Sexuality Happens

What is Romance?

The other day, as we lay together in bed, I asked Q if she’d be willing to be a bit more romanctic. I told her that while I knew how much she loved me, and that I loved her an incredible amount, that we’d settled into a routine, and that I needed to be romanced more.

She wanted to know what that meant, and pointed out we didn’t have a lot of extra money running around (and this was even before I was robbed, which cost us $400+ in glass relacement fees, replacing cards, IDs, the cash stolen, my camera, etc).  It was hard to say what it looked like. It was Dylan Ryan tweeting about her partner bringing her a “almost done with your thesis cake.” It was other people talking about massages before bed, or wildflowers their lovers had picked to cheer them up. I had no easy answer, just that it didn’t have to involve money, just SOMEthing romantic.  Big help I was, I know.

Wednesday, she texted me that she’d been driving all around town looking for a sunshade for me. It’s 90+ degrees in Phoenix, and apparently, it’s still too cool for place to sell sunshades for cars. So she went around, desperately trying to find one.  She couldn’t, so she texted me again, telling me that THIS was why she wasn’t romantic, that THIS was romance FAIL.

But it wasn’t. To me, it was more romantic that she cared enough to try multiple places to find me a damn sunshade, more so even than if she’d found and bought one at the first place she stopped. Romance was the fact that she faced adversity and frustration trying to find something for me that would help make my life better.

Romance was when I woke up to find my car window smashed and much of my life (all in my purse) stolen, and she stayed home from work, calling the insurance and glass companies while I cancelled my credit cards.  It was her lending me money to replace my IDs, and still taking me out for Dining Out For Life that night, because she new how important it was to me.  She told me that this is what anyone would do. I beg to differ. I had an ex (F) who wouldn’t even postpone a weekly kink mentorship for an hour to come comfort me when Athena died. Yet here was Q, my knight in shining armor, helping me fill out the police report, and arranging for my window to be replaced within 3 hours of finding it smashed.

So what IS romance? I don’t know. I feel like I sound like good ol’ Justice Stewart when I say “I know it when I see it,” but it’s true. Romance is what happens when relationship go outside of the head, and trickle back down into the heart, when routine is broken, when someone goes out of their way to show their love for you. It doesn’t have to involve a single cent (although I’m still holding out for a bouquet of black calla lilies one day…for now, I buy myself my own flowers), but it does have to involve heart.

And Q is no Tinman. Her heart is there, is beating, and is plenty big enough for me. And her romance? It’s just my style, even if I don’t quite know what my style is.

What is romance to you?

-Essin’ Em

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9 Comments so far

  1. Furry Girl May 4th, 2010 12:23 am

    I had something transpire with a partner last month that *really* meant a lot to me. We’d been going though one of our largest fights (poly drama over another person I’d slept with who he didn’t approve of), and then *that* outside person changed his mind and decided to be a shit to me about being a sex worker.

    I was beyond crushed at having a friend/lover I’d trusted with a lot of emotional intimacy tell me he couldn’t risk associating with me in a public way because it could damage his career. It was the original partner who was there to take care of me during that split. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt more special and cared for than having someone (who was still so angry at me we couldn’t even talk about the fight) spooning me and comforting me and telling me how amazing I am anyway. That means more to me than all the words in the world.

    What he’s always lacked in “romance” and saying adorable things, he’s more than made up for in always knowing when to *do* something right. In March/April, I basically had a showdown between Mr. Flowery Sweet-talk and Mr. Reliable, and guess what? Deeds matter more than words. I’ll never again feel quite so fussy about wishing for more verbal romance.

  2. Kathryn May 4th, 2010 12:41 am

    Romance is action and for each of us that action is different. For me acts of service top the chart. I have more than one autoimmune disease and a very busy schedule so housework goes over big with me. Touch is number two, touch me in a way that speaks adoration and I’ll respond.

  3. Vanilla Kinks May 4th, 2010 12:46 am

    I’m with you Es!

    Someone I love taking the time out of their busy schedule to help me, listen to me, and comfort me ranks high on my romantic scale.

    I had an ex who always, no matter what, came with me to my psychiatrist appointments. Just to support me, or correct me gently when I gave the standard response of “okay.” It was amazingly romantic.

