INTRO: Monday is Valentine's Day, and that has our Wordmasters Rosanne Skirble and Avi Arditti searching for some language of love -- with help from a professional romantic.
MUSIC "All You Need is Love"/The Beatles
AA: You could say Leslie Karsner is in love with love. Even back in high school, she says, her classmates voted her the "Class Romancer."
RS: That interest stayed with her into the working world, in a job as a business trainer. The executives she worked with began to share details about their personal lives. What she heard told her that what these men and women needed was more romance in their lives.
AA: So Leslie Karsner has created the Romance Institute. It's a think-tank of sorts for coaching men and women in the fine art of romance.
TAPE CUT ONE: LESLIE KARSNER/SKIRBLE
KARSNER: "It's not about winning someone over. This is about genuinely making efforts, and are they appreciating that other person in their life, doing all that they are capable of doing to make that person feel special. In my practice I focus on the four pillars of romance, and they are vitality, passion, magic and comfort."
RS: "So, are you saying these pillars of love start with yourself? That you have to have vitality, magic, passion and comfort before you can attract anyone else?"
KARSNER: "Yes, I believe that. And, it's about having a romantic nature and enhancing that romantic spirit within you. In one of my group coaching programs that I lead I gave the class the assignment for the week was to go out and fortify one of their `Pillars of Romance.' One gentleman came back the next week and talked about going to work and how on his way from the car to the office, he stopped to feel the `sunshine warm his face or the breeze against his skin.' And I thought, here's a successful man who is stopping to appreciate the little things in life that we totally forget about."
AA: And Leslie Karsner says those little things can make a big difference when it comes to putting romance into words.
TAPE CUT TWO: LESLIE KARSNER/ARDITTI/SKIRBLE (1:47)
LESLIE KARSNER: "Even something as simple as, `You take my breath away,' or you move me."
AA: "Some might say that would sound disingenuous or insincere."
LESLIE KARSNER: "It needs to come from the heart. So, it's the tone you use. It's the genuineness. It's the sincerity. We're all familiar that there are players out there that may use words to their advantage, using those killer compliments. You have to notice body language. But, if it's that special someone in your life who is going out on a limb, and saying something that they typically don't normally say -- to express that, `I appreciate you.' Romance is really an appreciation for the little things, and when they acknowledge something about you and appreciate that about you, that should warm everyone's heart."
AA: "Can you think of the worst line you've ever heard or had to advise someone not to use, and the best?"
KARSNER: "Often times people say, (in greeting) `What do you do for a living?' and I often say to steer away from that to something like, 'What do you do for fun?' What are their passions? Are they athletic?"
RS: So, it gives a better idea of who you are, rather than the work that you do."
RS: "Avi asked you the best line, and the worst. Is there (another) line you should avoid?"
KARSNER: "I think the taboos would be the norms, like, `Do you come (to this place)
often?' `Haven't I seen you before?' Things that are not true, anything like that.
RS: "Be sincere, be honest!"
KARSNER: "Be honest! And let it come from your heart."
AA: Now meet Jason, thirty-two years old, from Baltimore, Maryland. He began twice-a-week romance coaching sessions six months ago. At that time he was involved with a woman from another city. But Jason wasn't happy. With Leslie Karsner's help, he says, he realized that his long-distance relationship demonstrated a fear of commitment.
RS: Jason says the telephone coaching sessions have given him not only a clearer picture of what he is looking for in a mate, but also a deeper understanding of himself. As a result, he says, he is now happily involved with a woman who lives nearby.
AA: And he gives a lot of the credit to his romance coach.
TAPE CUT THREE: JASON/SKIRBLE
JASON: "The thing that I like about Leslie is that she doesn't candy-coat exactly what you need to hear. She is direct, insightful and instinctive on what some of the major issues of a relationship are."
RS: "And when do you think you will have gotten what you need to get from the coaching experience, and it's time to let that piece of your life go?"
JASON: "I played a lot of sports in college and I always really valued coaching to keep you accountable and on track because it's very easy to get out of that mode. I don't know where it (the romance coaching) will go from here, but we will keep in touch, although it may be on a less frequent basis, at least to make sure that things are still going forward."
AA: Leslie Karsner has a Web site for would-be romantics: www.romanceinstitute.com.
RS: As for matters of American English, you can address your questions to Avi and me at VOA Wordmaster, Washington, DC, 20237 USA. Or use our e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
AA: Wishing you a happy Valentine's Day, with Rosanne Skirble, I'm Avi Arditti.
MUSIC: "Will You Love Me Tomorrow"/The Shirelles