R is for Romance

Ahh, romance. It’s been getting a pretty bad rap this century, not that I’ve been around for many of them. Word ’round the block seems to be that romance and romantics are clichéd, dated and kinda lame. Well, I’ll say it loud and proud: I’m a sucker for romance and everything about it. Considering these last two sentences, my penchant for clichés shouldn’t be too much of a surprise.

I like romance, and I like romantic gestures/wine/mood-lighting/things I should probably not admit to in public since, it seems, romance translates to a frivolous past-time, and not the matters that busy and important people concern themselves with. It doesn’t seem very cool or safe to admit to liking and enjoying elements of life that would usually be considered romantic. For example, I probably shouldn’t tell you I love the night of full moons. Not because I’m a vampire, which I totally am, but because I love the way they light up the night. I like being near the ocean or lake and watching the way the moonlight reflects off of the water; on windy nights it almost looks like the moonlight is dancing with the waves, and I love the way the light reflects off of rooftops, and how it glows and lights up my room. I also like flowers; I like giving them, I like getting them. I like watching the sunset, and yes, I like them even more during my long walks along the beach. Boom. Although I do tend to get tired, so I prefer sitting on my ass at the beach at sunset. Still romantic.

I also very much like candles. I like candlelight dinners, I like candlelight reading, and I like candlelight T.V. watching. Seriously, add a candle to any situation and you can’t NOT be romantic. Try cleaning your bathroom by candlelight, I dare you. You may do a crappy job (sorry, couldn’t help myself) but I can imagine it’ll take the experience to a whole new, romance-infused level. You’re welcome.

I also like the gift-giving ritual of romance and I like restaurants with pretty views. I like reading love stories, I love reading old, early modern, Shakespearean love stories, I like listening to love songs and I enjoy watching mushy romantic comedies (sup, Bollywood).

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What I really love about romance though is that it can take many forms. The ones I mentioned above are the obvious elements of romance, the ones that the cool, realistic and practical (read: sarcastic, boring and uptight as shit) are probably scoffing and smirking (scirking?) at as we speak, but there is a lot to be said about the simplicity and ‘realness’ that gestures of romance can take.

The greatest thing about romance is that it can often be just a simple act of kindness that involves doing something thoughtful or nice for the person you’re with. It doesn’t have to be grand; it just has to come from the heart, backed by a genuine desire to make them smile. Romance doesn’t mean buying the most expensive gift, or taking someone to the fanciest restaurant or smashing out one lavish gesture after another. While these things would certainly work in small doses (hey, who am I to say no to a night of fine dining and a sparkly new pretty every now and again?), but ‘Real Romance,’ if I may, is usually hidden in the small things, the thoughtful things a person does that shows they care about the things that make you happy.

For example, I think it’s romantic to tape your partner’s favourite T.V. show for them when they’re not home. I think it’s romantic to try something new that your partner loves, even if it takes you way out of your comfort zone, and I also think it’s romantic when they surprise you with your favourite takeaway when you can’t be assed cooking. 

If you made a poor wardrobe decision, and end up spending half the night freezing or in high-heel-induced pain, I think it’s romantic if they hug you back to warmth and transform into a slow-walking, supersize walking stick on the way back to the car, or if they offer to bring the car around to you so you can skip the walk of pain altogether. Also, I’m vegetarian, and while I have no issues with anyone’s dietary choices, I do think it’s romantic and kind when we’re out and a carnivorous partner chooses to order something vegetarian just so we can share.

Yeah, getting flowers on Valentine’s Day is great– when the whole world is celebrating love and romance no one wants to feel left out, but what about the other 364 awesome days of the year? Those lovely, soft, fragrant things are pretty rad on any day, but even more so if they’re not traditionally a part of it.

The only time I don’t like romance is when it is forced, insincere or put on as a show for some kind of personal gain. Contrary to what I think to be popular belief, you can’t fake it. If you don’t believe in the obvious expressions of romance, don’t do it. If you think it’s stupid, it will be stupid. If you’re doing it solely to impress someone, or other people, or think it only involves throwing around a heap of cash, accompanied by a grand public display, it will be insincere and you’ll look like an ass. Do you want to look like an ass?

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Romance can be as simple as being out somewhere and making a self-conscious partner feel more at ease. It can be walking them to their car and asking for a text to make sure they got home safely. It can be surprising them with an impromptu lunch at work, or even dropping by with their packed lunch that they forgot at home. It can be happily taking over household chores and making dinner when the other is maxed out on stress. It can be making them a mixtape or playlist with their favourite songs to listen to in the car. It can be a daily call during your lunch break just to say hi, or a good morning text or note if you’re on different schedules, or in different time zones. It can be waiting out dinner if they’re running late, just so you can eat together, or if they walk or cycle home, it can be picking them up from work/uni/the train station so you can hoof it back together. Most importantly though, it’s listening to what makes your partner tick and paying attention to the things that are important to them.

Sometimes, considering how busy and saturated our lives are with a million different things at once, it’s sad to say but even just spending a little time without distraction (yes, power down all those devices) in each other’s company can be all you need.

Romance isn’t hard people! But if you still think it’s for the innocent or frivolous, then I’d have to say I’m all of those things, and gladly so. What’s wrong with liking the sweet stuff? I would much rather be innocent and silly and be in a place where two people go above and beyond the basic give and take of a relationship simply to make each other smile, than live through the daily grind without these little joys. So loosen up, have a little fun and do something nice for the person you’re with.

Go forth and romance, you wonderful people. Its time has most definitely come :)

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