Saturday, January 2, 2010

Welcome to the first “O, JULIET Love Games” giveaway event! Not only is the theme HEARTS, but the prizes (besides signed copies of O, JULIET) are also HEARTS. How did this iconic symbol become the universal shorthand for love?
The most ancient reference dates back to the 7th century B.C. Cyrene, a city-state in North Africa, grew and traded a highly valued plant call silphium. In fact, the Cyrenese harvested this species of giant fennel to extinction. Why? Besides being used as an aphrodisiac, an ingredient in perfumes, and as a hair restorer, the plant was a highly effective birth control potion. So revered was silphium in the culture that its seed pod was memorialized on Cyrenese coinage. The shape of that pod? A perfect “heart.”

No wonder the shape came to be associated with love and eroticism – it allowed a man and a woman to make love without making a baby!

A bit later the Greek philosopher, Aristotle, and the Roman physician, Galen, asserted that the human heart was the seat of all emotion. Perhaps because the organ beats faster when excited or stirred by love, these two ancient trend-setters believed it natural to associate the heart with passion. But the human heart doesn’t look much like the stylized version (the two humps above a pointy bottom) which is recognized by all major human cultures. Some believe it resembles the female pubic mound or a spread-open vulva. Turning it upside down draws comparisons to a pair of rounded, swinging breasts, or even the female buttocks. Perhaps more farfetched is the suggestion of the heart’s similarity to the tip of the penis.

By the 15th century, Europeans were celebrating Valentine’s Day (a fascinating subject which I’ll discuss in a post in February). And by the 16th century an Irishman had created the first “Claddagh ring” which, with its heart, hands and crown, was (and still is today) the Irish symbol of eternal love, friendship and loyalty.

In the 19th century the Victorians co-opted the arrow-pierced heart and accompanying cupid as the symbol of love, especially for Valentine’s Day.

Milton Glaser’s iconic I ♥NY logo has effectively turned the age-old symbol into a universally recognizable verb, now ubiquitous and used on bumper stickers and t-shirts to advertise everything from Japanese Pro Wrestling to a feature film called “I ♥ Huckabees.”

Whatever it’s history and however it is used, the heart remains a potent symbol of love, and since love is the one and only theme of O, JULIET, I couldn’t have chosen more perfect prizes for the first “Love Games” GIVEAWAY than hearts.


Over the next few weeks, I will be holding THREE SEPARATE GIVEAWAYS for a heart necklace and a signed copy of my new book O, JULIET. Be sure to check back here for many chances to win! Each giveaway will also function as a fun, open-forum discussion about love, as each giveaway will require participants to briefly answer a different question about love through the ages.

O, JULIET Love Game #1: What are the qualities in a lover that are most important to you?

This giveaway is for a carved Thai silver heart necklace and a copy of O, JULIET. It is open to all participants, worldwide. A winner will be chosen and announced on January 18th. In order to qualify for entry, please provide your e-mail address along with your answer to the Love Game question listed above.

I just made it possible for ANYONE to comment and enter this giveaway. You do NOT have to open a Google account. It was just a simple change in setting. Sorry for the earlier confusion.

Lots of love,


  1. Sincerity, fidelity and a sense of humour. I'm lucky enough to have a husband who has all three. My husband is my husband, lover, best friend and life partner. We can laugh together, cry together and work together and it's so important to be able to see the funny side of things when things are looking bad.

  2. The most important is honesty. The one thing I always ask is don't lie to me. If a man is truthful, he probably has the qualities to also be faithful and loyal.

  3. I agree with LuAnn in that honesty is the most important thing for me also.

    joannelong74 AT gmail DOT com

  4. Forgot to leave my email, duh!

  5. I'm afraid my list of qualities is rather long... Honesty, fidelity, intelligence and humour are top on my list, as well as someone who is passionate about what they do in life.

    Thank you for the entry!


  6. I think honesty, a trusting heat and fidelity are the things I most need in a lover. Those are the three things I couldn't do without in someone I was looking to be involved with. Thanks so much for hosting this great giveaway!!


