Romance Report 2006
The Encounter
Starstruck: The World’s
Most Sought-After
Turn-Offs and Turn-Ons
You NEED to Know
Party Hopping:
Exploring the Globe’s
Hottest Party Destinations
Romance Report 2006
The Encounter
4 North American Survey
8 International Survey
12 Starstruck: The World’s Most Sought-After
16 Party Hopping: Exploring the Globe’s Hottest
Party Destinations
20 Exciting Encounters in Your Neighborhood
22 Pick-Up Lines from Around the World
24 Taking the First Step Toward a Meaningful
26 Planning Your Next Valentine’s Day Party
28 The Ultimate Party Mix
31 Movie Magic: Classic On-Screen Encounters
32 Purposeful Encounters 101
34 Turn-Offs and Turn-Ons You NEED to Know
37 What Your Drink Choice Says About You
38 Ask Mr. Romance
Romance Report 2006
Letter from the Editors
Do you remember the last time this happened to you? Maybe you were waiting at the
bus stop, shopping in the grocery store or enjoying a fabulous dinner with friends
when it happened – the instant another person captured your attention and made
you aware – of them, of yourself, of your connection to each other – for even the
briefest moment.
We’ve all experienced encounters that have brought significant people in and out of
our lives, shaped who we are, or just made us smile on a particularly bad day.
At Harlequin we’ve spent years writing and creating the perfect encounter. So we
thought it only fair to share our expertise and move the encounter beyond the realm
of fiction. The Harlequin Romance Report 2006: The Encounter is devoted to
the interactions of men and women around the world. Our North American and
international surveys engage men and women of all ages in an effort to discover how
people are meeting, how encounters are changing and how we can help people
connect more frequently and with less effort. In a world where communication by
e-mail or text message is very much the norm, we can’t help but worry that people are
forgetting the value and sheer pleasure of face-to-face engagements. We are, after all,
romantics at heart!
That’s why we’ve decided that this year’s Harlequin Romance Report will also pay
homage to THE PARTY – one of the most basic ways that people meet and socialize.
Frankly we think throwing a magnificent bash is a lost art; we all need to indulge our
inner party animal every now and then. So we invite you to reconnect – turn off your
computer, get out there and embrace your social butterfly. You never know who you
might encounter…
We hope that you will use the content of this year’s Romance Report in your editorial.
If you have any questions about the contents or would like more information, please
contact Hillary Klein at 212-614-4170 in the U.S. or Sarah Tuite at 416-848-1703
in Canada.
Katherine Orr and Marleah Stout
Editors-in-Chief, Harlequin Romance Report 2006
Harlequin Romance Report 2006
Romance Report 2006
The Encounter:
Every so often we encounter someone who turns our head, inspires our imagination and
leaves us wanting more. Encounters can be life-changing and inspirational or as fleeting
as a “hello” shared with a stranger in passing. Whatever the moment, an encounter
becomes what you make of it.
The results of Harlequin’s latest North American survey, The Encounter, reveal that
meeting new people, especially those who actually pique our interest, is a challenge to say
the least.
More than 2,000 men and women from across North America dished the inside scoop on
everything from what inspires the perfect first meeting to the fabricated encounters that
we all like to believe happen by chance.*
* This study is based on two simultaneous random telephone surveys
conducted and supervised by ICR: 1,005 interviews in the United
States and 1,000 in Canada conducted in July 2005 among a
nationally representative sample of English-speaking adults as well
as some French-speaking respondents, 18 years of age and older.
The margin of error in total for each sample is +/-3% and larger for
demographic subgroups.
Romance Report 2006
The Encounter: North American Survey Results
Nothing ventured, nothing gained… cliché rings true for majority of North Americans
Do you ever lock eyes with a stranger, only to immediately look away? If you’re like most of
us, you probably wonder what that other person is thinking, perhaps hoping they come
over and say hello. Chances are that the other person is wishing the same thing, but most
North Americans are too shy to make a move. Sixty-two percent of North Americans
indicated they have encountered someone they were interested in, but did not act on
the opportunity!
So where are people meeting?
This number is even higher for singles – a shocking 75% of single
North Americans let opportunities pass them by and later regret it.
Rather than make conversation, most of us grab a newspaper, play
with our cell phone, or look away – all reactions that dramatically
decrease the chance for interaction with new people.
Unless you’re one of those rare birds that marries your high school
sweetheart, you’ve likely been through a prowl period. When on the
hunt, men and women tend to gravitate to certain meeting places –
does the notorious Singles Night ring a bell, anyone? How do North
Americans meet? And is there a disconnect between how we would
like to meet and how we are actually meeting?
Men are even more inclined to look, but less inclined to act than
women. Hardly as bold as we might believe, nearly 70% of men admit
that they’ve encountered someone who intrigued them, but they just
couldn’t act on it. Only 55% of women indicated the same regret.
Work it!
• This number is much higher for men than women – 68.3% of men
vs. 55% of women
While some of us are working 9–5, others are actually workin’ it.
Although less than one percent believe the workplace is the best
place to meet someone, in truth almost 20% actually met their
significant other at work. The survey results show that while most
of us don’t go looking for love at work, the long hours and lure of
photocopier antics have kindled more than a few romances.
• 75% of singles say they encountered someone they were
interested in, but didn’t act on it
• 61.5% of respondents have encountered someone they were
interested in, but didn’t act on the opportunity
• 58.1% of marrieds have encountered someone they were
intrigued by, but did not act upon it
What do you think is the best way to meet new people?
• Through friends – 71.1%
• By chance – 42.4%
We clearly have a difficult time engaging with others and
encouraging encounters with people beyond our immediate social
circle. In fact, more than 70% of North Americans depend on their
friends to introduce them to new people. The number tends to be
higher for women (78.7%) than men (63.0%).
• At a party, bar or club – 20%
• Online – 7.6%
• At work – 0.7%
How did you first meet your current or last significant other?
• Through friends – 33.6%
A whopping 42.4% think chance is the best way to meet someone,
despite the fact that less than 20% actually met via a chance
encounter – as the survey results show, most of us don’t engage the
strangers who catch our eye! While the romantic appeal of a fateful
meeting caters to our sentimental side, it isn’t always the most
practical or proactive way to meet new people.
• At work – 18.7%
• By chance – 17.2%
• At a party, bar or club – 15.1%
• Online – 2.7%, though the number is higher (4.8%)
for the 18–34 demographic, showing that younger
North Americans are more comfortable with online dating
Romance Report 2006
“Can I have your attention please?”
• Hot Pants trump Smarty Pants – Men say beauty (62%) over
brains (43%) is more attractive during a first encounter
Sometimes in the high stakes world of singledom you need to pull
out all the stops to get someone’s attention. We all know that
competition can be fierce and men and women (but mostly men!)
will pull some pretty shameless stunts to get a nod from the
opposite sex.
• Confidence is also key – 32% of women and 28% of men said
demonstrating confidence during a first encounter is a major
• 7% of women and 6% of men said financial status is what
impresses them most during a first encounter
• 20% admit to having too much to drink in an effort to get
someone’s attention. Men (26%) are far more likely to evoke a
little “liquid confidence” when pursuing someone. Only 15% of
women admitted that a drink or two helps
• Only 7% of women are turned on by financial stability, but
interestingly 21.8% are turned off by someone with no financial
stability. So although finances aren’t a major attraction for women,
lack of financial stability will turn-off one in five North American
• 22% of men are also more likely to spend the night on a first date.
Only 8% of women admitted to doing the same
Working overtime
Sugar Daddy
Perhaps we would enjoy life a little more if we stopped working so
much. Fifty-five percent (55.2%) of North Americans spend the
majority of their time at work. The numbers are slightly higher for
men (60%) than women (51%), but there is no differentiation
between married and single.
Men are also more likely to lie about their jobs or personal finances
– 10.2% admitted to lying about their jobs or income to impress the
opposite sex while only 3% of women admitted to doing the same.
Men are also more inclined to stretch the truth when it comes to their
marital status – 8.3% of men versus 4.3% of women admitted to
hiding the wedding band every once in a while.
• 72.1% wish they could spend more time socializing with family
and friends
If only life were like that…
• 13.5% would like to spend more time working!
It plays out like a Hollywood moment – you’re grabbing a coffee at
your local java joint and you run into the cute guy who’s been
checking you out at the gym – you smile, he introduces himself, you
exchange small talk, he asks you to join him for a coffee and the rest
is history. Sorry to burst your bubble, but chances are this meeting
wasn’t a fateful encounter – he probably planned your “chance runin”. One in five respondents admitted to fabricating an encounter so
they could “bump” into someone they were interested in.
