Romance Today

It doesn’t matter if you consult Webster, Wikipedia, or Urban Dictionary, the definition for hopeless romantic is similar. I proudly consider myself a hopeless romantic, in my opinion my heart is my biggest attribute as well as my most dangerous flaw. I love flowers and believe chivalry is far from dead. I’ve read every novel Nicholas Sparks has written. My idea of the perfect date is complex and a secret that no man has yet to achieve although some have come close. All of this is the movie definition of romance yet romance has significantly changed over the years. Yes, my boyfriend pays for most dinners (I’m too stubborn to let him pay for everything). Yes, he walks on the outside of the sidewalk and he always opens the car door. Romance today is so much more than those old school chivalrous gestures. 

Life is messy, complicated, and so far from a fairytale that we’ve adopted our own variations of the definition. In my opinion It’s found in the simplicities of life. Grand gestures are nice but not abundant and can’t sustain a true relationship. Romance has to be acknowledged and appreciated or it will go unnoticed. Romance today is simply being together with honesty and intention. 

Romance today is knowing the passcode to each other’s smart phone. It’s taking candid pictures of each other and selfies all over town to document your hundredth ice cream date or just the fact that you’re blessed to spend another day together. Long gone are the days of walking on a gentleman’s jacket over a mud puddle. Romance today is following her as she runs full speed ahead and slides into that mud puddle. Romance today is less about make up, hairspray, and fancy dresses. The best moments are with messy hair, wearing glasses and wearing his t-shirt while drinking morning coffee. 

Relationship roles deviated from the stay at home mom and working father into a variety of potential possibilities. Romance is learning their dreams; embracing them and encouraging them to be achieved. Romance is found in the quiet moments where the deepest secrets are exposed. Today it seems that everyone has baggage. Everyone comes with scars, maybe even wounds in different stages of healing. These pains are part of our identity and shape us as individuals. When someone can love you while your damage is displayed is a love that many search for and never find. Romance today is accepting the imperfections and enjoying the chaos. 

Romance today is falling asleep on the couch intertwined in each other’s arms. It’s killing the bugs in my apartment that are too high for me to reach. It’s starting my car and clearing the snow in the winter.  Romance is singing at the top of our lungs on a road trip. It’s holding back my hair and rubbing your back when we’ve had too much to drink. It’s coming home from a long day of work to a beer or a glass of wine, a foot rub, and a genuine inquiry for the details of the day. It’s encouraging rest and relaxation when stress becomes overwhelming. Romance is standing together to confront whatever life presents. At the end of the day it’s about receiving that goodnight kiss, phone call or text that reassures you that you’re the last thought in their mind before they drift into dreams. I may be a hopeless romantic that obsesses over movie scenes but I’d gladly trade those movie moments for what I call romance today. 


First Date

The alarm is for the dog, no longer audible to my own ears, I rely on the cool nose nudges and patter of little paws to joust me out of bed. One o’clock. I haven’t slept long, I blankly stare at the clock and calculate four. Four hours of sleep. The desire to be awake is absent as lethargy refuses to escape my muscles. “Switch day”, I mumble to myself and in a tantrum toss myself backwards disappearing into the sea of bedding. Thoughts of regret flood my mind, too tired hold them at bay. Night shift is killing me. Sleep has become a novelty rather than necessity. Was today his only day off?… Abruptly I rise and replay my thoughts now aware of their meaning. “Today is not only switch day, but his only day off!” I say to my dog as he cocks his head and stares in a manner that indicates he understands. The comfort of my bed no longer pleases me, I am panicked. “Shit!” Clothes dance through the air accumulating in a pile of chaos. After multiple attempts, I dawn the only outfit I deem appropriate for the day and look in the mirror. Brushing sponges with colored powders against my skin will never be enough to hide exhaustion but it will have to suffice. Ten minutes remain until departure. I use them to care for the dog, acquire my daily necessities, and take one more moment to glance in the mirror. Inhale. Exhale. “Wish me luck”, my attempt at lacing my voice with hope has failed. With a sigh my dog flops onto the couch as I secure the lock on the door. 

I back into a space in the garage downtown. The extra time spent parking could provide beneficial in the event of a necessary quick escape. I’m tired, my contacts burn my corneas. I blink rapidly to clear the fog. My stomach churns. “I should have tried to eat,” I think to myself. One city block separates him and I, a distance which seems endless. Inhaling the fresh air I walk. The city buzzes with men in suits and women in pencil skirts all scurrying through the crossways. In my Chacos and cut offs, I stand out. The faces of those around me blur as I search for him. I see him in the distance, or who I believe to be him. His features clear as he continues forward. The palpitations in my chest quicken. He’s within ear shot but I am mute. I question his distance from where I stand as he appears to be miles away. The moment lingers. He’s speaking to me but I can’t hear him, I’m somehow responding but unaware of my words. The only audible sound is the blood pulsing through my veins. He’s close now. Close enough to touch. His blue eyes pierce mine and he smiles. “Are you ready to go?” Without breaking his gaze I smile and repeat, “Ready”. He turns to walk but pauses briefly. I inhale sharply as he takes my hand. And so begins our first date.

Love yourself

Dear future boyfriend,

Dear future boyfriend,

I don’t know who you are. I maybe unaware of your presence in my life or you may not yet have made your grand entrance. I can tell you that I’m eager to experience your love. The butterflies of the first dates, the anticipation of being in your presence, anxiety waiting for a first kiss. The hopeless romantic in me longs for our beginning but until our moment arrives I will daydream of the person you will be..

You speak kindly. Respect that my trust must be earned and progress slowly with me. Be patient, honest, and genuine. No favors are being done by hiding your truths or making adaptations, show me who you are. I want to know the intricacies of your mind. What feeds your soul and captures your heart? Celebrate the small joys and accomplishments of life. Cherish the moments that pass by so quickly and always express yourself freely. 

I hope that you are ambitious. Eager for new life experiences. Be open-minded to our differences and embrace the changes associated with new love. As the rhythm of our lives ebb and flow, know that I am ready for the challenge. Loyalty is a priority. Don’t simply speak of your feelings but show me. I don’t ask for a stage production but for the small moments found in each day. Simply chivalrous gestures are more than enough.

What’s your favorite color, season, holiday? How do you drink your coffee? What’s your favorite food? Do you like to read? You must love dogs. Will you dance with me in the kitchen to my forever changing favorite song? The words I speak will not be lost but remembered and respected. Your thoughtfulness will be overwhelming but a blessing.

What is it that you do for a living? I hope it’s a passion of yours. No, I don’t want to know your salary.  I hope you have aspirations for your future and goals for your life. I want you to be stable and able to take care of yourself. I prefer your time and attention over the girth of your wallet. Be the guy who will play outside, crawling through woods and exploring rivers. The man who will explore the world by day and dine in the city at dusk.

Admire my appearance but fall in love with my mind as beauty fades over time. There is beauty in learning the human wiring of ones brain. Strengths, weaknesses, fears, flaws, embrace mine as I will yours. Accept my past for who I was, appreciate what I’ve gone through, but don’t let it affect our future as it’s made me who I am. Most importanly, I hope the anticipation of our connection is reciprocated.

When I’m with you I will feel home, safe, accepted, and comfortable. You will be all I have imagined and more than I deserve. A calming realization that our paths crossed with intention will ease the anxiety from the wait. My heart will be chaos and my mind will be clear. I know that you are out there. See me, for here I stand.

Until our paths cross,