  7. The most important thing I look for is someone who can make me laugh! And second would be a man who is there for me always.


  8. Honesty and fidelity are the most important things for me too.

    eva.silkka at

  9. A Sense of Humor and PATIENCE. Goodness knows we all have our bad days, but when someone can let you have a bad day and say "it will be alright" that is the one for me!


  10. a sense of humor, an open mind, fidelity, common sense

    ShaunaRoberts AT

  11. The ability to love me unconditionally.

  12. Happy New Year! What a fabulous prize giveaway package. I would be honored to win a copy of your book and the lovely heart necklace!
    My husband embodies the qualities that I look for in a lover: passionate, kind, sense of humor, loves to cook, respects me and is a very good dad to uor chidren.
    Many thanks, Cindi

  13. Oh what a lovely post! I never knew that about the fennel thing. Very cool.

    I think that loyalty, honesty, and dash of humor are the qualities I look for in a loving relationship. Honoring and respecting those you love is very important.

    Thanks for the great giveaway!

    nycbookgirl at gmail dot com

  14. The quality I value the most is honesty. I think all other things can come later, but if there isn't honesty, then there can't be a true relationship. Thanks for the giveaway!

    lifessweetpassions {at} gmail {dot} com

  15. I believe a lover needs to be honest, open hearted, have an open mind, sense of humor where he can laugh at himself, down to earth and level headed, common sense, faithful and very patient. It might seem like I'm asking a lot and I must have most to these in my Hubby because we have lasted 25 years together; through think and thin and raised 5 well-balanced children. Somewhere we've done something right together...


    01/04/10 2:04 PM

  17. Okay, I don't think I'm adding anything new. Fidelity and a sense of humor are necessary.

    carolsnotebook at yahoo dot com

  18. What a great post! And a beautiful necklace.

    I think honesty is most important (and for me, fidelity falls under there because you can't be honest and unfaithful), with a healthy sense of humor a very close second. People that make me laugh, I treasure.

    Thanks so much for the opportunity!

    ~ Lori

  19. Honesty, confidence, determination and appreciation are qualities that are important in a lover. asthenight at gmail dot com

  20. He needs to be kind, sweet, caring, loyal, and he must be able to laugh. Love needs laughter too

    blodeuedd1 at gmail dot com

  21. To me the most important quality is empathy with others. That way he knows how I an others feel and acts accordingly.

    Of course all the others such as honesty, a sense of humour and courage are important as well.


    buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

  22. i agree, it's important to have a great sense of humor, life is too serious to be taken seriously

  23. What a lovely necklace :)

    A man needs to be understanding and care about my needs. Also, a sense of humor is a must. :)

    bacarleton at gmail dot com

  24. Intelligence combined w/ common sense, sense of humor & be trustworthy...I actually knew about the siphilium(sp). That tickled me....

  25. Above all, a sense of humor. Also honesty and loyalty.

  26. I am signed up with google. Thanks for the wonderful giveaway.

    dianad8008 AT gmail DOT com

  27. 'Lover' is that person with whom I am physically making love. That person, above all, must experience with me an overwhelming blurring of passion and fantasy.


  28. This comment has been removed by the author.

  29. Forgot to include my email in the previous post. Trying again!

    As a Christian, I aspire to inhabit the love traits found in I Corinthians 13 and hope that my spouse would also strive for these qualities. However, this list is long and I've yet to meet any mortal who can accomplish all of those things!

    I can say that 15-20 years ago as I looked for a spouse, friendship was a key component to my dream relationship, second only to Christian faith. Being best friends first helps you ride out the storms of life. I also treasure a similar sense of humor, and the ability to compromise what you want for the desires of the other. And of course romance is essential-- I don't know what I'd do if my sweetheart had ceased courting me after we got married!

    Thanks for the opportunities to enter to win O, Juliet. I've been eagerly anticipating January 2010!