• 9.2% wish they could spend more time watching television
or movies
What is preventing/has prevented you from meeting the
right person?
• Time flies – Not surprising then that 51.2% of singles indicated
that having no time is preventing them from meeting the right
• 31.8% of singles said there are no good places to meet people,
indicating that single people are growing increasingly frustrated
with the singles scene and the options available
What most attracts you to someone
during a first encounter?
• Nearly one in four singles (24%) actually believe that “all the good
ones are taken”
If you have no sense of humor, be concerned, be very concerned.
According to nearly 70% of North Americans, a sense of humor is
what most attracts them to someone during a first encounter.
Women (73.3%) are more concerned about a good laugh than men
(63.4%), but both sexes ranked this trait as the number one MUST
HAVE trait when meeting someone for the first time. For women
(46%), the second most attractive feature during a first encounter is
• 18% are just too afraid to meet new people
Romance Report 2006
Do I make you nervous?
How many people do you believe you
must date to find “the one”?
Whether it’s a first date, a first encounter or a first introduction, most
of us admit that nerves can have a powerful effect on our behavior. In
fact 40% confess that nerves have contributed to more than a few
first-encounter blunders. So next time you recognize one of the
foibles below, don’t be so quick to judge – take it as a compliment –
and recognize that nerves can make us do the strangest things…
Singles will often talk about dating as a numbers game. The more
people you date, the better chance you have of finding “the one”.
Twelve percent are the hopeless romantics among us and believe
you only need to date one person to find “the one”. Most of us aren’t
that optimistic.
• 27% of marrieds think you need to date two to four people before
you meet “the one”
• 34% of men fidget, play with their keys, cross and uncross their
legs when nervous during a first encounter
• 11.7% of the total surveyed believe you only need to date one
person to find the one – wishful thinking or just lucky?
• 25% of women laugh too much
• 11.4% think you need to date more than twenty to find the one
• 28% of women avoid eye contact when nervous
• 47% believe you need to date between two to ten people before
you find the one
• Nearly 20% of men stutter and can’t put sentences together
when nervous
Every first encounter offers the possibility for mistakes or missed
opportunities. Sometimes we commit blunders that we later regret:
• 37% have judged a person by their appearances
• 41% of singles have turned someone down and later regretted it
• 11.8% have made out with someone without knowing their name
Romance Report 2006
With more than six billion people in the world today, it’s
hard to imagine a moment when someone, somewhere
isn’t having an encounter that is changing their life, or at the
very least, raising their pulse.
We set out to discover how men and women around the
world meet. We wondered how participants in our North
American survey, The Encounter, compared with their
international counterparts. Do men in Italy also fabricate
encounters? Do women in Germany or Japan believe in fate
or look for love in all the wrong places?
Global consensus
(If only achieving world peace was this easy!)
Ask anyone in Spain, Japan, Poland, or any of the 14 countries we polled and everyone
agrees – the best way to meet new people is through friends. So be nice to your friends –
they have the potential to be a very valuable resource!
The men and women who depend most on their friends for romantic introductions are:
Japanese women (90%), Swedish women (80%) and Mexican men (80%).
Depending on your friends for introductions is a great idea in theory, but it can be difficult. If you don’t trust your friends’ tastes or judgements
then don’t look to them for introductions. Some friends are happy to play matchmaker, whereas others prefer to keep all the good ones for
themselves! If that’s the case, don’t fret, there are lots of other ways to meet new people. Parties, pubs, bars and clubs are popular among:
Italian men (50%), Dutch women (40%) and Greek men and women (40%).
Romance Report 2006
Survey Results
By answering four selected questions from our North American
survey, international respondents from 14 countries shared with us
the best ways to meet new people, the zany stunts they pull to
impress the opposite sex and the ultimate turn-ons and turn-offs that
can instantly seal the deal – for better or for worse. The results reveal
that whether it’s a rendezvous in a Parisian café or a chance meeting
in a Tokyo nightclub, the joy of the first encounter is indeed a global
Looking for love in all the wrong places?
Knowing the meeting style that appeals to the opposite sex is key
when looking to meet new people. Spanish men looking for love
online aren’t going to find much success, nor are French men
cruising the local bars and clubs.
Never shy, the Portuguese have embraced online dating and are
more than willing to admit that it’s a great way to meet new people.
In fact 40% of men and 50% of women in Portugal think online dating
is the best way to encounter a new person.
Although 40% of French men say a party, bar or club is the best way
to meet women, their counterparts disagree – only 10% of French
women prefer meeting in a bar or club – they would much rather
meet someone through a friend.
If Mexican politicians are concerned about low productivity in the
workplace, they might be interested to know that 60% of Mexican
women believe that work is the best place to meet new people.
For men and women who prefer a less proactive approach, there is
always the option of waiting for fate to work its magic. 30% of French
women and Brazilian men think chance is the best way to encounter
someone special. The holy grail of the male species – the hopeless
romantic – apparently exists in Germany where at least 40% of men
polled believe they will meet the love of their life through a chance
Similarly, the 30% of Spanish men who think online dating is the way
to go might want to reconsider – Spanish women are not online.
None of the women polled in Spain seemed to think online dating
was effective. Don’t look for love online in Brazil or Japan either –
none of the Brazilian or Japanese men or women we polled thought
online dating was a good way to meet new people.
International Survey Results
Lookin’ good
Attention women of the world. When it comes to impressing the
opposite sex, men are more likely to be dishonest about their
personal finances than women. Where will you find the world’s most
inflated incomes? Sixty percent of German men and 50% of Italian
men admitted to lying about their personal finances to impress the
opposite sex.
How important is immediate physical attraction during a first
encounter? For the majority of men we polled it is clearly a VERY
important concern. Physical attraction during a first encounter is the
number one priority for men in France, Brazil, Greece, Japan and the
U.K. Physical attraction matters least, during a first encounter, to men
in Mexico, Portugal and Holland.
Eighty percent of Australian men and 70% of Australian women
admit to drinking one too many in an effort to impress their
counterparts. The same strategy is employed by men in the U.K.,
85% of whom admit to overindulging every now and then in an
attempt to get that special someone’s attention.
For women, physical attraction during a first encounter was most
important for women in Spain, France, Portugal and Sweden.
Sexual prowess works well for the Spanish. Sixty percent of Spanish
women and 40% of Spanish men admitted to sleeping with someone
on a first encounter in an effort to impress them or gain their
attention. Spending the night on a first date is also popular among
German men, Greek men and British women.
Confidence booster
Physical attraction during a first encounter matters least to women in
Germany, Poland and Japan.
Seventy percent of Mexican men said that the most attractive feature
in a woman during a first encounter is confidence. Greek and Italian
men also agreed that confident women are a major turn-on. Women
most turned on by confidence can be found in Japan and the U.K.,
where 30% of women respondents indicated that a confident man is
VERY attractive.
“Til death do us part…”
Surprise, surprise, a significant number of men and women around
the world admitted to lying about their marital or relationship status
when trying to solicit someone’s interest. The worst offenders were
Brazilian men (80%), Mexican women (80%) and German women
(70%). None of the men and women polled in the U.K. or Spain
indicated that they fibbed about their marital status to impress the
opposite sex.
Brains vs. beauty
Intelligence matters most to Greek women, Polish women and
Portuguese men and is a low priority down under – 10% of women
and no men in Australia said intelligence was their biggest turn-on
during a first encounter.
Beauty trumps brains during a first encounter for all men, except in
Portugal where 40% of men indicated intelligence mattered more
than physical attractiveness. Women, on average, are more charmed
by a sense of humor and a display of intelligence when meeting
someone for the first time.
What I like about you…
During a first encounter there are certain traits that immediately draw
you to a person and certain traits that immediately cause you to take
a step back. We asked men and women around the world to tell us
what turns them on and off the most when meeting someone for the
first time.
Some interesting turn-offs…
Sugar mama? 40% of Brazilian men said they would be turned off by
a woman with no financial stability, 30% of Mexican women felt the
same about their men – no financial stability was a real turn-off.
Class clown finishes on top
Seventy percent of German, 60% of Swedish, and 60% of Mexican
women said a sense of humor was the first thing they notice in a man
in an initial encounter.
Forty percent of men in Japan, Sweden, Holland and Australia are
turned off right away when they meet a woman with no sense of
Hungry for Romance?
Cal Buchanan needs a top-flight chef
to take over his failing Seattle restaurant,
The Waterfront. He can afford to hire
the best in town – the only problem is
that the best happens to be his ex-wife,
Penny Jackson.
