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What is Romance?

I have been accused, several times, of being romantic.  I’ve had several men ask me for advice on romance, and even more women ask me to give that advice to their men.  Really, I don’t know what to tell people when they ask me this.  It’s not something I usually sit down to contemplate, I just do it.  Well, I sat down and contemplated it and want to put forth my thoughts.  Hopefully someone will find them useful.

While being romantic cannot be generalized or summed up very easily, I do find a few things that could be considered common elements.  This list is far from conclusive and by no means do you need all these things to have an act be romantic, but they are perhaps good places to start if you are trying to plan a romantic act.

What seems most consistently successful to me, is to do something that shows your woman (or man, I suppose) that you are thinking about them(and specifically, how much you care about them) when you aren’t together.  A reminder of your love without you being present.  Simplest version: a sticky note sitting on their steering wheel that just says “I love you”.  Especially effective if you leave before them.

Surprise can be another powerful tool.  Obviously not every surprise is romantic, but it’s hard to be romantic without at least some element of surprise.  The unexpected gift would be the general example.  Flowers, chocolate, etc.  Though, I think that gifts are over done, personally.  Anyone can go buy you some flowers.  That doesn’t require any thought.  If you are going to go the gift route, make sure you make it personal.  Don’t just buy a dozen roses (though, I have to admit that has it’s times), find out her favorite flower and buy her those.  Or at perhaps her favorite color and buy something that color.  If it is a rose moment, many florists can dye flowers to different colors.  Purple roses?  you betcha.  Then you’re being classic (a dozen roses) while being personal (getting them in her favorite color).  Another gift that works well (and in my opinion better) is a card.  A romantic card that expresses how you feel is a great gift.  If you are artistic/crafty enough (or even just able to put your words down well on a blank card) that makes it infinitely better.  But even a store bought card can be a beautiful vehicle for conveying how you feel in words that may be better than we can come up with ourselves.

Those two, I think, are the main keys to classical romance.  If you can find creative ways to combine those, you’re set.  From here, we’ll touch on things that are less “romance novel” romance and more “practical romance”.  Things that you’re woman will find romantic, but that the high-school girls probably won’t.

Doing something she usually does, but doesn’t like to do.  Dishes, laundry and vacuuming are all hits around my house.  Don’t tell her you’ll do it, just do it.  Ideally while she’s out of the house.  As much as a pain as these are to her, they’ll likely only take you a few minutes, but they’ll make her day.  As a book I once read put it “the best foreplay, is choreplay”.  Women love it when a man does chores around the house.  You don’t think this is a romantic act?  I promise you, she does.

As an extension of that, do something that removes a stressor from her life for a while.  Doing those chores does this.  How about taking the kids off her hands for a few hours so she can relax.  One to lead you back towards the more classically romantic would be to draw her a bubble bath.  Toss on some low music and set some chocolates beside there (perhaps a stiff drink) and let her chill for a while away from everything else.  Let her destress for a bit and she’ll love you for it.

Touching again on gifts, get her something she wants, but doesn’t necessarily need.  Especially in hard economic times, there are often things that she wants, but is too responsible to buy.  Things that tend to move towards the bottom of the priority list behind the practical things that are actually needed.  Buy these for her. Not all the time, but out of the blue.  If you overuse this, she’ll just think you’re fiscally irresponsible, which is not at all romantic.  Flowers and chocolates tend to fall in to this category.  They’re nice, but they don’t feed the kids or patch the whole in the roof or whatever else may need doing.

Finally, there is probably nothing quite as powerful in showing how much you care about someone as doing their favorite thing that you hate.  This one goes beyond romantic and moves more in to showing someone you love them.  It’s likely something they don’t get to do very often, so it makes it all the more poignant.  They love ballet, but you think it’s dull, take them to the ballet and be happy about it (this part is key; doing it sulkily or angrily earns you negative points).  They love a massage, but you hate to give it, surprise them with oils and a smile.  Compromise and sacrifice are a large part of what love is about.  Putting your partners happiness before your own.   !!!DISCLAIMER!!! this does not mean you should let your partner walk all over you.  This should be a two way street.  If your partner doesn’t reciprocate from time to time, then there is a problem in the relationship that should be addressed.  !!!End disclaimer!!!  Making your partner happy, should make you happy, even if the act you’re doing to bring joy to your partner isn’t something you enjoy yourself.

Again, these are just my musings and thoughts on the matter.  Some of my opinions on love and romance.  These won’t all work every time with every partner as everyone is different, but I think the general principles are generally sound.  Any of them can be overdone, of course.  If you overdue anything, it loses it’s power, so alternate what you do and be romantic in bursts to help avoid burnout.


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