Recently in conversation, I realized that we often speak of “romance” or “romantic” gestures but really it’s incredibly poorly defined. I even looked it up, and “Romance”, “Romantic” and “Romantically” have all got similar vague definitions.
Romantic (as found on dictionary.com) – of, relating to, or of the nature of romance;
characteristic or suggestive of the world of romance: a romantic adventure.
fanciful; impractical; unrealistic: romantic ideas.
imbued with or dominated by idealism, a desire for adventure, chivalry, etc.
characterized by a preoccupation with love or by the idealizing of love or one’s beloved.
I find it quite interesting that they would say “fanciful” and “impractical” or “idealistic” etc….because in some ways that all seems very negative. Silly, childish, and downright unnecessary sounding…at general best, “romance” seems to be a descriptive category…but for what, it’s still not abundantly clear, besides novels and films.
All this to say – romance is whatever you want it to be. For some, yes, the idea of romance/a romantic gesture will perhaps be diamonds, roses, sunsets and other actions/things that have been seen time and time again…BUT…for others it will take a different form, such is the case with myself. Romantic for me (nowadays) is feeling safe, cared for and well understood.
I will admit that before I experienced what (I feel) true romantic interactions are, I too believed they would come wrapped with a bow or delivered in some flattering gesture, sprinkled in glitter and presented on a snowy mountaintop (or something super extra like that). Turns out, for me, the most romantic things/moments I have experienced showed up in ways/things that most might find incredibly mundane. An ergonomic keyboard, a chess clock, or the feeling of someone’s arms wrapped around me in a surprise hug from behind. These are the moments (and gifts) that I felt my heart skip a beat, and known that the romance shared between myself and another is something much deeper than rose petals and chocolates. That keyboard I mentioned is more than a computer accessory, it is a physical representation of his care for my comfort and desire to ensure my needs are met. That chess clock isn’t just a part of a game, albeit one I enjoy, but it’s a part of a shared interest that allows us to spend time together learning and growing. Those hugs from behind when I don’t expect them are more than just a hug, they are moments that make me feel safe, desired, and protected.
There’s no part of me that is hating on any way that a person chooses to exhibit their own romantic tendencies, but I hope perhaps you start to recognize the little sprinkles of romance that are strewn about your days, in ways/things that might not be oozing with the clichés society has conditioned us to believe are the hallmark of love, because those small things can be just as heartfelt and more romantic than you might have believed.