…And While We’re At It, Who Needs Romance?

23 07 2006

A couple of years ago I directed a film called Sophisticated Romance (A
Soulful and Poetic Journey into the Mysterious Realm of Attraction–see
the trailer on my profile page :-), in which the main themes were love,
romance and attraction. One night in a jazz club, the two main
characters shared a poem during open mic and one of their lines of
poetry was: "Strike love, I have no definition for love. I’ll settle
for romance. It’s a clear term…"

As I woke up this morning I
started thinking about this whole idea of romance, which made me ask
the question–is romance really a clear term?

Some dictionaries would describe romance as:

* a novel dealing with idealized events remote from everyday life

*
An extended fictional prose narrative about improbable events involving
characters that are quite different from ordinary people.

* a
writing style that desires its actions and characters not so much to be
thought of as realistic, as they are to represent universal categories
that transcend the limitations of any specific historical moment

*
is a term with many meanings. In the Middle Ages, a romance was a tale
in prose or poetry dealing with the adventures of a knight and filled
with chivalric deeds and courtly love. In the nineteenth century, a
romance was a prose narrative telling a fictional story that dealt with
its subjects and characters in a symbolic, imaginative, and
non-realistic way. …

To me, those definitions make romance
seem like a load of crap. It’s fake, it’s unrealistic, contrived and on
the part of the woman insinuates a need to be rescued. Many people
think of romance in terms of expensive flowers, candlelight dinners,
and whispering sweet nothings in front of a fireplace–Blah, Blah,
Blah. A friend once asked me what would I do if a guy showed up with
flowers on the first date and I said I’d probably think he was a real
cornball. Yet, whenever I take relationshp quizzes, I always come up as
being somewhat of a hopeless romantic. And I guess I’d have to agree,
to some degree, with that assessment. You could probably read some of
my past blogs and figure that out.

So what is my definition of
romance and where does it come from? I found this definition of
romantic love on Wikipedia that I think is interesting:

Romantic
love is a form of love that is often regarded as different from mere
needs driven by sexual desire, or lust. Romantic love generally
involves a mix of emotional and sexual desire, as opposed to Platonic
love. There is often, initially, more emphasis on the emotions than on
physical pleasure. Properties of romantic love purported by Western
culture that might or might not appear elsewhere include:

    * It must take you by surprise (the result of a random encounter).
    * It cannot be easily controlled.
    * It is not overtly (initially at least) predicated on a desire for sex as a physical act.
    * If requited it may be the basis for a lifelong commitment.

Hmm…now
those are some definitions I can get with. For me, romance is more of
an emotion, a state of being, of being entirely present with another
human being. To me romance doesn’t necessarily mean knights in shining
armor, it means having deep conversation and actually LISTENING to one
another. It means just holding each other and not wanting to let go. It
means laughing together and just wanting to be in each other’s
presence.

Where do my ideas about love and romance come from?
That’s an easy one…Part of it is due to my lack of it in past
relationships. The other part from music and television, which is
ironic since I see the traditional definition of romance as
unrealistic. You can’t get any more unrealistic than the love you hear
about in love songs. So I guess in a sense I’ve just created my own
fantasy of romance based on my own interpretation of the word. I guess
that’s why I do love love songs so much. It’s not so much about the
mushy stuff as it is about the emotion behind it expressing passionate
love for another human being. "Ain’t no mountain high, ain’t no valley
low, ain’t no river wide enough baby…" Can you imagine loving someone
that much?

We all want a little romance in our life…Don’t ya think?

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