Well, it’s almost Valentine’s Day, a holiday I both love and abhor.  I love it because I like to believe I’m romantic, and I abhor it because the day causes inevitable stress for many people whose expectations aren’t met. The thing is, if you wait for February 14th to roll around in order to show your love for someone else, in my opinion, you’re doing it wrong. Why not try showing it on any or all the other days of the year?

On that note, I recently had a conversation with my happily married niece. It kind of went like this:

Me: What are you doing to celebrate Valentine’s Day?
Her: Nothing. It’s a stupid holiday.
Me: Why do you think it’s stupid?
Her: Because we don’t need a date on the calendar telling us to be sweet to each other.

Good talk.

So, if we’ve committed to romance on days other than (or in addition to) February 14th, maybe we should figure out the definition of the term.  Now would be the time I’d typically quote dictionary.com, and I apologize for disappointing you.  Believe me, that website was my first destination, but their take on the word was just as vague as the concept itself.

Instead, I’ve turned to my other reliable source, and that’s me.  My personal definition of romance encompasses both big and little gestures that demonstrate someone loves me.  Mind you, I will never scoff at, nor turn down jewelry, flowers, candy, and cards.  But I also cherish a penciled “I love Nancy” note on my grocery list or discovering on a Saturday morning that someone had washed my car.

I took an informal and unscientific poll of my friends who have been or are currently in long-term relationships to see how they define romance.  Their answers weren’t terribly surprising nor revelatory, but were wonderful, nonetheless.  One of my male friends said he defined romance as having 100% faith and trust in his wife.  Another guy told me that he and his partner shared a connection of the mind (i.e., finishing each other’s sentences, etc.) that he thought was the epitome of romance.  I was told by a very wise woman that her idea of romance was her husband letting her be who she is, and vice versa.  The term “sacrifice” also came up, as in “I’d sacrifice my life for her.”

Lots of women I know find a certain genre of fiction to be satisfying their desire for romance, and I’ll venture to say that the search for romance is what keeps the Hallmark Channel in business.  Yes, I called out women here.  I don’t mean to be throwing my gender under the bus; however, this makes me wonder if we’re more hard-wired towards needing romance than our male counterparts.

I will leave you with two questions and would appreciate your insight.

Question 1:  What is your definition of romance?

Question 2:  Do you think women are more romantic than men?

Oh, and Happy Valentine’s Day.  XOXO