Eat it up…
Romance Report 2006
Starstruck: The World’s Most
Sought-After Celebrities
At one time or another we’ve all fantasized about meeting our favorite celebrities. Whether
it’s challenging them to a political debate, laughing uncontrollably for hours on end or just
catching a glimpse at their rock-hard abs, we’ve all dreamt about what it would be like to
meet those celebrities who seem larger than life.
If you had just 15 minutes to sit down with any celebrity in the world, who would you
choose? We went looking for the men and women one would most like to encounter –
for reasons as varied as sheer curiosity or a chance to glimpse their talent, compassion
or humor firsthand. Some of these men and women are legends, some may be headed
there soon. Here are the people we’d most like to encounter, even for the briefest
of moments.
1. Hugh Hefner
2. Jon Stewart
There are few men (or women for that matter!) who wouldn’t wish to
encounter Hugh Hefner. With a kingdom that includes an infamous
mansion and a bunch of “bunnies” any man would want for his
Easter parade, Hugh Hefner is the sexual revolution’s favorite poster
boy. He is an icon – a man who made his fortune transgressing
sexual boundaries and blurring the line between fantasy and reality.
With more mojo than men half his age this ultimate playboy claims his
greatest pick-up line is “I’m Hugh Hefner” and we don’t doubt it for
a second.
The most trusted name in fake news is on fire. Jon Stewart’s unique
blend of political satire, boyish charm and biting humor has made
him a popular favorite of men and women alike. The outspoken host
of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart successfully combines looks,
savvy and the conversational skills to pique anyone’s interest. And
to top it off, Jon Stewart is a comedian with influence. With a few
well-placed sardonic words, Stewart has had otherwise composed
politicians sweating bullets and anxiously watching the polls.
Romance Report 2006
3. Kanye West
more interested in his anatomy! Not to mention his luscious locks
that are driving women everywhere mad with lust.
Kanye West is revolutionizing the face of hip-hop music. Proving
himself as a talented producer, West made the successful transition
to rap star extraordinaire. His debut album, The College Dropout, has
gone double platinum since its release last year and his sophomore
album Late Registration is on a similar path to success. His clever
wordsmithing and blend of spiritual and political consciousness
separate Kanye from traditional rap artists. Who wouldn’t wish for
just 15 minutes in the studio with Kanye West working his magic?
7. Dalai Lama
Tenzin Gyatso is the fourteenth and current Dalai Lama. He is
considered Tibet’s most important political ruler. Charisma, presence,
and strong political conviction have secured the Dalai Lama both a
Nobel Peace Prize and a coveted position on our list! Fifteen minutes
with the Dalai Lama would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to
meet the man whose spiritual guidance, peaceful demeanor and
compassion have inspired men and women all over the world.
4. Mick Jagger
It would be difficult to “get no satisfaction” from an encounter with
Mick Jagger. Arguably the greatest living rock star of our time
Jagger’s career has spanned more than forty years. Co-founder of
the rock band and global phenomenon that is The Rolling Stones,
Sir Michael Philip “Mick” Jagger is a knight in every sense of the
word, squiring children across the globe and gaining a reputation for
his healthy appreciation of women. Mick Jagger has proven his
appeal is timeless.
8. Barack Obama
Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, the man who describes himself as
“a skinny guy from the South Side with a funny name” is the rising
young star of the Democratic Party. This married father of two is
good-looking, articulate, highly intelligent and understandably, wildly
popular. Senator Obama is on the fast track to political superstardom
so you better learn how to pronounce his name – we predict you’re
going to be hearing it a lot in the near future.
5. Will Ferrell
9. Prince Harry
Will Ferrell has no shame. This former Saturday Night Live comedian
has skyrocketed to superstardom with his willingness to leave his
dignity at the door. He is the industry’s hottest comedian du jour,
dominating the box office and keeping us in complete hysterics. This
comedic genius promises to keep us laughing for many years to
come with his successful blend of physical comedy and dead-ringer
impersonations. With a sense of humor ranked as the number one
turn-on for North American women, Ferrell’s mass appeal is causing
Hollywood’s hunks to run for cover.
Haven’t you heard? Harry is the new William! Prince Harry of Wales is
best known as the carefree, fun-loving, and rebellious member of the
British Royal Family. Those who crave adventuresome spontaneity be
advised, this royal bad boy is a magnet for controversy. While big
brother Will sports an almost unblemished record, Harry is picking
up the slack and loving every minute of it.
10. Keith Urban
Mix together a dash of down-home country charm, a sexy Australian
tan, a large helping of talent and you get one smoking hot sensation.
Keith Urban is openly regarded as a modern-day guitar virtuoso.
Having toured with just about every big name in country music today,
Keith is more than just incredible eye candy, he’s also the hottest
thing in country music today.
6. Patrick Dempsey
Patrick Dempsey has completely transformed his status from GEEK
TO CHIC! The former nerd of Can’t Buy Me Love fame can have our
love for free now. Mastering the art of the comeback, Dempsey now
stars in the hit show Grey’s Anatomy; but let’s face it we’re much
Romance Report 2006
Starstruck: The World’s Most
Sought-After Celebrities
1. Martha Stewart
during a visit to Wiesbaden military base in Germany. Few would
pass up an opportunity to engage this oft-described “Warrior
Princess” in a little tête-à-tête.
Nobody pulls off an electronic monitoring device quite like Martha
Stewart. Carrying herself through prison with the grace and class
we’ve come to expect from this domestic diva, Martha Stewart has
proven once again that nothing sticks to her – not even a criminal
record. Whether it’s crème brûlée or a stint in minimum security,
Martha Stewart has built an empire on her ability to make the
ordinary extraordinary and we’re all dying to know how she does it!
4. Eva Longoria
Strutting her stuff every week on the hit television show Desperate
Housewives, this five foot two bombshell is anything but desperate.
Eva’s talent, good looks and sense of style have made her the new
Hollywood “it” girl. These days Eva can be found gracing the covers
of the world’s most popular magazines or on the arm of sexy NBA
superstar Tony Parker. Few men would pass up the opportunity to
encounter this bombshell and she knows it. Eva Longoria is on top of
the world – with a little help from her 4 inch heels.
2. Ellen Degeneres
Laughter is the best medicine and Ellen keeps us in regular supply.
Her hugely popular daytime talk show has audiences laughing and
dancing in and out of their seats. Ellen’s self-deprecating humor has
endeared her to a generation of television viewers who have seen
her break new ground both personally and professionally. Her
laughter and energy are contagious – fifteen minutes with Ellen and
you’ll surely have a smile on your face.
5. Barbra Streisand
She is the original Diva. With a voice like an angel and a flare for acting,
Babs has managed to captivate the world with her countless songs
and films. On-stage or on-set her presence is irresistible. She lives
the life of a modern-day princess and has worked hard for everything
she has. Her fans consider her exceptional, her colleagues call her
an inspiration. She is, simply put, Barbra Streisand; there is no one
else like her.
3. Condoleezza Rice
Condoleezza Rice is arguably the most powerful woman in the world
today. The first African American woman to hold the position of U.S.
Secretary of State, Rice has become one of the highest-profile
politicians in U.S. history. Despite her status as a major player on the
world stage, “Condi” occasionally gives us a glimpse of her wild side
– she caused an international stir by sporting knee high stiletto boots
Romance Report 2006
6. Rachel McAdams
9. Jennifer Aniston
Rachel McAdams is anything but a Mean Girl. This Canadian-born
superstar exploded onto the scene amidst great fanfare, yet she still
maintains the delicate charm that sets her apart from other
Hollywood leading ladies her age. Those who know her describe her
as very down-to-earth and real. Her ability to delve into new roles
and genres has cemented her as one of the hottest new stars to
watch this year.
Once part of Hollywood’s golden couple, Aniston is now ready to go
it alone. After a painful split with Brad Pitt, Hollywood’s favorite friend
has made the jump to movies. Aniston has been successfully
changing her career, focusing less on comedy and more on dramatic
roles. But as much as we love watching her light up the big screen,
what we’d really like to know is what ACTUALLY went down
with Brad.
7. Gwen Stefani
10. Angelina Jolie
We have “No Doubt” that this stylish rock star can accomplish
anything she puts her mind to. Since breaking from her
phenomenally successful band, Gwen has launched a solo career
and clothing line, and broken into films. Whatever Gwen touches
turns to gold, or in her case platinum. She is married to fellow rocker
Gavin Rossdale; can you say picture-perfect couple?
When she isn’t making headlines as a home wrecker, she is making
them as a philanthropist. Her lucrative modeling and acting career
gave Angelina the platform she needed to make a global difference.