    Laura Hartness
    The Calico Critic

  30. Success to you my dahling...xox DP

  31. Those that fit with mine like a jigsaw piece. Like the rain and sunshine combine together to make a rainbow, our's should to make a utopia. Who will tease me sweet, play strings with the kitten within me, try to make every hellish day end with a heaven, be the closest thing to my heart and body, protect me like clothes against the world and whatever it hits us with- the good and the bad. Replacing that imaginary friend with one you can have for real, forever, no matter what.

  32. This comment has been removed by the author.

  33. An inner core of kindness. I like strong, masculine men who are intelligent and have a great sense of humor. If they are not essentially kind at heart, however, then they are definitely not my "kind".

    gcwhiskas at aol dot com

  34. I think sincerity and intelligence is the most important quality a lover can have.

  35. I always adore a man who makes me smile when I have a tough day and looks at me with a tender eyes. Another qualities should be honesty, loyalty and sincerity. All this things certainly would steal my heart.

    Thank you very much for this wonderful oportunity!


  36. Love, respect and truthfulness are the most important. Then comes loyalty, caring and that nice sense of manliness that makes one feel protected. :)

  37. Well, everyone is taking my answers, so I guess we all look for the same things. respect, truth, and an ability to laugh at one's self.
    This is such a beautiful necklace, and I loved the information about the silifium!
    e_bogardus AT hotmail

  38. Honesty, loyalty, a sense of humor (a must!) and respect -- and beautiful eyes don't hurt a bit either :-)

  39. Please enter me in your contest for O Julliet
    My top love "requirements" are to love Jesus and to speak Truth.

  40. He must be respectful, honorable, compassionate and fun-loving. Looking good in jeans is a plus too. ;) Hope I win!

  41. Much the same as everyone else says - honesty, loyalty and unconditional love.

    bj19662001 (at) yahoo (dot) ca

  42. I think respect and love are the most important qualities, on both sides. IMHO, while honesty and sincerity are also important, they follow naturally if you respect someone.

    Thank you for the contest!

    anthy_stl [ATT] yahoo [DOTT] com

  43. What are the qualities in a lover that are most important to you?

    I have always had prerequisites for men back when I was still in the dating pool. Top on the list besides that first magnetic attraction is humor. If a man did not have humor then he was too serious for me. I have crows feet and I want to be one of the ladies that wears them proudly because I know I got them from too much laughing. I love the freedom that laughter gives, knowing that if he can make me laugh then I know I can also join him in his humor.

    The other prerequisite was heart. I believe heart falls into place with many other qualities like loyalty, ambition, empathy, and compassion. Heart is the fire that drives us all in our passions the biggest one of them being love.

    Robin I LOVED this post not just because of the amazing giveaway but because I am a sucker for a good history post. I had no idea about the heart shaped seeds. Natural birth control crazy!

  44. Honesty, compassion and fidelity are what's important to me... and of course he has to love me back!

    I'm excited to read this... thanks for the giveaway!

  45. Honesty and kindness!


  46. Fidelity and not acting like a samurai!


  47. My favorite quality is that my lover can read me like a book. he senses my moods before I'm even aware of them. If I'm stressed or over-sensitive, I get attention. If I've had a wonderful day, I have a partner ready to celebrate and have have fun. He is aware.

  48. Forgiveness and fidelity are important to me and my husband embodies both qualities.


  49. Hi all,

    I'm just thrilled to see how many of you are eager to share your thoughts about love. So far truthfulness, fidelity and sense of humor are listed most frequently as the qualities sought in lovers. I have to agree -- especially about sense of humor. I think I have the silliest husband in the world, and I would sink into the gravest of moods if I didn't have him to make me laugh.

    Lots of love,

  50. I hope I can enter!? (member of HFBRT here)... One of the most important qualities to me is empathy and next to that intelligence and love of learning. I think honesty, integrity, and fidelity are pretty much a given, and humor is wonderful as well. I enjoyed the article Robin and can't wait to read the next two!


  51. Here is an entry from someone who had trouble getting her comment to register on my blog. If anybody else has the same trouble, just write to me at: and I'll post your entry for you.

    Amara said...

    The ability to receive love and not shy away from true devotion ... that's one of the things I appreciate most about my husband, Thomas. He's always willing to take it to another level!

