Then the cashier handed the woman her bag. The woman and I looked at each other again, but I was out of words. My heart hurt for her.

“Merry Christmas,” she said and walked out the door. I never saw her again.

I believe with all my heart that people’s paths cross for a reason. Some people call it divine appointments. God lets me call it serendipity. I hope that my simple, imperfect words comforted the lady who had just lost her mother. She needed to tell someone. I didn’t do much, but I was there. All I had to offer was a sincere heart.

The last blog I wrote was all about my obsession for shopping, but the truth is material things really mean nothing to me. I wrote the blog because it seems everywhere I turn everyone seems so perfect, especially at Christmas.

People throw on their cloaks of piety and perfection and mask their true natures. They give handouts of grace and mercy to the unfortunate. Once Christmas is over, however, they take off their cloaks and then wrap themselves in self righteousness. The grace and mercy go back in the attic until next season.

The most important gift anyone can receive at Christmas or any other time is love, specifically Christ’s love, but nonbelievers turn away from the gift because they don’t feel worthy of receiving it.

I don’t know about you, but people who demand perfection make me uncomfortable. Sometimes believers come across that way. I hope no one thinks I think I’m perfect. I am far, far from the target.

But what I do know is that God loves imperfect people, and He can make the impossible happen. Even when we make bad decisions, He can choreograph life so that we can get back on track and be happy again.

I always wanted to be a writer, but teaching wasn’t my original plan. Yet through teaching I have met my audience, the teens for whom I want to write, and I have learned from them, and I’ve learned to love them.

Christmas day is coming to a close, and I still haven’t found the perfect words. I simply am not perfect. I don’t say the perfect thing at the perfect time, but God has given me this heart that loves like crazy.

So that’s it, all I have to offer, just a few imperfect words and a very sincere heart.

Merry Christmas.

Why I’m a sucker for Serendipity

In honor of St. Valentine’s Day coming up, I am paying homage to my favorite of all favorite romantic movies, Serendipity. Ever wonder how I came up with the name for the blog? Now you know.

It’s hard to believe the movie came out in 2001. What? Ten years ago? A lot can happen in ten years. John Cusack is my favorite actor, and I haven’t seen him in anything else that compares to this film. His co-star, Kate Beckinsale, is, of course, amazing, and her sidekick, Eve, played by Molly Shannon, is the nutty best friend we all wish we had.

This movie is simply magical. The dialogue is snappy, and the cast of supporting characters compliment the co-stars while taking the audience on a emotional roller coaster ride that runs the gamut of feeling—regret, remorse, pity, anger, romantic tension, humor, heartache, relief.

Wow, I wish I’d written the screenplay.

But what is it that makes the movie so magical?

I think it’s the message that what is meant to be will be, no matter what. Everyone likes a happy ending, right? Especially when we’re living in a world with so few happy endings. The movie provides a sense of hope and fulfillment.

Here are my Top Five Reasons why Serendipity is my all-time favorite.

1. The word serendipity–my FAVORITE word in the whole world. Why? Because the definition of serendipity refers to “the accidental discovery of something pleasant, valuable, or useful.” Life has lost its wonder if there is no hope. Serendipity implies a sense of adventure, the feeling that something wonderful could be waiting around the corner. When I was a little kid, I believed I would find the leprechaun and his pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. If I’m lucky, I’ll catch him.

2. John Cusack stars in the movie. What’s so great about John Cusack? He has attitude. He’s a romantic. He’s a blogger. He’s into kickboxing. He’s a baseball fan (but he likes the White Sox). He’s obviously not perfect, but he’s got potential.

3. One of the best scenes in the movie takes place in the little restaurant called Serendipity, famous for its “Frozen Hot Chocolate.” The only thing that would have made it better is if it were a coffee shop, but it’s close enough for … me. The real restuarant is in Manhattan.

4. There’s a literary element to the movie with the Shakespearean twists. The couple part ways but not before placing their love in the hands of fate. They write their contact info on a $5 bill and in the front of a book, Love in the Time of Cholera, a real novel written by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and published by Alfred A. Knopf. (A bit of movie trivia—the $5 bill is a 1999 bill, but the movie is supposed to have taken place in 1994.)

5. There is a reference to music. John Corbett plays Lars Hammond, the new age musician boyfriend of Sara. Lars is too adorable to dislike, and the fact that he follows Sara and spends hours outside her hotel door is incredibly sweet. I’m sure Lars will find his special someone too. But Jon and Sara belong together. Sorry Lars. Good guy, just the wrong guy. (I’ve been a huge fan of John Corbett since his Northern Exposure days. This is MY list of reasons, so I can also add that John Corbett recorded the country song “Good to Go,” co-written by one of my favorite songwriters, Rodney Clawson. Six degrees of separation?)

What’s your favorite romantic movie or love story? I hope Cupid tickles your heart this Valentine’s Day.