She’s so committed to her cause as a goodwill ambassador for the
U.N. High Commission for Refugees that she has even adopted
two children from two of the countries she has volunteered in,
Cambodia and Ethiopia. Did this sexy superstar woo Brad Pitt during
the filming of Mr. and Mrs. Smith? Are they a couple? Will they
get married? So many questions, so little time!
8. Danica Patrick
This five foot one, one hundred-pound beauty battles in a man’s
world with amazing success. Competitors who judge Patrick based
on her youth and looks often end up eating her dust on the raceway.
She shows the determination and incredible skill necessary to
become one of the nation’s brightest sports stars. Patrick is one of
the best and most popular up-and-coming young auto racers.
Driving lessons anyone?
Romance Report 2006
Party Hopping:
Exploring the Globe’s Hottest
Party Destinations
Romance Report 2006
When you’re looking for a party, there are
certain destinations that scream FUN.
Whether it’s bright lights, big city or exotic
beach locales, these places are always
jammed with locals and tourists looking for
the next big bash. These are the kind of
places where you can embrace your vices
and throw caution to the wind. Join
Harlequin’s resident party animals as we
visit some of the world’s hottest party
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas is every party goer’s ultimate destination. It’s anonymous,
operates with abandon and is shameless in its opulence. From casino
alley to its renowned bars and night clubs, this diamond of the desert
caters to any and every indulgence – from gambling and shopping to
show girls and sun bathing, Las Vegas has it all. Name the price and
you’ll find it in Vegas – just remember – “what happens in Vegas
STAYS in Vegas.”
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Three words: RED LIGHT DISTRICT. Enough said.
Anchorage, Alaska
While the destination calls for a parka and fur-lined boots, its night
life is as exhilarating as its picturesque mountains. Unbeknownst to
most people, Alaska is a haven for women – it’s teeming with
available men. Fittingly known as the land of the midnight sun,
Alaskans party until dawn, socialize with tourists, and engage in
indulgent activities three snow-free months each year. If you time
your visit properly, you’ll catch the locals at their best – bursting with
energy and looking for that long-awaited encounter after nine long
months of hibernation.
Romance Report 2006
Party Destinations
Ibiza, Spain
Designated the entertainment island of the world by the Guinness
Book of World Records, Ibiza is synonymous with night life and
entertainment. From all-night raves to its legendary night clubs, Ibiza
is the island that never sleeps. Make sure you rest your weary body
on the magnificent beaches during the day, because you’re going to
need all the energy you’ve got to handle Ibiza’s riotous night life.
Saint-Tropez, France
Saint-Tropez offers an eclectic atmosphere and casual ambiance that
blends well with the upscale yet welcoming city. One of the world’s
most decadent wonders, Saint-Tropez sports the best restaurants,
night life, beaches, shopping, and people. By day, celebrity sightings
and sunbathing reign supreme, but when the sun sets, the real
party begins.
Tokyo, Japan
There is no mandatory last call or closing time. Visit any or all of the
three most popular entertainment areas – Ginza, Kabuki-choi or
Roppongi – and enjoy their unique atmosphere, price range and
clientele. At night Tokyo blossoms into a profusion of giant neon
lights and paper lanterns, guiding party goers to their next
Whistler, British Columbia
Oh Canada! Whether or not you like the outdoors, Whistler will cater
to your every indulgence. From shopping and glorious amenities to
athletic bodies and hot nightspots, Whistler has it all. Ski all day and
then relax in front of the fire with a glass of wine – once you’re
rejuvenated, hit the night clubs at the base of the hill and enjoy the
sights and sounds of the Canadian culture.
Romance Report 2006
London, England
London may be the official home to one Queen, but its vibrant
nightlife has made this city a hot-spot for the world’s dancing
queens. From its posh lounges to its trendy dance clubs, London’s
West End, specifically Soho, will give you that authentic, big-city
nightlife experience. If you’re looking for a different scene, try a pub.
London’s many pubs are the lifeblood of British sociability and are
readily found in every neighborhood.
South Beach, Florida
If you want to see and be seen, then South Beach is the place to be.
Celebrities, who are known to frolic in this area of Miami Beach, have
turned this location into a chic party destination. South Beach is
known for its hip clubs and wild night life, as well as numerous
excellent restaurants. If you’re looking to rub shoulders with
celebrities and jet-setters, then make South Beach your next
vacation destination.
Munich, Germany, “Oktoberfest”
Five million liters of beer, 200,000 pork sausages and 20 major beer
gardens – can you say party? Oktoberfest is the largest public
festival in the world, attracting more than six million visitors to this
annual bash. From September 17 – October 3, Munich throws
caution to the wind as millions converge on Englischer Garten, one of
the largest city parks in the world, to party and drink until dawn. If
drinking beer in a tent isn’t your thing, you will find a great selection
of revamped pubs in Munich that offer the ambiance of the festival
with the luxury of being indoors.
Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The Brazilian version of Mardi Gras, Carnival, the four-day, 24-hour
celebration that takes place in February, consumes tourists and
locals in a fiesta of pulsating music and radiant costumes. From
scantily clad dancers and pounding samba rhythms to wild parades
and incessant revelry, visitors should know that ANYTHING goes
during Carnival. Leave your inhibitions at home and experience life as
it should be – wild, wacky, frivolous and fun!
Romance Report 2006
Globetrotting Isn’t the
Only Way to Meet New
People –
An Exciting Encounter Could be Right Next Door
While traveling the world is a fantastic way to meet and greet, Harlequin’s Romance Experts
recognize that not everyone can afford to frequent the world’s hottest party destinations.
And we all know that opportunity often comes knocking when and where we least expect it. You’d
be surprised to discover just how many people you can find right in your own neighborhood – you
just have to open your eyes and learn to look at situations as opportunities.
Romance Report 2006
Below are some great places to meet new people in your neighborhood and a few
pointers on how to engage someone during a first encounter. How many times have you
heard that the laundromat is a great place to meet someone? Well, we’re not only going
to tell you where to go, we’re going to show you how to work it when you get there!
Dog Park – Always come prepared with an extra baggie as you
never know who might need it and don’t be afraid to make
conversation with fellow pet owners – they are as proud of their
pooches as you are.
Grocery stores – Jerry Seinfeld was right when he said, “there’s
just something about the produce section.” The next time you’re
assessing apples, get some selection advice from the eye candy next
to you.
Laundromat – Next time your clothes need a clean, ditch your
regular detergent and borrow some of his/hers. If you can’t bear the
idea of parting with your detergent try their fabric softener, static
reducers, etc.
Book clubs – Don’t just join one, bring your signature dip to each
meeting. You’ll be the favorite in no time, leaving everyone wanting
Volunteer organizations – Volunteering is a win-win situation for
everyone involved. You’ll feel great, you’ll do good and you’ll increase
your chances of meeting someone with similar interests.
Library – Try a section you’ve never visited before – you may find
more than a good book. If you frequent the library often, try
staggering your visits. If you usually go in the morning, try going
at night.
Lumber and home improvement stores – Challenge yourself
to a new home improvement project. Your home will look great and
you’ll have several opportunities to ask for tips, advice and opinions
along the way.
Take a class, any class – New hobbies mean new people. Find a
class that suits your interests. Even if you don’t meet that special
someone, at least you’ve picked up a new skill.
Museums – Do a little research about the latest exhibit before your
next trip to the museum. This way you can use your new knowledge
to strike up a conversation with confidence and ease.
Coffeehouses – Bring a book next time and park it. In the mood for
a new drink? Ask the person ahead of you what they’re having –
it’s a great conversation starter and it may inspire your next caffeine
Health club – Not sure where a machine is, or how it works? Don’t
be shy… ask someone. This is a great icebreaker and can easily lead
to a hands-on training session.
Romance Report 2006
The Good, The Bad
and The Ugly
Best/worst pick-up lines
from around the world
Our Romance Report Experts searched high and
low, combing the continents to bring you the ultimate
list of best and worst pick-up lines from around the
world. Whether you are looking to have some fun,
woo that special someone or need some new
material, we’ve got the pick-up line for you.
the use, in whole or in part, of any of these
lines may result in the following: slaps; drinks thrown at you;
showering of affection; dates; looks of confusion or
bewilderment; and/or eviction from whichever establishment
you are in at the time of use. Our experts request that you use
these lines at your own risk and exercise caution when doing so.
Romance Report 2006
Lost in Translation
• Quisiera ser sudor para recorrerle todo el cuerpo.
I would like to be perspiration to travel around your whole body
• Me gustaria ser tu pijama para compartir contigo la misma cama.
I would like to be your pajamas to share with you the same bed
• Si tu cuerpo fuera una cárcel, tus brazos cadenas, que bonito sitio
para cumplir mi condena.
