9 While the clinch image is the most common image on the front cover of the category romance novel, other types of images include an image of a single person (most frequently a man) or a more domestic image of a couple with children or pets. For a (non-academic) discussion of these other types of romance front cover iconography, see Wendell and Tan 176-177.


A typical romance story was told in the first person, allegedly from a true account confided to a trusted comic book professional. They generally followed a predictable dramatic arc, with a fairly wide range of crises — unrequited love, class barriers, jealousy, career conflicts, haunted pasts, etc. — inevitably resolved with a monogamous happily-ever-after ending. “Well, darling, suddenly I don’t love you anymore! I can’t explain it — but I just don’t!” announces Tony at the outset of “Changes of Heart,” the lead story from the April 1965 issue of Young Romance (the longest-running title in the romance pantheon). He and Brenda had been so right for each other. Then — boom! The thrill is gone! Brenda doesn’t know how she’ll carry on. She dates, but can’t get Tony out of her head. One night the doorbell rings — “It’s Tony!” she thinks. But it isn’t Tony, it’s Tony’s old friend Bill Oliver. Tony’s blown town with no forwarding address, and Bill thought she might know where to find him. Brenda breaks down sobbing, spilling the whole story. Bill listens sympathetically, then admits that he, too, was recently dumped. They start hanging out, and suddenly realize they’ve fallen for each other. “There was no need for words — our love was strong because it had been born out of pain.”
I've gotten, "Are you Vietnamese and French?" Well, what would make you think that? You know, why that projection? So it's kind of just very far flung. And to me, coming from New York, Puerto Rican-black is kind of a biracial or ethnic mix that's pretty common. So, you know, the fact that you would ask [if I am] Vietnamese or Korean or Hawaiian and Peruvian — it's kind of interesting the questions I get.
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The risk of romantic love being our definition of real love (common for people who see real love as a “feeling” rather than a “choice”), is that it cannot be sustained for anyone. If we saw it this way, then we may always be chasing it, never staying with someone long enough to move into “committed love”, and never really being satisfied in a relationship. Plus all of that intensity gets exhausting after awhile! Those fantasies are also quite a burden for the other person to carry, and how disappointed we can be when they don’t live up to those earlier visions! “You’re not the person I fell in love with”. And why does this happen with a specific person? That’s also for another post.
In one study, a research team from Massachusetts General Hospital looked at the brain scans of 16 people before and after they participated in an eight-week course in mindfulness meditation. The study, published in the January issue of Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, concluded that after completing the course, parts of the participants’ brains associated with compassion and self-awareness grew, and parts associated with stress shrank.
The aftermath of the Love Glut was like nothing that had ever occurred in American comic book publishing. Unlike the demise of horror and crime titles in the mid-1950s, the near simultaneous disappearance or suspension of more than 100 romance titles in 1950 did not involve censorship or the excessive outcries of outraged parents, teachers and librarians. It was simply a classic example of too much supply and too little demand, not to mention too little space on the racks.
[T]he public is not the totality of the sum of readers.… For a book…it seems to me that the public is nominally an entity more far-flung than the sum of its readers because that entity includes, sometimes in a very active way, people who do not necessarily read the book (or at least not in its entirety) but who participate in its dissemination and in its “reception”.… The reader as conceived by the author…is, to the contrary,…a person who reads the text in toto.… The public as defined here, therefore, extends well and often actively beyond the sum total of readers. (74-75)
The philosopher Odo Marquard has noted a correlation in the German language between the word zwei, which means “two,” and the word zweifel, which means “doubt”—suggesting that two of anything brings the automatic possibility of uncertainty to our lives. Now imagine a life in which every day a person is presented with not two or even three but dozens of choices, and you can begin to grasp why the modern world has become, even with all its advantages, a neurosis-generating machine of the highest order. In a world of such abundant possibility, many of us simply go limp from indecision. Or we derail our life’s journey again and again, backing up to try the doors we neglected on the first round, desperate to get it right this time. Or we become compulsive comparers—always measuring our lives against some other person’s life, secretly wondering if we should have taken her path instead.
Just a few years ago, Mrs. Webster passed away. A few months after her death, I went out to dinner with Mr. Webster, and we got to talking about his wife. I wanted to know how they had met, how they had fallen in love—all the romantic beginnings of their life together. I asked him all the same questions, in other words, that I would eventually ask the Hmong ladies in Vietnam, and I got the same sorts of replies—or lack of replies. I couldn’t dredge up a single romantic memory from Mr. Webster about the origins of his marriage. He couldn’t even remember the precise moment when he had first met Lillian, he confessed. She had always been around town, as he recalled. It was certainly not love at first sight. There was no moment of electricity, no spark of instant attraction. He had never become infatuated with her in any way.
So you want to know if your relationship is a committed one. These days it’s not enough to assume that traditional labels of “boyfriend,” “girlfriend,” or even “partner” are enough to confirm your exclusivity status. Besides the more obvious actions of living together and becoming engaged, there are some things that never change, and chances are if your relationship has any of the following 11 characteristics, there’s a strong possibility that you’re in a committed one.
