I’m a romantic, not just at heart. I seek it in all aspects of my life. In our instantaneous age of texting and twitter, I’m a sucker for handwritten notes and actual phone calls. There is nothing more intimate than reading a letter or hearing the tenor in the voice of the person on the other end of the line. Nothing can replace the authenticity of a situation experienced in person. No one can discredit the hint of sincerity you gleaned from someone’s eyes. “The eyes are the windows of your face.” – Christopher Walken in True Romance
Just out of curiosity, I wanted to look up the definition of romance and here is what I found on thefreedictionary.com:
1. a love affair, esp an intense and happy but short-lived affair involving young people
2. love, esp romantic love idealized for its purity or beauty
3. a spirit of or inclination for adventure, excitement, or mystery
4. a mysterious, exciting, sentimental, or nostalgic quality, esp one associated with a place
5. (Literary & Literary Critical Terms) a narrative in verse or prose, written in a vernacular language in the Middle Ages, dealing with strange and exciting adventures of chivalrous heroes
6. (Literary & Literary Critical Terms) any similar narrative work dealing with events and characters remote from ordinary life
7. (Literary & Literary Critical Terms) the literary genre represented by works of these kinds
8. (Literature / Poetry) (in Spanish literature) a short narrative poem, usually an epic or historical ballad
9. a story, novel, film, etc., dealing with love, usually in an idealized or sentimental way
10. an extravagant, absurd, or fantastic account or explanation
11. (Music, other) a lyrical song or short instrumental composition having a simple melody
Two somewhat related yet polar opposite pictures begins to emerge as I read this. One screams idealism and the other reeks of ridiculousness. To me, there is absolutely nothing cheap and absurd about being a romantic. Nevertheless, this is a good place to begin my point. I believe that being a romantic is much more than a collection of sentiments… It is much more than falling in love. It is a way of life. It is finding the essence of all things and finding a way to merge with it, effortlessly. The plum tasting its own sugar… and marveling in its sweetness.
It is true that I’m drawn to the potential of a situation rather than what meets the eye. It allows me to look around corners and visualize what is beyond. I find that being a romantic is tremendously helpful at work where I’m constantly aspiring towards a greater ideal. However, it has been a different story when it comes to dating and relationship. I think more than ever now, it is important to insist on romance…on elegance. Ladies, stop looking for the perfect man. Instead, find the one who brings out the best in you. Look for the person who makes you think, feel and act better than even your own inclinations. Insist on beauty each and every day, whether in form of spoken words or meaningful actions. Don’t waste another minute with someone who makes you feel ugly in any way shape or form. Be and become inspired!
Even as I write this, I feel a slight twinge in my heart. Really? I wonder to myself, I’m the girl who famously followed her heart overlooking the imperfections and fell in love, time and time again, based on the ideal. Have I really changed that much in one year? While this is a noble quality to have and might have come in handy if I had been Mother Theresa, I realize now that I’m no saint. In life and love being blind and foolish is just a personal flaw one has to overcome. The heart can only do so much… you need the support of all your other faculties. If you equate beauty with romance then you must associate ugliness with the lack thereof. If you are drawn to a person because of chivalry and value, you must be prepared to run from that same person when you encounter meanness and disrespect, and not be shackled by sentiment. Being a romantic must go hand in hand with being a pragmatic. How can you see the beauty in something when you refuse to see, hear, feel or taste the truth?
If I had to rewrite the definition for the present day it would be something like this:
romance: a mysterious, exciting, sentimental, adventurous or nostalgic quality idealized for its purity or beauty, firmly rooted in the honest measures of a place or person. It is alive.