If your body was a jail and your arms chains that would be a
beautiful place to complete my condemnation (MEXICO)
Too smooth for your own good
• Maybe I can’t turn your world around but I can sure make your
bed rock. (HOLLAND)
• Well, here I am. What were your other two wishes? (AUSTRALIA)
• All those curves, and me with no brakes. (MEXICO)
• I know milk does a body good, but baby, how much have you
been drinking? (USA)
• Apart from being sexy, what do you do for a living? (CANADA)
Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?
• Nice bum, where ya from? (CANADA)
• Didn’t anyone tell you that you wanted to sleep with me?!?!
I thought you knew… (AUSTRALIA)
• You’re on my list of things to do tonight. (USA)
The Classics Never Die
It’s amazing you don’t get slapped more often
• How do you like your eggs in the morning? (AUSTRALIA)
• Do you have some change for the phone so I can call your mum
to tell her you’re not sleeping at home tonight? (HOLLAND)
• Memorize my name – you’ll be shouting it all night long!
• Are you a parking ticket, because you have FINE written all over
you! (USA)
• If I told you that you had a great body, would you hold it against
me? (ITALY)
• Do you have a band-aid? Because I scraped my knees when I fell
for you. (CANADA)
• You’re delicious! (SPAIN)
• Is it that cold out or are you smuggling tic-tacs? (AUSTRALIA)
• Perhaps I am not the most handsome boy in this place, but I am
the only one who is speaking to you. (SPAIN/PORTUGAL)
• Hi breast, can I have your number? (HOLLAND)
The Gold Standard
• Smart and beautiful – you are truly the perfect package.
• Stay yourself, this is more than enough. (HOLLAND)
• Do you believe in love at first sight – or should I enter the room
again? (GERMANY)
Good For a Laugh
• I lost my number, can I borrow yours? (U.K.)
• In Italy only real men have big moustaches. (ITALY)
• Let’s make like a fabric softener and Snuggle (USA)
And our favorite…
• I’m not actually this tall. I’m sitting on my wallet.
Romance Report 2006
Taking the first step
toward a meaningful
Leading dating consultant shares his tips
Once we decided that the Harlequin Romance Report 2006 would focus
on The Encounter, we knew we had to call on Evan Marc Katz to lend his
insight and expertise. A leading dating consultant and guru in the art of
making a good first impression, Evan shares his tips on taking the first
steps toward a meaningful encounter.
You’re happy. You’re healthy. You’re smart. You like your job. You love your friends and family. You
enjoy your rich single life; but, to be honest, you’d enjoy it even more if you could share it with
someone else.
Sound familiar?
Evan Marc Katz,
Harlequin’s romance
Finding that combination of best friend, lover and partner-in-crime is about the hardest thing in
the world. Rather than drive yourself crazy with the trial and error of dating, it’s sometimes easier
to focus on accomplishing other goals. You vie for a promotion. You start training for a marathon.
You catch up on your reading. While your life continues to fill up, you continue to go at it alone.
We’ve all been there and we’re all familiar with the cliché that claims love finds us when we least
expect it. Sadly, I don’t buy it. Sure, it’s romantic and ideal, but it’s also impractical.
A successful encounter can lead to The Coffee Date, The
Fling, The Torrid Affair, and yes, even The One. But nothing
will ever happen if you don’t take that first step.
Romance Report 2006
Making an effort to create more encounters doesn’t mean you’re desperate and it doesn’t
diminish your vibrant single life. It’s simply about creating time to search for love –
and it is a search.
When you’re unemployed, you do everything in your power to find a
job. Why? Because finding a job is vital. Yet, when you’re single
you… wait for the right person to trip over you on the street? Your
love life should be just as important as your professional life. The
same energy and effort you put into finding work should be put into
finding love.
art history and screenwriting. I’ve gone to social networking events
designed for writers and journalists. I’ve even taken salsa dance
lessons – by myself. It’s great if you actually want to learn Spanish or
watercolors, but by taking classes, you’re also putting yourself
around other like-minded people.
For those who protest that they literally have no time for anything
beyond working, eating and sleeping, all is not lost. Needless to say,
“The One” is not going to bust down your office door, knock on your
bedroom window, or show up on your doorstep out of the blue. You
must be open about the fact that you are single and looking, even
when you’re not actively looking. Tell everyone you trust – your
friends, your co-workers, your hairdresser – that you’d like to be
fixed up. Contact a matchmaker in your area. Or, easiest of all, post a
profile on an online dating site.
Making an effort to create more encounters doesn’t mean you’re
desperate and it doesn’t diminish your vibrant single life. It’s simply
about creating time to search for love – and it is a search. So many
people want to cut to the chase and just find someone, like turning
over a rock and finding a golden nugget. In fact, the quest for love is
far more like panning and prospecting – a lot of effort, not as much of
an immediate reward. The point is, there’s always the potential to
hit it big.
Spending sixty hours a week at the office may pad the bank account
but it also creates a few problems. You have less time at night to go
out. You spend your weekends running errands. You barely have any
spare time to catch up with your friends and family. While you can’t
change your lifestyle cold-turkey, you do need to create space for
the encounters that may change your life.
Whether you spend an hour a day or an hour a month browsing the
personals, at least you’re making an effort. The kind of chance
encounters we see in the movies are amazing, but they’re rare and
certainly not the only way to meet someone.
Put yourself out there and see what happens. Look for opportunities
to meet new people. A successful encounter can lead to The Coffee
Date, The Fling, The Torrid Affair, and yes, even The One. But nothing
will ever happen if you don’t take that first step.
If you work in a big office, social opportunities abound, and if they
don’t, you can create them. Your colleagues probably feel isolated as
well and would jump at the chance to blow off some steam at a
happy hour or a softball game. Putting out the vibe that you want to
be social will attract similarly social colleagues. Plus, making new
friends at the office opens up worlds that you couldn’t possibly
foresee: card games, pick-up basketball, dinner parties – all just by
being proactive about your social life at work.
Evan Marc Katz is Harlequin’s romance consultant and leading dating
expert whose second book, “Why You’re Still Single: Things Your
Friends Would Tell You If You Promised Not to Get Mad” (co-written
with Linda Holmes), will be published by Plume/Penguin in
May 2006. Evan is also the CEO of the online dating consulting
service E-Cyrano.com and can be reached directly at
If you work from home, you’re faced with a whole other dilemma: to
ask out the mail carrier or not? Being an entrepreneur or
telecommuter can have its rewards but it can also be socially
frustrating. You can easily go an entire day without seeing another
human being. Still, there are a number of things you can do to kickstart your social life from home. I’ve taken adult education classes in
Romance Report 2006
Planning Your Next
Valentine’s Day Party
Whoever decided that Valentine’s Day was reserved solely for
newlyweds and hopeless romantics clearly needs a reality check. No
matter what your romantic status, Valentine’s Day is ultimately about
celebrating the important relationships in your life. We’re not
suggesting that couples eschew a romantic celebration, but in an
effort to make the holiday a little more modern we
challenge everyone, single or attached, to bid
adieu to the chocolate hearts and red roses
of years past and embrace the idea
o f t h ro w i n g a fa b u l o u s
Va l e n t i n e’ s Da y
p a r t y.
Romance Report 2006
Party for Singles
everyone to dress up in their finest, rent a limo to pick-up all your
guests, play cheesy music and ask everyone to bring a copy of their
real prom pictures for display. The great dresses, suits and corsages
will all help to create a memorable evening and a totally unique
Valentine’s Day party!
Looking to meet someone new and expand your social circle? Look
no further than a party in which each single person brings an eligible
single friend of the opposite sex. This way everyone is connected in
some way and the evening maintains a level of intimacy lacking in
typical “singles” events. Try giving your party a theme that inspires
creativity, one that moves beyond traditional Valentine’s Day themes.
Young Parents Valentine’s Day Party
Forget the baby-sitter and get the kids involved. Valentine’s Day
doesn’t have to be spent one-on-one with your significant other. It
can be shared with all the people you love in your life. If the kids are
young start the day off with heart shaped pancakes or cookies. Keep
your kids’ interests in mind and plan a day you can share with them –
visit a local museum, go ice skating or make home-made Valentine’s
Day crafts. End the evening with a nice family dinner out or an indoor
picnic followed by a movie.
Anti-Valentine’s Day Party
Bah Humbug! Been burned by love lately and not really feeling
festive this Valentine’s Day? Get over it. Instead of despairing over
your current situation focus on the people who really matter in your
life. Since restaurants are rife with overly affectionate couples, don’t
torture yourself by going out. Throw a party and celebrate the day
with your friends and family. Go for a relaxed, casual vibe. Put on your
most fabulous outfit, play your favorite songs and treat yourself to
your very own personal Valentine’s Day celebration.