I agree with you, the word commitment has a lot of meanings. I met a man who said he is committed to me only. We had a texting fight and soon after that I did not hear from him but he gave me a promise that he will never date anyone else and I know he does not see anyone else but he does not text with me. Today I am trying to figure out whether our relationship still on or not but he still keeps sending me a text for Valentines day and so on....isn't the word commitment so confusing?

3This lack of critical attention paid to the romance novel in general and its material characteristics in particular may be a consequence of the widespread cultural prejudice that all romance novels are essentially the same. Although academics are generally taught to be critical of cultural stereotypes, in the case of the popular romance novel the academy seems to overwhelmingly buy into – and frequently even be at the origin of – the ingrained stereotypes of conventionality, formula and simplicity that surround the genre. As a result, the popular romance genre is largely ignored by academics, who deem books that are supposedly all the same unworthy of their critical attention. Somewhat surprisingly, a similar mechanism plays out within the developing field of popular romance studies with regard to the genre’s materiality.2 Underlying this disregard is, I believe, the tacit assumption that the romance novel’s materiality, which even more than other aspects of the genre is imbued with stereotypes and conventions, is a relatively simplistic and straightforward aspect of the genre that is free of the interpretative complexities romance scholars now regularly (and, notably, against the cultural grain) uncover in the genre’s texts.
Make time for reflection. Finding time to take stock of your experiences and to sit back and consider what the day has brought you can make you happier. You may not be very happy because you feel like you’re just going through the motions and doing have time to just sit still and ask yourself, “What the heck just happened?” Find a time each day – or at least each week – where you can just sit still, stare at some scenery, and think about all of the events that happened to you. You’ll feel a sense of calm and will begin to feel less overwhelmed with everything in front of you, and yes, this will make you happier.

28As we can see in these examples, these scenes are marked by a strong sense of conventionality. This is no coincidence ; indeed, scenes that are selected as preview scenes usually depict a narrative moment that is instantly recognizable as a conventional part of a traditional romance plot. These scenes frequently zoom in onfeelings of sexual attraction and/or romantic conflict between the protagonists and depict events such as the erotically charged moments preceding the characters’ first kiss or their first time making love. Invariably ending on an (erotic) cliffhanger, the preview scene is often a kind of narrative equivalent of the clinch image and is charged with the same sense of expectation, (sexual) tension and narrative determinism that marks the clinch. Like the clinch, the preview scene also represents a stereotypical image of the romance genre, not only because it depicts a very clichéd moment in the romance narrative, but also because this representation is rendered in a highly conventionalized, even hackneyed discourse.
Felipe and I had arrived in this particular village after an overnight journey from Hanoi on a loud, dirty, Soviet-era train. I can’t rightly remember now why we went to this specific town, but I think some young Danish backpackers had recommended it to us. In any case, after the loud, dirty train journey, there had been a long, loud, dirty bus ride. The bus had finally dropped us off in a staggeringly beautiful place that teetered on the border with China—remote and verdant and wild. We found a hotel and when I stepped out alone to explore the town, to try to shake the stiffness of travel out of my legs, the little girl approached me.
Delectably sweet, Melt sees Samantha moving to D.C. with her daughter, Lennon, after getting out of a long relationship. The last thing she needs is to get into another relationship, but when she runs into Jake Brady, who owns booming ice cream truck business that mixes alcohol with ice cream, she finds her walls melting. While they initially get off to a rocky start, Jake is determined to show her and her daughter that he’s in it for the long haul.
"Basically, if I can get a date out of this, it would be great," Filkins says, flashing an infectious smile. Which leaves me wondering: Why does this guy need to hunt the Web for a date? He's got a sweet face and even sweeter personality. A single dad, he glows with pride when he describes how his 6-year-old daughter is starting her first blog. "It's just hard to find somebody to date when you have a kid," he explains.
28As we can see in these examples, these scenes are marked by a strong sense of conventionality. This is no coincidence ; indeed, scenes that are selected as preview scenes usually depict a narrative moment that is instantly recognizable as a conventional part of a traditional romance plot. These scenes frequently zoom in onfeelings of sexual attraction and/or romantic conflict between the protagonists and depict events such as the erotically charged moments preceding the characters’ first kiss or their first time making love. Invariably ending on an (erotic) cliffhanger, the preview scene is often a kind of narrative equivalent of the clinch image and is charged with the same sense of expectation, (sexual) tension and narrative determinism that marks the clinch. Like the clinch, the preview scene also represents a stereotypical image of the romance genre, not only because it depicts a very clichéd moment in the romance narrative, but also because this representation is rendered in a highly conventionalized, even hackneyed discourse.
