What exactly do we mean when we talk about "romance" as in romantic love?
The word has been on my mind for days now and it keeps coming up in conversations and situations I encounter.
Last night my husband and I went to a couple of friends for dinner and at some point in our conversation we stumbled upon the subject of romance as well. I discovered that men and women (or at least the two men and women in the room) seem to have very different views on this subject. The one thing we managed to establish last night, was that women think it's important while men just don't get it.
Don't get me wrong, our two men did understand that we obviously need something they're struggling to give us and genuinely wanted to know what on earth it is that we actually want from them when we say we need more romance in our relationship - but boy was it difficut to explore this together!
In our desperate efforts last night we came up with the word "loving gestures". However, that didn't really get us anywhere as we found out that men seem to consider the sheer fact that they are committed to us in a relationship as a "loving gesture". So we mentioned buying flowers as an example, but really, that's just an action (a "material" act involving lots of money and very few flowers - as our men did not hesitate to point out) and actually, I agree: it is not about "doing" this or that. From a very selfish point of view: it's about the FEELING it gives ME and some days a bunch of flowers might do the trick and on others it won't.
Now explain this to a man! We were entering the fluffy realms of "planet pink", as my friend's husband called it yesterday, where it's all about "fuzzy feeling stuff". Men just don't speak the language of "planet pink". So we gave them a break and changed the subject.
Still intrigued by the concept and my own inability to explain it (in a way that a man could understand - women know what I mean anyway), I looked the word up in a dictionary today and - apart from the obvious references to a genre type - this is what I found: "love affair", "ardent emotional attachment or involvement between people", "a strong sometimes short-lived attachment, fascination or enthusiasm for something" and "a mysterious or fascinating quality or appeal, as of something adventurous, heroic or strangely beautiful".
So on the one hand, romance has to do with fascination, mystery, adventure and is sometimes short-lived but also with strong attachment and involvement.
Are there two aspects of romance then?
If we think back to the beginning of any relationship, when we are fascinated by the other person and he is still a mystery to us and the whole process of getting to know the other person is an adventure - that's when romance comes easily, doesn't it? Everything is romantic in the first few months. Unfortunately, proving the point of the above, this kind of romance is short-lived. The relationship changes and romance takes the form of involvement and attachment in a more stable kind of way.
So are our men right then when they say it's a loving gesture and therefore romantic that I have committed myself to you and am spending my life with you?
Us women - or let's say I - tend to only refer to the earlier kind of romance. I want mystery and fascination and adventure...and yes, sometimes I want bloody flowers - regardless of how much they cost!
And sometimes I get them.
If he buys me flowers although he doesn't get it, isn't that a loving gesture?
Maybe it could be my loving gesture to try and see it his way as well? Because really, it IS amazing and incredibly romantic that two people choose to spend their lives together. It might not be adventurous and exciting every day because this kind of romance is more of a constant flow, like a calm and quiet river, but if we wish to FEEL romance - and that's what I think it is all about - we can always stop by and dip our feet in this river, contemplating the beauty of its existence.