What is romance? How do you define it?

What is romance? How do you define it?

I recently wrote about An Officer and A Gentleman and the idea of grand romances and comparing our love lives to a highly edited “highlights reel” of a movie.

And in truly oblivious fashion, someone spent quite a bit of time trying to convince me that romance Requires pain and sacrifice to be romance, all the rest is simply affection and not “grand” at all.

They also presumed to judge my own romance (or lack thereof) by a few examples I gave from the past three months of my life, and to suggest that I don’t actually want a grand romance.



But that does beg the question:

What is romance?

I was going to reference some of what they said, but when I just went back to look, it seems that they deleted their comments. Huh.

(I really hate when people do that, after others have put time and energy into their conversation.)

So, I’ll have to paraphrase it.

Here’s what I shared when it comes to romance:

ro•man•tic, adj.

Having, showing, expressive of, or conducive to feelings of love or romance.
Imaginative but impractical; visionary.

ro•mance, n.

A love affair.
Ardent emotional attachment or involvement between people; love.

ar•dent, adj.

Expressing or characterized by warmth of feeling; passionate.
Displaying or characterized by strong enthusiasm or devotion; fervent.

To me, this means that expressions of passion for, strong enthusiasm for or devotion to another are romantic.

And that can be a huge range of things from the small and semi-ordinary, like:

  • A love note left for me one night to find when I woke in the morning,
  • Random swinging me into dancing in the middle of cooking together.
  • Reaching out to pat my ass as he walks by.
  • Kissing me when he leaves and telling me he loves me. EVERY TIME.

To the larger:

  • Planning a birthday celebration for me.
  • Buying me flowers.
  • Getting me a gift when he travels out of town.
  • Learning my love language, and speaking it, even when he doesn’t really “get it.”
  • Supporting and engaging in my kinks with me.

To the extreme:

  • Upending his entire life to be with me.
  • Saying it was infatuation at first sight, and telling the story whenever I ask him to.
  • The most amazing non-sex I’ve ever had (it’s a long story, but the Cliff’s Notes version is we connected in a way that felt like we were literally INSIDE each other’s bodies and minds and were 100% energy blending, and I’ve never been able to explain it or even met anyone who has experienced anything like it, and it was totally spontaneous, unexpected, and left lasting feelings that I still can’t adequately explain).

But to me, the smaller things that can be done daily, weekly, even quarterly are the most important parts of romance. They are the foundation.

Like a pyramid.

The top tip is much smaller. If all you are doing for romance is the big stuff, the ‘sacrifice’ stuff, the flashmobs and grand gestures, you still have a very small tip. It takes all of the other stuff to make a grand romance, a wonder of the world (for me).

This other person said that romance is only romance if it is sacrifice. If it is unusual and hard to come by. If it’s tragic or includes upheaval.

And I get part of that. I do.

But is that the whole of it?

Not in my world.

Let me put this another way: In some cases, the “grand gesture” is easier. It is not a part fo the daily grind. It’s not something you have to remember or do even when you’re tired or cranky, or just feeling down. It doesn’t get you HUGE POINTS. It’s just…consistent. Loving. And it requires making someone feel loved and seen and understood and desired for exactly who they are EVERY DAY.

For months, years, decades, even.

Creating a highlights reel of your daily lives, making a romance out of a Tuesday breakfast with a small note or out of a springtime hike with a blanket and a picnic lunch and “I love you” (and maybe a bit of outdoor hanky-panky). Turning a car ride into a moment of connection and love by changing the lyrics to a song.

Turning the mundane into displays of passion and desire and ardency is (to me) what makes the grand gestures not only possible, but romantic at all. Because without the love, a grand gesture is just…creepy and sad.

But, that’s me.

What are your thoughts?

How would you define romance? Is it only the big things you must sacrifice for? Is it in the details? A combination?

And for those who are willing: Please share one (or a few) of your favorite romantic gestures that you’ve received (or given) over the years.

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