And while it is undisputed that Young Romance created the romance genre in comics, I think honorable mention should also be given to Calling All Girls published by Parent’s Magazine, which debuted in July, 1941. Primarily filled with comics, Calling All Girls was the first comic to be marketed to girls. Calling All Girls also contained short stories and advice on fashion and manners. Calling All Girls contained some of the earliest romance stories (mostly in text form) and bridged the gap between pulps and comics. As a result of paper shortages, Calling All Girls stopped including comics in January 1946, the year before Young Romance was released. Interestingly, neither Parents Magazine nor Calling All Girls would get back into the romance comics business even at the height of the popularity of the genre in 1950.
18Of course the clinch image is, much like the narrative it so strikingly represents, a generic type. Each individual execution of the type is slightly different but essentially – typically – the same. This typicality functions as the basis of the public’s interpretation of the clinch image. That is, the public perceives the type of image and interprets this image as signaling a stereotypical kind of romance genre identity ; this interpretation is based on the widespread cultural codes that regulate the semiotic functioning of cover iconography, which hold that a clinch image equals the generic identity “romance”. In this interpretative act, the public overlooks the individual execution of this type – an execution that, for all its typicality, still has individual traits. These traits are, however, precisely the focal point of the romance reader’s semiotic decoding of the image and suggest to her a somewhat different interpretation of the text’s identity. They do not simply individuate the image, but do so according to a set of (generic) codes shared by the novel’s producers and its target audience of romance readers. On the basis of these codes, the romance reader is able to learn more about the novel’s specific characteristics.
At the end of her memoir Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert fell in love with Felipe, a Brazilian living in Indonesia. The couple swore eternal love, but also swore (as skittish divorce survivors) never to marry. However, providence intervened in the form of a U.S. government ultimatum: get married, or Felipe could never enter America again. Told with Gilbert’s trademark humor and intelligence, this fascinating meditation on compatibility and fidelity chronicles Gilbert’s complex and sometimes frightening journey into second marriage, and will enthrall the millions of readers who made Eat, Pray, Love a number one bestseller.
At some points in life, it's not possible -- or at least not easy -- to feel happy. However, even then, it's sometimes possible to feel happier. By taking whatever steps you can manage to give yourself whatever happiness boost is possible, you give yourself a deeper reservoir to deal with your happiness challenge. Here are some strategies to consider:

Meeting the Hmong women that day in Vietnam reminded me of an old adage: “Plant an expectation; reap a disappointment.” My friend the Hmong grandmother had never been taught to expect that her husband’s job was to make her abundantly happy. She had never been taught to expect that her task on earth was to become abundantly happy in the first place. Never having tasted such expectations to begin with, she had reaped no particular disenchantment from her marriage. Her marriage fulfilled its role, performed its necessary social task, became merely what it was, and that was fine.
17The clinch image carries a double semiotic code and has the potential to be interpreted differently by the public and the romance reader. To the public at large, the clinch image likely signifies simply the genre identity of the popular romance. This interpretation is based on the strong semantic connection between this image and the popular romance genre that exists in our culture as a result of the incessant reformulation of this type of image on the front cover of category romance novels since the 1970s.10 As a visually striking and instantly recognizable image with only a limited range of potential variations, the clinch quickly attained an iconic status and has become the cover design shorthand par excellence for popular romance. Although the constant reformulations of the image on a seemingly endless string of category romance front covers reinforce and perpetuate a number of cultural stereotypes about the romance genre, including interpretations of the genre as formulaic, overly sexualized and more than a little ridiculous, the category romance is steadfast in its love for the clinch cover.11
I'm a big fan of Elizabeth Gilbert. I happen to really enjoy her style of writing and absolutely love her voice in the books I've read from her so far. She is funny, forward, and has no time for beating the bushes. I love her attitude towards life and her curiosity of the world. She allows us to remember that we are all more alike than you think. This book is sweet, charming, and perfect for a morning read with coffee and a soft blanket. Okay, seriously though just don't get into this book with high hopes of it following Eat, Pray, Love because it is kind of different. This book revolves around cultures and perspectives on marriage with some historical aspects what constitutes marriage. It's all very interesting! I am glad I gave this book a chance and went into it with the right mindset. This book happens to align with me in some ways and I am sure it will with you too- in one way or another. Whether you're young and have thought of marriage, about to get married, or just flat out over it because theres just too much when it comes to marriage to the point where you don't want to do it anymore.
Enjoying time al fresco is a great way to put some pep back in your step. Living near green spaces is associated with better mental health, and even just looking at images of nature scenes can stimulate the parts of your brain associated with happiness, positivity, and emotional stability. Plus, spending time in the great outdoors exposes us to sunlight, which can help our bodies produce vitamin D. Vitamin D, sun, sunbeds and health. Moan J, Baturaite Z, Juzeniene A. Public Health Nutrition, 2011, Oct.;15(4):1475-2727." data-widget="linkref Since low levels of the nutrient have been linked to depression, soaking up a little bit of sun (we’re talking just 15 minutes per day) may lift your spirits both in the present and over the long term. Just make sure to slather on some sunscreen!
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