Pet Lovers Valentine’s Day
Show your pet how important they are to you by devoting your day
to them. Whether you host a pet party with your friends and their
pets or you keep it simple and focus solely on your pride and joy,
make the day about your four-legged friends. Cuddle up on the
couch and watch a movie, take a longer-than-usual walk together,
enjoy the afternoon grooming them, whatever makes them feel
special. They show you how much they love you 364 days of the year
– why not make this one about them?
Couples Valentine’s Day Party
Past Harlequin Romance Reports have revealed that most men in
relationships find Valentine’s Day extremely stressful. Women have
serious expectations and the day often ends in disappointment and
even argument. Take some of the pressure off this year and consider
a night out with other couples. Bored of the traditional dinner party?
Be creative – be crazy! Throw a Prom Redux House Party. Tell
If you are looking forward to a traditional Valentine’s Day, here are some clever
new ideas to spice things up this year:
• Draw a bath with floating flowers and only candles
for illumination. Wash his/her hair. Paint her toenails.
Feed each other chocolates & strawberries
• Read erotic literature to your partner
• Spray your cologne or perfume on a piece of paper,
write a note on it and put it in their bag before they
head off to work
• Watch the kids while she/he takes a nap
• Memorize your partner’s favorite song and sing it
to them
• Arrange for a day at the spa for both of you together
• Take him/her on a surprise, last-minute weekend trip
to a destination that you’ve always dreamed of
• Organize a scavenger hunt for the two of you, with
the prize at the end a romantic dinner, maybe an
engagement ring, a proposal or something else
• Bake your Valentine a favorite sweet treat
• Write notes and leave them everywhere (underwear,
pockets, briefcase, lunchbox, car etc.); write notes
on the mirror with your intentions
• Create your own at-home spa
• If you’ve been hesitating… SET A DATE!!!!!
• Make arrangements for the kids to be watched, and
have a romantic dinner out
• Set the table in the dining room with all the good
china and crystal and make a fabulous, romantic
feast for two
• Have the kids make valentines for mom and dad
• Surprise him/her with breakfast in bed
Romance Report 2006
The mood of a party is set by the music you play. If you want
guests asleep on your couch by 11:00 p.m. then classic love
ballads will do the trick. If you’re more interested in driving
your neighbors crazy then heavy metal is the way to go.
But somewhere in between lies the happy medium –
the song mix that gets your guests out of their
seats, but not on top of the dining room table.
Harlequin’s team of resident party pros presents
you with the ultimate party mix – guaranteed
to kick-start your next shindig.
’S Ultimat
to kic
k-start you
to kic
k-start your n
I N ’S Ultimate
HA arante U IN ’S Ultimate Pa indig
xt s
to kic
Gu R L
The Ultimate
Party Mix
Get the Party Started – Pink
Let’s Get it On – Marvin Gaye
“I’m comin’ up so you better get this party
“Ah, babe, let’s get it on; Let’s love, baby; Let’s get it on,
sugar; Let’s get it on”
You Shook Me All Night Long –
Mony, Mony – Billy Idol
“Don’t stop now come on Mony; Come on, I said yeah, yeah,
yeah; yeah, yeah”
“Cause the walls start shaking, the earth was
Honky Tonk Women – Rolling Stones
Don’t Stop Until You Get Enough –
Michael Jackson
“It’s the honky tonk women; Gimme, gimme, gimme the
honky tonk blues.
“Don’t Stop. Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough”
Hot In Herre – Nelly
“It’s gettin’ hot in here (so hot)…”
Jump Around – House of Pain
Can’t Get You Out of My Head –
Kylie Minogue
“So get out your seats and jump around; Jump around”
“I just can’t get you out of my head; Boy it’s more than
I dare to think about”
“Ah come on Eileen”
“She told me to Walk this way, talk this way.”
Twist and Shout – The Beatles
“You know you twist your little girl (Twist, little girl); You know you twist so fine”
Gold Digger – Kanye West
“Now I aint sayin she a gold digger…”
“London calling to the
faraway towns.”
I Wanna be Sedated – Ramones
“Twenty-twenty-twenty four hours to go I wanna be sedated”
C’mon Eileen – Dexy’s Midnight Runners
Walk This Way – Aerosmith and
London Calling –
The Clash
Hey Mama – Black Eyed Peas
‘hey mama… la la la la la.”
Tainted Love – Soft Cell
“Touch me baby, tainted love; Tainted love”
Fight for your Right – Beastie Boys
“You gotta fight for your right to party”
Lucy Fitzhenry didn’t just wake up
one morning and decide to do
something stupid...
But when an experimental strain of
chocolate that she’d developed
needed testing, someone had to do
it. Who knew that overindulging in
her creation would turn an
introverted plant lover into a wild
Meet the Members of the
Breakup Club…
In her most ambitious novel yet,
Melissa Senate explores life after
heartbreak for four very different
yet equally memorable New
Yorkers, with her characteristic
warmth, wit and wisdom.
Romance Report 2006
Movie Magic:
Classic On-Screen Encounters
Movies shape the way we look at our relationships. They inspire our imaginations
and encourage us to evaluate our own encounters. From the languid first glance
shared between strangers across a crowded room to the perfectly delivered pick-up
line, movies bring to life the fantasy encounters we all desire.
Harlequin has compiled a list of the most memorable on-screen encounters – the
moments that change the course of these characters’ lives and inspire moviegoers
the world over to celebrate the magic of cinema.
William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (1996) – A classic
love story retold from a more modern perspective. The film stars
Leonardo DiCaprio as the love-struck Romeo and Claire Danes as
the fair Juliet. In this unforgettable first encounter, the star-crossed
lovers lock eyes through the glass of an enormous fish tank before
Juliet is torn away from her Romeo.
City of Angels (1998) – What happens when an angel falls in love
with a mortal? A romantic love affair begins. Nicolas Cage plays an
angel so inspired by his encounter with co-star Meg Ryan’s
character that he reveals himself to her in human form.
King Kong (2006) – “And, lo, the Beast looked upon the face of
Beauty. And Beauty stayed his hand.” Will Peter Jackson’s updated
version, starring Naomi Watts as the sacrificial offering who
captivates the giant ape Kong, make us forget Fay Wray’s Ann
Darrow in the 1933 classic? We think it just might. Having won his
savage heart, the beautiful Ann is protected by “The Eighth Wonder
of the World” from menaces as diverse as a Tyrannosaurus Rex and
the U.S. Army Air Corps. Finally, the great beast sacrifices himself to
save her inspiring the enduring line—“It was Beauty killed the Beast!”
Casablanca (1942) – Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman set
the stage for what is arguably the most moving love story in
cinematic history. The iconic film is often associated with its most
unforgettable line, “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the
world, she walks into mine.” Chance encounter? You decide.
Lost in Translation (2003) – Washed-up movie star Bob Harris
(Bill Murray) and lonely newlywed Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson)
find each other in a hotel elevator in Tokyo. Both are adrift in Japan
and in their lives. Do they end up together? That depends on what
you think Bob whispers to Charlotte at the end of the film.
Bonnie and Clyde (1967) – Bonnie Parker (Faye Dunaway)
meets Clyde Barrow (Warren Beatty) while he’s stealing her
mother’s car. Minutes later these partners in crime and in love have
robbed a store, fired gunshots, and stolen another car – all before
introducing themselves to each other.
Before Sunrise (1995) – When a young American (Ethan
Hawke) traveling through Europe by train meets a beautiful French
student (Julie Delpy), he convinces her to spend the day with him in
Vienna so they can get to know each other better. They spend their
day exploring the city and before they know it, they find themselves
falling in love. The entire movie follows the pair through their first
Life is Beautiful (1997) – Hotel waiter Guido Orefice (Roberto
Benigni) falls in love with school teacher Dora (Nicoletta Braschi),
who is engaged to be married to another man, at first sight. Guido
literally sweeps his “princess” off her feet and steals her away on a
green horse.
Moulin Rouge (2001) – Satine (Nicole Kidman) is a beautiful,
tragically ill courtesan who falls prey to a case of mistaken identity
when she thinks Christian (Ewan McGregor) is a duke rather than
the sensitive poet she soon comes to love. They first lock eyes in a
dramatic scene in the Moulin Rouge as Kidman performs on-stage
for a crowd of adoring men.
Shrek (2001) – Shrek (Mike Myers) is an ogre with a heart of gold.
In true fairy-tale fashion Shrek rescues the fair Princess Fiona
(Cameron Diaz) from a ferocious dragon. The unlikely pair is united
by a shared secret, which leads them to love and a life of happily
ever after.