    He would also give me greeting cards at random times just to see me smile. That helped in the romance department as well!

  4. Garnet Joyce May 4th, 2010 7:14 am

    The most romantic thing anyone has ever done for me was show up at the library to help me work on a paper I had dreaded doing and then put off to the last minute. He had been super busy, but made the time to come show me how to research stuff on microfiche. Just as I was freaking out he walked up the stairs. My savior!

  5. Jessie Beth May 4th, 2010 7:36 am

    I am blessed in that my partner is the embodiment of romance. He stood in the bathroom with me after my surgery to make sure I didn’t fall in the shower. He’s willing to sell adult clips and photos of me to make extra money while he’s job hunting. He’s gone to the store at 10pm just to pick up something I’m craving.

    In the end no, it’s not the money. It’s the time, the effort, sometimes nothing more than the thought.

  6. Kara May 4th, 2010 9:17 pm

    Romance is my partner rubbing my feet after I’ve shot a 12 hour wedding.

    Romance is when he snuggles up to me at night in his sleep.

    Romance is when he gets up and showers first so that I can have 10 minutes more of sleep.

    Romance is when he starts the coffee in the morning, even though he doesn’t drink coffee.

    Romance is when he reaches over and holds my hand as we’re driving down the highway.

    Romance is when he lets me take his new car (convertible) to the store.

    Romance is the way he reaches over and runs his fingers through my hair while we’re watching TV … just because he needs to touch me.

    Romance is when he emails me in the middle of the day just to say that he hopes my day is going well.

    It doesn’t have to be the grand gesture. It’s all the little things that show that he wants me, needs me, loves me.

    It seems that it’s that way for you, too!

  7. Curvaceous Dee May 6th, 2010 7:00 pm

    To me, romance is the little things. Apollo making me a cup of tea (or me making him one). Being quiet getting ready for work in the morning, so I can sleep longer. Surprising me randomly with a fan, just because he thought I’d like it.

    I also like that we often seem to end up holding hands when we are watching something on the box :)

    xx Dee

  8. Charlotte May 9th, 2010 7:39 pm

    I think buying someone chocolates and roses can be one of the least romantic gifts. I am not convinced that scripted romantic acts, like roses and chocolates once a year for Valentines Day, are romantic. Unless, of course your lover particularly loves roses and chocolates, and would be touched by the gift.

    I think the core piece of what makes an act romantic or not is whether there is thought, love and attention paid within the act. That the lover’s preferences, values and nuances are paid attention to. The romantic act can be a huge gift or a tiny moment, but the presence of thoughtfulness is what makes romance to me. The experience of being romanced can make a person feel both seen, valued and taken care of in a moment.

    I think there are four main styles of expressing romance: surprises, gifts, pre-arranged events or trips and everyday romance. Of course, there are always bonus points for originality, creativity and things that are hand-made. Romance is certainly a case where size of an act doesn’t matter, but the thoughtfulness behind the act that makes magic.

    My favorite style of romance is in the everyday moments, where you get into a practice of constantly mining your conversations for ways to contribute to one another. I don’t drink coffee, but often I make my partner her morning coffee and bring it to her as a ritual of love. She will often get me a sweatshirt when she suspects I might be cold without my asking, or asks if she can bring me anything as I sit reading on the couch. They are small moments but always make me feel so loved and cared for. To me, the constant act of tending to one another’s needs and desires as best you can is romance.

  9. Joanna Cake May 17th, 2010 7:07 am

    Ruf’s students laugh out loud when I hint at his romantic side. Beyond that rough exterior, he is probably the kindest, gentlest and most caring man I have ever met.

    When my marriage was in turmoil, he would hold me, listen to me moan on and on tearfully and then say just the right things to put me back together again.

    He has turned me from a woman who hated her body into the glorious vixen that you all know today.

    Every night, he will read me a bedtime story from a book he chose especially to help me to deal with all the stresses that I put into my life.

    He doesn’t have much money so, for my birthday, he spent the whole day pampering me – massages, food and, of course, fucking :)

    Romance is when someone goes out of their way to give something of themselves because they love you.

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