    It's been my experience that humans can be more fearful of true love than they think. We think we're chasing after love, or lacking love in our lives, when we're actually turning away from love that's there at our door. To paraphrase Marianne Williamson: "It's not our darkness that we most fear, but our light." When another truly reflects our own fundamental beauty, may we welcome it, bask in its warmth and receive it with an open heart!

    Amara Alban

  52. My husband has kept me laughing for 28 years now. That is just so important in a relationship.
    thank you
    kaiminani at gmail dot com

  53. Great post!! Really enjoyed it!!

    I would say honesty, respect, and faithfulness.

    Judy (

  54. I love the sense of humor that my husband has and we have been together for 30 years and the humor and love is still there....

  55. OMG I forgot my Email I have no idea where my mind has been today.

    Not sure if the HFBRT group can enter but I am going for it.

  56. I would have to say kindness, a sense of humor, a little confidence, but not too much...

    Thanks for the giveaway!


  57. Compassion, sense of fair play and justice, kindness and supportive and protective!

    Thanks for the giveaway


  58. The most important quality is honesty. Then ther's loyalty, compassionate, steadfast, loving, charming, good sense of humor. I guess the truth is one needs many qualities.


  59. Honesty, humor, tenderness - all very important, but I am reminded of a quote I read recently, paraphrasing: can't imagine anything worse than being married to someone you can't talk to, or even worse, someone you can't be silent with.
    Thanks for the great giveaway, and I loved your comments re. the Heart.

  60. Honesty and a sense of humor are the most important to me. I love someone who can make me laugh even when I am crying.


  61. Honesty and some humor are important to me. Beautiful necklace & can't wait to read the book.
    Sue B

  62. This comment has been removed by the author.

  63. Fidelity is the key for me. Without it, there is no trust, and with no trust, there can be no true love. Knowing your partner is true to you as you are true to him empowers you to grow as a couple and to explore life on your own, secure in the knowledge that you can be solo together.

  64. My lover's most importantly qualities are the fact that he has a great sense of humor, he is caring, generous, respectful, and a lot like me. We are so compatibile in our philosophy and outlook on life that even after sixteen years together, we spend hours together talking about everything from our children to religion to politics and anything in between. The ability to talk together is key to us being able to maintain our healthy relationship.

    jmchshannon at gmail dot com

  65. Tenderness is a wonderful quality!

  66. Empathy and care for others through social justice.

  67. Honesty, humour and a kind heart are what I want and what I have found in my husband!

  68. I'd love to have a chance to win!
    My list includes: Honesty, friendship, love, patience and laughter to keep us young. My husband has all of these qualities. I also think it's important that we both make each other better people. He pushes and challenges me to be the best person I can be.


  69. Honesty, trust, humor, friendship. What else do you need? Your husband or significant other should be your best friend.

    Thanks for the contest Robin

  70. He needs to make me laugh, be sincere (especially when telling me how wonderful I am), and trustworthy. And handsome never hurts!

    But the most important quality in a lover? That he loves ME!

  71. sorry - forgot the email: caramellunacy at gmail dot com

  72. Honesty, attentiveness, humour, sensitivity and loyalty are what I want in a lover.

    melacan at hotmail dot com

  73. I guess the most important things are personality, honesty, humor, kindness, sincerity, and loyalty. =]

  74. The most important to me are honestity and loyalty, I need to know that I can trust that person through everything and that he does it too. And if he is funny, attentive, patient and a male cologne model I am not going to complain!

  75. Sense of humor. 'Nough said. ;)

  76. Honesty, fidelity, sense of humor

    jpetroroy at gmail dot com

  77. Definitely trust and honesty. But forgiveness is a close requirement too!

  78. The most important qualities of a lover to me would be how they handle difficult situations. Of course a sense of humor, kindness, humbleness, and the ability to relate to your partner are all extremely important, but a persons true colors fly when a difficult circumstance arises. A perfect lover will stand by you in weakness and hold you through all of it.

    Thank you for the chance!