Romance Report 2006
Encounters 101:
A Guide to the Strategic Pursuit of Your Next Encounter
One in five North Americans admitted to fabricating an encounter so they could bump into
someone they were interested in and make it look like chance. We’ve all done it. You
discover where that person hangs out, you memorize their route to class/work or the
bookstore they frequent. Some might call it borderline stalking, we prefer to call it
“purposeful encountering.”
Smart men and women do their research. It’s hard to be spontaneous all the time, so why
not be strategic? If someone catches your eye or inspires interest, why not seek them out?
Some of us can’t be bothered to wait for fate to hand us a phone number, so we take
matters into our own hands. The key is to always be honest. Fabricating an encounter to
encourage an introduction is one thing, being dishonest is another.
Romance Report 2006
Harlequin’s romance experts have a few tips to help you turn your next purposeful
encounter into an opportunity. We know that sometimes you need to think on your feet
and execute quickly, whereas other times you have the advantage of seeing a person
regularly, which lends itself to more thoughtful planning. Whatever the situation, the key is
to be as confident and as casual as possible.
And remember, if the person is uninterested or uncomfortable, you’ll be able to tell right
away. Our advice – abort mission immediately and move on to the next opportunity.
Purposeful Encounters
The Regular:
The Fitness Fanatic:
This is the person you see every Saturday morning at your local
coffee shop, dry cleaner or breakfast joint. The easiest approach for
the regular is casual small talk, usually started with a very general
question – Do you know a good bakery, bookstore or market in the
Most people go to the gym with one goal in mind: to work out.
Most people don’t like to be hit on at the gym. The best approach is
one that seems organic and unplanned, even if the encounter has
been in the works for weeks. If the person prefers a certain machine,
position yourself next to them. Ask a general question about a
particular fitness instructor or class, or if they are reading a magazine
or book, use that as a conversation starter.
The Bookworm:
If you live in the city, this approach works really well for the
bookworm you see on the subway or commuter train every day or
that person who catches your eye and just happens to be reading a
book. Approach the bookworm right before you exit the train, hand
them your business card and say the following: “I thought you could
use a new bookmark.” This approach is direct and cute, plus we
know firsthand that it works!
The Pet Lover:
Pets are great conversation starters; if you don’t have one, borrow
one and dog walk for a day. Do not, under any circumstance,
pretend the dog is yours. So you don’t actually own the dog – who
cares! You’re walking it for a friend and clearly demonstrating that
you’re an animal lover. Make sure you know some basic information
about the dog first, such as its breed and age.
The Stranger:
Most people have been taught from a young age not to talk to
strangers, so your approach needs to be casual and friendly. Asking
for directions is an easy and painless conversation starter.
Romance Report 2006
Turn-Offs and Turn-Ons
you NEED to Know
There are certain conversations – those that happen at slumber parties or in men’s locker
rooms – that aren’t designed for the ears of the opposite sex. These are the conversations
where secrets are shared, techniques ridiculed and tips passed – conversations where
men speak with abandon and women dish freely. Harlequin’s romance experts went
undercover to find out what men and women really think about the opposite sex – what
turns them on, what turns them off, and what seals the deal.
You Go Girl!
Be yourself
When meeting someone for the first time, remember to put your best
foot forward and be yourself. By exuding self-confidence and
showing your intellect and competence, you’ll leave a lasting
impression that will leave men longing for more. Tip: Before a night
on the town, think of three things you would like your mystery man to
know about you and be ready to share them.
Don’t be a Chatty Cathy
Nobody likes a chatter box – Nerves can make us ramble, but
overpowering the conversation and forgetting to ask questions
doesn’t show the other person you’re interested in hearing about
them. Tip: Listen attentively and look for clues – if he’s wearing a
baseball hat, ask him if he’s a baseball fan. These types of questions
will help instigate a conversation.
Laughter is contagious
A wise person once said, “Laughter is the best medicine” and it’s
true! Laughter can inspire a fresh perception, a new way of thinking,
and a change of belief. When you’re happy and laughing it’s
infectious – so show off that sense of humor and watch the men
come to you. Tip: If making people laugh isn’t your strong suit,
search the Internet for jokes or fun anecdotes that you can bring up
in conversations.
Get a life
The one thing men fear most is a woman who doesn’t have a life
outside of their relationship. If you’re too focused on being with him,
you’ll scare him away. It is important for men to know that they’re not
responsible for entertaining you 24 hours a day. Tip: Enjoy your
friends, family and personal interests and don’t be afraid to show you
are independent and capable of life beyond your significant other.
Always remember to flirt
Flirting is one of the easiest ways to attract the opposite sex. It helps
break the ice and it is a great way to show someone you’re
interested. It’s harmless and fun – but if you’re not genuinely
interested, be careful, you might be giving him the wrong message!
Tip: Buy him a drink, make eye contact, or offer him a smile – flirting
is easy and we’ve all done it, so take a chance for romance.
More than just a white lie
We’ve all fantasized about being someone we’re not – a rock star, a
runway model, the person who invented Velcro. While most people
keep their fantasies to themselves, some of us are prone to
embellishing the truth every now and then. Instead of lying, be open
and honest. Lying about who you are will only come back to haunt
you later on. Tip: Share the parts of your life that are the most
rewarding – remember it’s up to you what information you divulge.
Romance Report 2006
Man oh Man
Dress code in effect
If you’re looking to impress, then make sure you fit the part. Women
like men who take pride in how they look. So next time you pull a
dirty shirt out of your laundry hamper, think twice and opt for
something a little “fresher”. Tip: A nice pair of jeans and a light
sweater or dress shirt will go a long way. You don’t have to be a
runway model, but looking your best shows off your confidence.
Make it enjoyable
Have fun and unleash your sense of humor. Be quick. Be witty. And
be elusive. If she sees you having fun and enjoying her company,
then it will most likely have a positive effect on her demeanor. When
the conversation is enjoyable and easy, everything just flows
that much better and a real connection will start to develop.
Tip: Just remember to be yourself and have fun.
Expand your social circle
Men who hang out in groups are intimidating to women. You appear
unapproachable and unsociable. Talking to women is always easier if
you venture out in smaller groups, or are willing to approach women
on your own. Tip: Go out with a friend and look for two women on
their own – approach them together and if it doesn’t work out, at
least you can laugh it off with your friend.
Don’t “adjust” your package
O.K. we know that you all do it and frankly it’s not appropriate in
public, so listen up – don’t “rearrange” your body parts in front of
women! We don’t want to see it nor do we want to know that you’re
uncomfortable – it’s not attractive and it’s a definite turn-off.
Tip: If you need to readjust, politely excuse yourself and head to the
restroom for some privacy.
It’s a drag to brag
Offer details of your life, but don’t brag about your finances or
experiences. It’s normal to be proud of your accomplishments, but
limit your grandstanding for another time. Tip: Instead of sharing
how much is in your bank account, share your goals and aspirations
– women will be more interested in learning about the qualities that
make you who you are.
Pay attention
Men have developed a bad reputation for being insensitive and
disengaged. If you’re looking to seal the deal, pay attention when a
woman is talking, ask questions and show you are interested in the
conversation. Tip: If you’re in a crowded spot, suggest moving
somewhere quieter. Let her know that you’re having difficulty
hearing what she’s saying and that you’d really like to be able to give
her your full attention.
Chicks dig men who dance!
Shake your booty
So you’re no Usher – who cares? Don’t be afraid of the dance floor –
embrace it! The dance floor is a magnet for women, so throw caution
to the wind and get out there and work it. Tip: Bring a friend with
you onto the dance floor and have fun. If someone catches your
eye, slowly move toward her and lightly brush her body to get
her attention.
Life can’t be all work and no play!
January 2006
February 2006
Mixing business with pleasure has
never been this seductive!
Breakfast in bed has a whole
new meaning!
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Romance Report 2006
You are
what you drink
This may come as a surprise, but what you drink says a lot about you. Research
indicates that your drink of choice is linked to a particular personality. Caveat – take
note of what you’re drinking; after you read this you may decide to pick a new
favorite. For those looking to meet new people, pay attention next time you are out
at a bar and end the guessing game. Now you’ll have valuable insight into that
beautiful stranger, without having to utter a single word.*
Red Wine – This probably comes as no surprise but if you’re a red
wine connoisseur, you’re conservative, classy and sophisticated. You
also tend to be organized – the type of person who alphabetizes
their CD collections.
Gin – Comfort and security are two things gin drinkers crave in their
life. They have accepted the reality of their existence and tend to
focus on their home, family and friends. They are interested in
relationships, soap operas, novels with happy endings and are
passionate about saving animals.
