Thursday, June 28, 2007

On being romantic

There is a thread on www.soyouvebeendumped.com that is called “Are You Romantic?" and started by a chap called Craig. It’s been going through my mind ever since it was originally posted on May 18th.

Craig wrote:

In my last relationship I would buy her flowers randomly and have them sent to her work on occasion. Also I would take her out for a meal or cook a meal in my house. I would just like to know are there any romantic women still around as my ex would send me a card on valentines day and that was all, no surprise meal, no gift just a card. I know gifts don't say I love you but neither does a card really.


Naturally I chimed in early on - because I feel that I am very romantic…

I admit it, I am a giver. It’s who I am, but my potential Achilles heel is being “too giving” or “too nice” or “too accommodating”. (It probably comes across as desperate on some ocassions too.) But I am a fan of cards and think they can say "I love you" (or at least "I think a lot of you" which is a start!) More on that later...

In my experience, my generosity can scare guys off, or perhaps my actions become taken for granted, and I subsequently become resentful - either way the end result is not a good one. (Perhaps with the right guy this pattern would be different…Not sure.)

I think the issue at hand is, does romance mean the same for men and women? I don’t think it does.

Was with Smitty the other evening when he said, “I don’t like cards”. Do you know, I was floored by such a comment, I guess because I like them so much it’s hard for me to fathom someone NOT liking cards. I mean, I keep all the cards from guys I’ve been with since the teenage years…(Even the ones from the infamous exes who are long since gone. Maybe as some sort of proof that they cared, at least at one time. I am not sure…)

Cards are not the only way I show that I care (or attempt to be romantic) either. If I like a guy, I cook meals, make them CDs (which take ages because I take my time to choose my tracks carefully) give massages, buy food or drink he likes, drive him places, plan surprises and just basically be my most-thoughtful-self.

But do guys do the same back? Or do they have a different definition to being thoughtful and romantic?

Rebound-Girl replied to my query today:

"My ex-fiance was into the over the top romantic gestures. I'd get cards for everything or for no reason at all, flowers every weekend, jewelry, he'd wash my car, hold the door, care packages when I was studying, stuffed animals for no reason, he bought me a dog, very public proposals, blah, blah, blah. I eventually got used to it, but it freaked me out at first. I learned after we broke up that he cheated on me throughout our relationship, which left me to wonder if he was really being romantic or just using it as a guilt easer/cover up."


Some good points there. I think if a guy went over the top with the gestures for me, I, too, would be more put off than pleased, but in moderation – a card, gift, or bunch of flowers would be welcomed. (I draw the lines at pets).

Dramuse, a musician in England made a lovely gesture for his sweet heart a long time ago:

I once composed a piece of music for my first girlfriend; dedicated it to her, framed the manuscript and presented it to her on her 18th birthday. I was quite proud of that one. She never hung it up though, it lived down the side of her wardrobe. It wasn't THAT bad. lol.

Picking me up, taking me out, opening doors, little gifts, giving me a kiss or a squeeze of the hand, or a massage of my feet - and other small gestures - go a long way in my book. Simply showing me that you care is the way forward but that can be done a whole host of ways. It might be giving me a hug or a call when you know I am down, or a nicely-timed compliment to show me you value me.

Of course, all of this is open to interpretation and perhaps a question of semantics.

I dated a guy who for Christmas got me a generic card and threw a wad of cash in it. Was that thoughtful or romantic? Not in my eyes, but it probably was in his. Of course, I always can use the cash but my objection was to the lack of thought involved. It said to me “I didn’t think enough of you to get you something ahead of time – but here’s something just the same”.

So the point to take from here is that it’s not about the money – it’s about the motivation. The thought involved. Sure I've had exes spoil me with big presents - a mountain bike or PC monitor - what have you but is that romantic? No. Thoughtful? Arguably, yes.

From Craig’s thread it appears that romantic people, not surprisingly, often end up with opposites. I wonder though can people who are less-than-romantic become converted to the other side? To me, Craig sounds like the perfect guy - thoughtful and giving...but perhaps it's a question of "one persons refuse is another's treasure".

For me persoanlly I have been concluding that I need to rein in my giving nature. I am far-too-giving for my own good. Because instead of making me feel good about the act of giving, I start to feel like a mug for giving too much. But deep down, it’s hard to change who I am; just like it might just be for a non-romantic person to suddenly become romantic.

I guess the one to GIVE to is MYSELF…so in that vein, I’ve booked into a five-star hotel for my birthday.

Whether I am alone on the night or snuggling up to a certain someone – I will make sure I enjoy this act of giving to me. At least I know I will really appreciate it and not take me for granted. So that's something at least...

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