Tag: Valentine’s Day

Topic: What does romance mean to you?

Cindy Thinks

Ally Thinks

I think there’s a difference between “romance” and “romantic.”

To me, “romantic” refers to a moment in time.  An act that somehow conjures up visions of low lighting (candles maybe), roof top dinners (not that I’ve EVER experienced that), flowers (unexpectedly arriving with a loving note) or a presentation of a small, unmarked box with something sparkly inside (along with some low lighting and music in the background perhaps?).

It’s an expression of our love that happens at a specific time and place as in “we went out for a candlelit dinner last night and it was so romantic.”  Or…”he got me flowers every day last week”…”he’s soooo romantic.”

It’s when one person goes out of their way to set up a situation that says…”this is all about you.”  It makes us feel all warm inside with the knowledge that we’ve just been wrapped up tight in someone else’s admiration (adoration/love/wanting) of us…combining surprise, attention to detail and even ambience.

It’s romantic.

Now romance is a different thing for me all together.

It’s a process.  It happens over time.

It’s the act of being in love.    Like a constant state of being wooed, and wooing the other person, even after each has gotten comfortable with the other.

It’s about maintaining the flirt.

The blush.

The giggle.

The anticipation.

As I think back on it…I believe my parents lived a life of romance.  They believed in being in love.  Never taking each other for granted.  Keeping it fresh and alive.  Always flirting.

Don’t get me wrong…they had their ups and downs, their times when daily life overwhelmed them…but they would come out on the other side even more in love and exuding even more romance because (I think) they got through it together.

So I know it can happen.  But it’s not typical.

We usually refer to the beginning of our relationships as the time of our romance.  When we didn’t know each other well enough to take each other for granted…and were still trying to impress each other so that we could spend more time exploring one another.

That’s the exciting time.  It’s fresh.  It’s new.

But once we’ve gone through the hunt and landed our prey, we tend to let it go. (And I mean that in the most romantic way possible.)

But imagine what it would be like if we tried to maintain the romance.

If we kept up the flirt.

If we created situations where we didn’t quite know what to expect (and I’m not talking about going to a bar and pretending you don’t know each other).

If we infused a certain amount of surprise into our relationship…on an ongoing basis.

If we set up romantic moments other than just on Valentine’s Day.

IMAGINE what our long-term relationships would be like.

We might even blush with excitement like it was all fresh and new.  OY.

For me that’s romance.

I was going to start this post by talking about flowers and candlelight and walks on the beach and Richard Gere climbing a hooker’s fire escape (sorry: EX-hooker).  But really?  That’s not romance to me.  I don’t connect with or relate to those examples at all.  I’m not saying I’ve never gotten (and appreciated) a bouquet of roses, but that’s not my definition of romance.

Since I was having some trouble with this question, I did the cliche thing and looked “romance” up in the dictionary.  What came up surprised me:

{From Merriam-Webster}:
a medieval tale based on legend, chivalric love and adventure, or the supernatural (2) : a prose narrative treating imaginary characters involved in events remote in time or place and usually heroic, adventurous, or mysterious (3) : a love story especially in the form of a novel

{From Dictionary.com}: a baseless, made-up story, usually full of exaggeration or fanciful invention.

If you go further down, romance is defined as wooing or courting someone, but for the most part the dictionary gods define it as that section in the bookstore overflowing with paperbacks and pictures of men in kilts.

(Seriously – romance authors love to write about Scottish guys.)

(I know this because I work in a bookstore… not because I love to read about Scottish guys.)

My definition is a tad different.

I think that romance is anything that makes you or someone you care about feel loved and special.

Example from my relationship:

My mom gave Mike and me each a small heart-shaped box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day.  When I got home from work yesterday I asked Mike if he wanted to open his (so that I’d feel less guilty about opening mine… and having the contents for lunch…).  He turned to me and said, “Ally, each box has three pieces.  Why don’t you pick the three best, and take those for yourself.  Leave the ones you don’t want for me.”

(Awwww…)

So I ate a delicious chocolate covered caramel, then told Mike that I wanted him to have the other one because it was so yummy that I thought he should get to eat one, too.

That?  Is romance.

It’s not adventurous or exciting or heroic (well… the dude did offer to give up chocolate covered caramel, which makes him my hero).

It’s not really impressive.

But it made me feel special and loved.  And my leaving that second piece for him made him feel special and loved.

And it made us smile.

It may not end up as a paperback… but it’ll do just fine…