I have never been a romantic. And yes, I know the irony of that. I write romantic novels, but I’m not the “lovey dovey, heads in the clouds, let’s kill ourselves if we can’t have one another” kind of person. To me that is not romance. That’s stupidity.
So maybe I should say I’m not what the world would call a romantic. Because Romeo and Juliet makes me want to throw up. That my friends, is not romantic. I’m reading it with my 9th graders now, because you know, it’s part of the curriculum. But DUDE, the more I read it the more I wonder why we consider that romantic. Let’s take another look at that balcony scene shall we?
Romeo and Juliet just met, for the first time, that night a party Romeo crashes—which by the way he only does so because he’s looking for some other hot chick he thinks he’s in love with. Talk about flaky. He kisses Juliet, runs off and then goes and hangs out under her balcony in the middle of the night eavesdropping on her private thoughts while she’s in her nightgown. While on earth does this girl not go screaming in the other direction? That is not romantic. That is creepy stalker serial killer material there.
I think people confuse romance with infatuation and lust. It’s just not the same thing. That’s why “romance novels” get such a bad rap. If you write romances then all you are writing about is sex and infatuation. But it shouldn’t be because that’s not what romance is—it’s certainly not what the Romantics of the early 19th century believed. Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Wordsworth, Mary Shelly, William Blake, Walt Whitman, Nathaniel Hawthorne—these romantics were rebelling against the Age of Reason and elevating the idealism, imagination and emotion. It was more about being an individual and thinking outside the box than it was about lust and sex.
And that’s what true Romance is.
It’s the man who tells the woman she’s beautiful when she is losing her hair because of a sickeningly and shockingly aggressive form of cancer—and he means it.
It’s the woman who comes home from her job and cooks a meal that is both healthy and hearty for her husband because she knows he loves meat, but she wants to keep him healthy for their family—even though she’s exhausted having worked all day she still puts her energy into making him happy.
It’s the mother who quits the job she loves to take care of the kids she adores for the husband she’s committed to.
It’s the boyfriend who holds her hair when she’s sick, and brings her soup…a cleans it up when she throws that up too.
It’s the messy stuff that holds a relationship together that makes something truly romantic. Helping someone understand that they don’t have to be perfect and understanding that you have to give a lot of yourself to get anything in return.
So no, I’m not a romantic. I’m realistic. Because when a relationship is real. That’s when it’s good.