What Is Romance?

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what is romance
Romance is new love, steamy sex and romantic gestures, yes, but true romance is more difficult.

Romance is a fancy steak dinner for two in a room lit purely by candles. It's flowers on a random day and falling asleep in your lover's T-shirt that smells like his cologne. It's a date to a famous children's bookstore and a shared slice of cherry pie—a stroll through a crowded museum that doesn't feel crowded at all. It's making toast for someone in the morning and drawing a heart in the butter, then watching it soak into the bread like it was never there at all, but you know it was. It's handing him a towel for the shower and sopping up the water on the floor, not nagging him about it. It's kissing in the rain, in the snow, in the sunshine, on a street corner after you just met. It's wine and mouths that taste like wine. It's being mistaken as a couple when you're not. A plane ticket to nowhere special, just somewhere together. Romance On A Budget

It's waking up next to someone and smelling their skin and liking that smell—now familiar—even if it's only been a few days. It's a warm body pressed against yours that fits like a puzzle piece. It's talking about nothing for an hour and feeling like you've solved a murder mystery together. It's a toothbrush in a cup next to yours. It's his tie flung over your desk chair. It's holding on to him on the subway when the car jerks. It's knowing he is always there for these simple moments. He will not let you fall. You really believe this. 25 Secrets To A Loving, Lasting Marriage

 

Romance is making fun of each other. It's cooking eggs together and watching movies on the couch when it's raining out. It's sex in the shower (hot sex). It's nakedness. It's sweat. It's anxiety and fear and tears and heat. It's passion. Romance is the way you feel when he says he's on his way and you know he's really coming—when you hear his footsteps on the stairs. It's wearing perfume because you want him to smell it. It's buying new underwear because you want him to peel it off you. It's sitting on his lap when he doesn't expect you to, but it doesn't surprise him at all. It's all the wonderful things we see in romantic comedies and that some of us are lucky to experience in real life.

But romance is also dealing with situations as they come along. It's not walking away. It's not breaking up over the phone: Just throw my stuff out; I'm not coming to get it. Romance is a second chance: Meet me for dinner. C'mon, let's talk this out.

It's a hand in yours; it's a shoulder for your heavy head. It's showing up when you say you will, not shutting your phone off, changing your number, your address. It's tender understanding, fragile but strong. It's honest. It's patient and sweet and it's picking the other person up when they can't stay above water because they're scared, so scared they're breathless. Romance is giving of yourself, working through whatever comes up. Sex is Good for You! Ten Passion Truths

The wine and cherry pie and shower sex is a beautiful, fun, exciting sideshow to the real gig. And true romance is when you have both the beautiful fantasy and the difficult reality, together.
 

Christine Coppa

  is the author of Rattled! (Broadway Books, 2009). She is a contributor at Glamour.com, where she pens the popular Storked! blog and occasionally writes cheeky sex pieces.