Martinis – Martini drinkers like to see and be seen. These men and
women love the sleek look and feel of the martini glass and exude a
stylish confidence. To them the martini is more than a drink – it’s a
fashion accessory. Martini drinkers frequent the trendiest bars and
restaurants and demand quality.
Beer – If you’re a man, this is probably your drink of choice. People
who drink beer are experimental and creative in their thoughts and
behaviors. However, the majority of these ideas are never acted upon
and are superseded by other ideas. They are most likely to enjoy jazz
and unusual art. They like wearing black and like to meet people
at pubs.
Tequila – If you love the worm then you’re free-spirited,
unconcerned about tomorrow and not worried about short or long
term achievements. You’re generally a lot of fun to be around –
gregarious in nature and a definite extrovert. A tequila drinker
typically exudes a younger behavior and outlook.
Mixed Drinks – People who order mixed drinks are generally older
and picky. They know what they want and are extroverts – they’re
also more likely to buy a drink for someone they’re interested in.
Blender Drinks – Those who order blender drinks are considered
flaky and annoying. Men tend to avoid women who order these
drinks because they think they’re high maintenance.
Vodka/White Wine – If your drink of choice is vodka or white
wine, you have an entrepreneurial spirit and like being in charge.
Fashion is important to these individuals and they enjoy being up-todate on the trends. They also tend to be opinionated and
* Based on the research of chartered psychologist Ros Taylor.
Romance Report 2006
Ask Mr. Romance
Randy Ritchwood
Andrew Larsen
For more information about Randy,
For more information about Andrew,
visit www.kija1.com
visit www.kingmefishing.com
In March 2005 Harlequin teamed up with Oxygen Network to find the most romantic man in America
through the popular reality show “Oxygen’s Mr. Romance.” Throughout the series, romancers-intraining entered a veritable “romance boot camp” and competed in front of a panel of celebrity
judges/guests and romance professionals, including Fabio, Gene Simmons, Fred Willard and TV
personality Tina Malave.
Randy Ritchwood, a truck driver from East Orange, NJ known for his street smarts and big heart, outcharmed the other contestants and took the title of Mr. Romance. Andrew Larsen, originally from
Portland, Ore., a devoted outdoorsman and Alaskan Charter Boat Captain, won the Oxygen Viewers’
Choice contest, with over 45,000 fans voting on Oxygen.com.
Randy graces the cover of THE LONG HOT SUMMER by Rochelle Alers (Dec. 2005) as well as
SOLID SOUL by Brenda Jackson, an upcoming title from Harlequin’s new African-American line,
Kimani Press. Andrew is featured on the cover of a historical romance, MIDNIGHT MARRIAGE by
Victoria Bylin (Jan. 2006).
Now we’ve asked the winners to share their insight and expertise with women everywhere. Randy and
Andrew tackle your most pressing romantic dilemmas, offering the advice and know-how that will help
move your romantic encounter to the next level.
Mr. Romance,
There is this incredible guy who works in the same building as I do. I
see him almost every day coming in or out of the building. I really want
him to notice me. I’m not sure how to go about getting his attention
and starting a conversation since we only ever see each other in
passing. Any suggestions?
Signed: Shy Girl
Mr. Romance,
My friends call me a serial dater. I date a guy once or twice and then
lose interest. I’m not sure if I am addicted to the chase or if these guys
just can’t hold my interest. I’ve never been in a relationship that has
lasted more than a few months and none are ever serious. Is there
something wrong with me? Am I just too picky? Or is this behavior
normal for a twenty-six-year-old woman?
Signed: Getting Worried
Dear Shy Girl,
I’m sure this guy would love to know you’re interested. I think your best bet is
to do a little detective work and find out where exactly he works in the
building and find out things such as when he takes his lunch. Then “bump”
into him. You need to create an instance where you are comfortable enough
to make the first move. Guys really respond to that. Take a deep breath and
introduce yourself. Tell him that you always see him around and have wanted
to say hi but didn’t know his name. Once you start the dialogue you’ll get a
better sense of his personality and be able to take it from there. My advice is
to create opportunities and don’t wait for them to create themselves – that
only happens in the movies.
Dear Getting Worried,
Forget what your friends think for a minute and figure out what you think. Do
you think that there is a chance that you are more interested in the chase
than the person you are chasing? Or do you think you have something
specific in mind and just aren’t finding it? No one can tell you what is normal
for you. Only you know that. Sometimes you need to try different things
before discovering what fits best. If what your friends are saying really bugs
you, maybe there is some truth to it. You have to separate what your
friends are saying and what you are thinking before you can properly analyze
the situation.
Romance Report 2006
Mr. Romance,
I’m single and looking for love in all the
wrong places. I go out with my girlfriends
every weekend to various parties,
restaurants and social gatherings looking for
a good time and the possibility of meeting
someone special. While we always have fun
I’m not sure I am meeting the kind of guys I
can take seriously. I seem to meet the same
type of guy everywhere I go. I’m sure there is
a great guy out there for me but if things
continue the way they are going, I’m scared
we’ll never meet. I don’t know what to do!
Signed: Dating Deja-Vu
Mr. Romance,
I recently broke up with my boyfriend of 4
years and now I am single for the first time in
what feels like forever. My friends tell me I
need to “get back out there” but I don’t know
where to start! I haven’t been on a date in
ages and I can’t remember the last time I
used a pick-up line. I feel like I am starting
all over again and it scares me because it
feels so unnatural. How do I get back into
the dating scene without driving myself
Signed: Feeling Lost
Dear Feeling Lost,
Well the good news is it sounds like you want to
get back out there, you just don’t know where to
get started. The best advice I can give you is to
try lots of different things. Sometimes when
people get out of long term relationships, they
feel lost and lonely. The best advice I can give
you is turn your new-found singledom into a
positive thing. Do the things you always wanted
to do but didn’t because your partner didn’t want
to or wasn’t interested in. Go to clubs/bars, try a
new class at the gym, whatever works for you.
Start doing the things you want to do and if
you meet someone in the process it’s just an
added bonus.
Dear Dating Deja-Vu,
It sounds like you have fallen into a predictable
pattern. The best remedy I can suggest is
change. Try new places and you will likely meet
new people. Try things you haven’t done before,
go to places you’ve never been before and get
creative. Also try talking to your friends. Maybe
some of them are feeling the same way you are
and together you can come up with some
solutions. Bars/clubs/restaurants are not the only
places to meet people. You can meet them at
the grocery store, the library, the mall, the
laundromat, virtually anywhere. Banking all your
social activity on the same social scene will
eventually get tired. Try to mix it up a little and I’m
sure your results will improve.
Mr. Romance,
I just moved to a city where I know almost no
one. I go to work each day and come home
with little to no social interaction. I’m a very
social person in the right situations but so
far none of these situations have presented
themselves. I’m not only interested in
meeting someone romantically but in
meeting new friends. How and where do you
meet people these days?
Signed: Lonely and the City
Dear Lonely and the City,
Being the “new guy” is always tough, let alone
the new guy in a new city. This situation you are
in may require a little extra effort on your part but
the result will be worth it. You are going to have
to go out of your way to talk to your co-workers
and neighbors. Take a class somewhere: art,
aerobics, cooking, anything that appeals to you.
You will definitely meet people through activities.
Try to introduce yourself to three new people this
week. Look into at least one or two new activities
where a social element could come into play.
Increase your chances for social interaction and
you won’t be disappointed.
Mr. Romance,
I met this guy at a bar and gave him my card.
I know this isn’t the most ideal way to meet
the “perfect guy” but so far it’s been going
really well. We’ve seen each other almost
every day for the past two weeks and my
friends keep asking me what it all means. I
don’t know what to tell them. Do a lot of
dates in a short period of time count for
more than a few dates spread out? I’m
usually not that interested in labels but it
would make my life a lot easier to know how
to refer to him. Where do we stand?
Please help!
Signed: Desperate for Direction
Dear Desperate for Direction,
First of all, there is no “ideal” way to meet people.
Secondly, it sounds like you really like this guy so
who cares that your friends are asking a million
questions. Don’t let them pressure you one way
or the other. If you’re the one who’s actually
concerned about your “label” then you have
every right to get to the bottom of it. Open
dialogue between you and your partner is the
only sure way to be reassured in this case.
Conversations like this can always be awkward at
first but never as uncomfortable as we make
them out to be. Figure out what you want your
relationship to be and then have “the
conversation” with him. Don’t pressure him or
give him an ultimatum, just be cool and bring it
up honestly. Besides, did you ever think that
maybe he’s just as confused about your status as
you are?