  79. So many wonderful sentiments! Michelle brought up one quality that hadn't been mentioned -- being able to talk to your lover. I think this is vital -- really being able to communicate openly, about anything and everything. And what about intimacy? Anybody have any thoughts about that?

  80. He has to love me for who I am not for what he wants me to be.[@]gmail[.]com

  81. The ability to have an actual conversation is incredibly important. I want someone I connect with on an emotional and an intellectual level. Additionally, it never hurts if a man is okay with being silly once in a while.
    baileythebookworm at gmail dot com

  82. i believe in honesty and trust.


  83. I look for loyalty, honesty, and compassion and I was luck enough to find them all and more in my husband of 21 years. This is a wonderful giveaway thanks for the chance.

  84. I think for me it is honesty, trust, and security. My grandmother used to say that a marriage is like a bell and a breach of trust puts a big crack in it. The subsequent little cracks in a relationship stem from the big crack a lot of times. You can't have a relationship without trust. Security is also important to me-the knowing that you will have that love no matter what. My dad just passed away in october. My husband did not like my dad at all but he still helped me care for him til the end and still is my biggest support system in getting through the grief. He's there for anything I need him for.

  85. I think it is important to have compassion and to be a true friend.

    findjessyhere at gmail dot com

  86. I'd love to read your book and the necklace is gorgeous!! I'm glad to have learned more about the heart symbol from your post! I value trust and respect the most in a relationship. Thank you for hosting the contest!

    inthehammockblog (at) gmail (dot) com

  87. Trust is the most important. Attraction is next

  88. Hi Robin :)
    What is most important in a lover to me is consideration and a true partnership.
    My email's in my blogger profile.
    Here's to a great 2010!
    PS - I Tweeted about your contest.

  89. These are two entries that I found on my last post. I've put them here so Linda and Kelly can have a chance to win the heart necklace:

    Kelly said...

    The most romantic moment for me was when I was dating my soon to be husband and we went on a date to Union Station. He surprised me with a carriage ride and while we were enjoying the sights and sounds of the city, he presented me with a promise ring and a poem that he wrote to me. It was such a incrediable momemt. I knew that is was the one. We dated for four years after that and got married. We have been married for 17 years and counting. I hope I get to win this book and necklace since I don't ever win anything. The book looks amazing.

    January 5, 2010 9:01 AM

    Linda Kish said...
    I am not married but I have been a few times,so, from my experience, I would have to say total honesty.

    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

    January 6, 2010 10:00 AM

  90. Honesty. A sense of humor. Spontaneity. A sense of adventure. Kindness. Attentiveness. Loyalty. We're all quite demanding!

  91. I want fidelity and a lack of selfishness in a lover. I don't want to dictate personality, as I am always surprised by who I get along with and who I am closest with. But I'm not into polyamory and I want a lover who takes my needs and ideas into consideration. (I also want a lover who expects the same of me.)

    inbedwithbooks AT yahoo DOT com

  92. Basically i what im looking for a lover is honest, sweet, caring, trust, faith, simple and has values. oh and one silly ability that is optional for the one i want, i somehow like a girl that can sing.

    but to be more exact
    What i want and im looking for is someone who doesn't think she is a perfect girl because for me imperfections are something you can improve.

    i may only be 15, (yes im still young) but looking for the best qualities is something we do even at this age. hmm i may be a boy and that necklace looks like it's a Women accessory but im still joining, for my special friend =)


  93. What are the qualities in a lover that are most important to you?

    -- my lover must be someone whom i could totally relate with! he must ride with my interests and spend quality time with me :)
    basically he would understand my weirdness and eccentricity and have his own unique personality as well

    rubs.escalona [at]

  94. The most important qualities are honesty, fidelity, trust and good natured.


  95. Honestly? These days my list would probably include the ability to pay the bills, watching the kids while I read, and doing a load of laundry every once in a while.

  96. Great post and great necklace!

    I need courtesy, honesty, and a sense of justice in a partner.

  97. The qualities in a lover that are most important to me are: honesty, dependibility, trustworthiness, and being able to show love.

