Is the holiday romance over-rated? Some Valentine’s Day musings, or amusings, hopefully…


Love is such a powerful drug it really should be classified as a Class A addiction. And research shows that the best place to score the love drug is on vacation. According to a recent survey by travel company Kayak, one in five of us finds love on holiday. Is there anything more likely to make you swoon than a kiss ‘neath a tropical moon?

Sadly, due to the wretched pandemic, right now Cupid has an abundance of unsheathed arrows in his amorous quiver.

But, before you get the United Nations to declare your love life a disaster area, I’m here to remind you that holiday romances can also go disastrously wrong. And I speak from bitter, sunburnt experience. The trouble is, while sipping pina coladas on a sun-drenched seashore it’s so ridiculously easy to fall in love. But the danger is you might merely be falling in love with the romantic ambience. Once you return to Real Life, a holiday romance can evaporate faster than a tan line.

I experienced my first holiday romance in my early twenties at a resort in New Caledonia. Rumour had it that Club Med patrons were so frisky, they joined the Mile High Club as soon as the Air Steward switched off the “You May Now Unfasten Your Pants” sign!

….But my hopes were soon dashed. My plane was full of married couples and gay guys. Clearly the airport security pat down was the closest I was going to come to physical contact.

To make matters worse, I arrived on Valentine’s Day. Lying alone in a hammock designed for two, I started to feel about as valued as a giveaway shampoo sachet in a fashion magazine. Clearly the Pope would soon be ringing me up or tips on celibacy.

Then I saw the Love God. He was doing push ups on the sand – and believe me, the bloke had serious pecs appeal. His upper torso was so broad I’d be able to shelve all my holiday reading right there on his shoulders, from Jane Austen to Emile Zola. Every woman within a ten mile radius ogled as he caressed his chiselled abs with Sunscreen, Factor Lust.

One look at his emerald eyes and I found myself fantasising about the cute little joint message we’d leave on our answering machine. But how to catch his attention?

Good old Mother Nature came to the rescue with the timely arrival of a tempestuous tropical storm. Rain sluiced sideways, forcing guests to seek the nearest shelter… Which is how I suddenly found myself cosied up in a warm, dry cabana with the Love God. When I realised we were marooned together for the storm’s duration, I smiled so hard I pulled a muscle. And when I made a little joke about drowning in the deluge, hence my need for some mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, he obligingly kissed me. I rocketed warp factor ten to Planet Passion. Hormonal Houston we have lift off!

Over the next week Garry proved to be so romantic – candle lit dinners, midnight skinny dips, passionate sunset pashes, and heart-melting chat about happy ever afters…

It was only when we got back to Sydney that he became uncomfortable with public displays of affection. Suddenly the only thing he’d put his arm around in public was a beer glass. And what was the weird circular thing I found in his pocket? A curtain ring, I hoped, desperately? But no, it turned out to be a teething ring; a teething ring that belonged to the baby his wife had been minding while he took a ‘work holiday.’

Yes, Gary had a chiselled physique but he clearly kept fit by doing step aerobics off his own ego. It’s as though I’d been wearing a sign on my heart which read ‘In case of Emergency, Break’.

Was it any wonder I then decided to broaden my heterosexual horizons by heading off to Europe? Europe offered a whole smorgasbord of blokes to put on my romantic menu.

Now, normally I wouldn’t touch a cliché with a forty foot pole, but these are the conclusions I drew from my years of amorous anthropology.

ITALIAN MEN – Forget any language barrier because Italian blokes are fluent in body language. These romantic Romeos have the gift of the grab. I was totally charmed by the Italian Stallion who mispronounced my name as “Café Latte”… until he led me to the darkest corner of the café and pounced. Clearly when Alessandro asked me for coffee, he’d meant coffee in “perverted commas.”

GREEK MEN. The Love God I fell for in Corfu kept promising to contribute to our bills, but it turned out he was currently looking for a job which had office hours from two to one, with an hour off for lunch. I was nothing more than a meal ticket – meals on heels.

FRENCH FELLAS – Sipping wine by the Seine is enchanting but be warned that French men can put the bore into Bordeaux. Also, a Frenchman’s love is like central heating; it keeps you warm but is really nothing more than hot air. Enjoy the flirtation and frottage but beware, when your Gallic paramour tells you that he and his wife have an ‘understanding’, there’s bound to be a draught in his “open” marriage. (Yes, I’m talking about you, Remy.)

And it’s best to brush up your French lingo before leaping over the Channel. In my early thirties while on holiday in Paris I attended a party full of dignitaries. Determined to appear suave, I attempted to extend my linguistic repertoire of “rendezvous, champagne, liaison, lingerie and croissant.”

Well, unfortunately there are two French phrases which sound quite similar. One is très gelée and the other is très jolie. Apparently, while attempting to compliment Jacque Chirac on the prettiness of his wife, I actually spent the entire night telling the French president that his wife was very frozen – which implied that I was very hot. Clearly, I wasn’t in any danger of breaking the savoir-faire barrier. In fact, judging by Mrs Chirac’s Madame de Fage countenance, I was due to be whisked off to the Bastille for a brisk guillotining.

AUSTRIAN MEN – My Viennese suitor looked so cute in lederhosen, but he turned out to be totally shrink-wrapped. To my mind, psychology is nothing more than a guess with a degree. Tobias had the most sumptuous velvet couch, but all he wanted to do on it was – analyse. I still have a severe case of Post Traumatic Strauss Syndrome.

MONACO MAN. I met the racing car driver at a charity do. Yes it was love at first sight… but then I took a second look. Not only was Leo driving a tax dodgem car, but he’d also lied about his age; which is possibly why he didn’t find it funny when I suggested changing the number plate of his “Meno- porsche” to “Midlife Crisis.”

VIKINGS – IVF clinics worldwide report that Nordic sperm is the most in demand and it’s easy to see why. Scandinavian blokes are tall, handsome, intelligent and, judging by Nordic Noir, emotionally articulate. But there’s one downside. These exercise junkies expect you to ride a bike at all times. The hardest thing about cycling I find, is not spilling your wine everywhere…

So, now I’ve given you a quick whiz around the bloke buffet, you’ll realize that I have a Ph.D. in the glaringly obvious. If my generalizations have offended, please address your complaints to my nom de plume – Miss Quote. And girls, after lockdown, if you end up having a holiday romance with any of the men I’ve mentioned, please explain I’ve changed my name to ‘Sue do Nym’.

You know what I’m going to say now, don’t you? As I’ve written 14 comically romantic novels, look no further for your holiday reading. And then, if you don’t get laid, at least you’ll be guaranteed a laugh. Although, hopefully, both at once! Happy Valentine’s Day.

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