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

  98. Honesty is one of the most important-- I have to trust them. I also appreciate humor and intelligence and compassion.

    nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

  99. I think sincerity and dependability are most important. I also like a guy who can be romantic. Dh is working on it (the romance part- he's got the other stuff down perfectly) ;-).

  100. Stops my heart (momentarily), shakes my senses like a ragdoll's, tickles my wit, and keeps my company through the soul's nights. His voice resonates right through me while his nobility inspires. And still new, through years, he

  101. Is honest, passionate and funny....those are my qualities that are must haves :-)

    librarianapril at gmail dot com

  102. Sandee61 said...
    The two things I look for are honesty and trust. I'd love to be entered in your giveaway. Enjoying your blog. Thank you!

    New Year Blessings,


    January 4, 2010 5:52 PM

  103. What a fabulous response from everybody! Three above this is extremely poetic, a good number from some young adult readers, and one from a 15 year old boy (I was hoping I'd get some male responses). Michele added some practical qualities which are (in a long-term relationship) actually quite essential. And Ny was hoping for a man who can sing. I understand that one. My husband Max sings like an angel, and I just love it when he does.

  104. Thank you for the wonderful giveaway, Robin!

    The qualities I look for are compassion, empathy, honesty, a sense of humor, loyalty, and a sense of adventure. My boyfriend right now has all of these qualities so I am pretty happy right now :).

  105. I would have to say that honesty is one of the top qualities that I find important. Love your giveaway.

  106. Loyalty and support have been the top traits that I have most appreciated in my husband. As part of our vows, I expect fidelity and honesty, but without his shoulder to cry on and his open ear, I would be lost. In a marriage, making it into a partnership with a common goal is also important; so shared values is another thing that is included with "love" for me.

    Thanks for the giveaway!
    marieburton2004 at

  107. Someone who loves me enough not to try and trap me or bind me with rules, but instead treasures time spent together and trusts that I will be there when I'm truly needed.

    Love isn't about ownership and submission. When you love someone it's your choice above all to be with them and put them first, you can't force or enforce that.

  108. A mythical mate or soulmate--you decide.

    A strong shoulder, a gentle heart,
    Makes me laugh, listens when I cry,
    Independent, but can't live without me,
    A leader, but walks by my side,
    Friend at first, and the last.
    Stirs my heart,
    Enlivens my soul,
    and sets my body on fire.

    kimbaldwin74 at yahoo dot com

  109. I look for a lot! He has to be
    A few flaws
    My soulmate


  110. My husband has the qualities that I cherish: faithful, humorous, and a great father.

    Thanks for a wonderful giveaway.
    bwalker1123 at gmail dot com

  111. I have thought about this question many a time.

    My perfect lover would have to have these qualities: honesty, loyalty, caring, intelligent, and sensitive. He would also have to be there for me, appreciate me, accept my perfectionism, not hold me back, respect me, my family, and my friends, have a good sense of humor, and have some of my same interests.

    Thanks for the awesome giveaway!!
    Email: aqtbenz[at]hotmail[dot]com

  112. What are the qualities in a lover that are most important to me?
    the non physical elements, when no words of love are needed to be spoken, its in the way he looks at you and his ability of making your heart flutter when he enters a room

  113. What qualities in a lover are most important to me? A man who is honest, intelligent, dedicated, committed, truthful, kind, gentle, my soul-mate and above all makes me know that I am the only woman for him.

    knittingmomof3 (AT) gmail (DOT) com

  114. For me, I've got to have someone who will challenge me and allow me to challenge myself, and who doesn't take life too seriously. It's all about balance, so of course I don't want them to be extreme in either thing, but they've kinda gotta be on their game. ;]

  115. The most important qualities for me are honesty, interesting personality-I mean they are going to be around for a while, kindness, and independent. Interesting question, it made me think.

    Elie N

  116. The qualities most important to me are a sense of humor, the ability to laugh at oneself, honesty, fidelity, intelligence, and kindness. And above all love me just as much as I love him. :)


  117. beautiful heart.
    the quality required for me would be honesty!
    vvb32 at