|Hot man, Scottish accent, AND coffee? Yes.|
A particularly cynical friend of mine thinks romance in concept is deception designed to get a partner into bed/relationship/marriage and is ultimately a big fucking lie because it's unsustainable.I find that attitude...depressing as hell, and so I checked with other friends (male and female, touchy-feely and not) about romance in relationships and as a seduction tool.
Flowers: Husband, CF, and a few other males I asked are unanimously against buying/picking/giving flowers to a woman. And I'm sorry boys, but your reasons are FUCKING STUPID. Worded in various ways, the basic cop-out is "why would I want to buy you/her/anyone flowers as a token of my affection when flowers die? Isn't that a temporary and not-nice symbol?"
Nice try, but fail. Flowers are pretty, they smell nice, they brighten a room/day/life for a time, and know what? They MAKE RECIPIENTS SMILE. Their temporary nature, if you must be philosophical about it, is a reminder not to take things for granted because everything is temporary.
The fact is, not giving your partner flowers because YOU don't like them is a selfish reason. If SHE doesn't like flowers you're in the clear. If flowers make her day it's romantic to give them: it shows you're thinking about HER feelings.
Candlelight: CF doesn't like candlelight because he thinks it's part of an ulterior-motive: creating a seduction. Well...um...FUCKING DUH. I'm sorry, when did being seduced become a bad thing?
Soft lighting is the equivelent of make-up, lingerie, high heels, a dress, shaving, suit-and-tie, perfume/cologne or any other "dressing up" mask people wear to make themselves look appealing to their partner. Of COURSE you want your partner to find you sexy, and low lights are an easy way to 1) set a mood of quiet attentiveness and 2) instantly airbrush some of the flaws about which a person may be self conscious (stretch marks come to mind: they're fucking ANNOYINGLY obvious in harsh light). Do you notice the flaws? Maybe not, and finding your partner attractive with all his/her flaws is part of what makes you awesome. But it's not about whether YOU notice them: it's about whether HE/SHE feels self-conscious about them. Is a partner who feels attractive not a better date than one who is distracted by self-doubt? Yeah. Thought so.
Compliments/Cards/Mushy Talk: Seriously, this isn't romance, people. This is part of loving someone. If you aren't randomly complementing your partner after X years, why the fuck NOT? If you like something about him/her, TELL THEM. Your partner isn't a mind reader, and everyone likes to be told in no uncertain terms that they're appreciated, loved, liked, admired, that their boobs look awesome that day.
Jewelry: I admit I'm not a very girly girl when it comes to traditional presents. It irks me that jewelry commericals insist so strongly that men ONLY love their women if they buy fancy-pants cold stones. However, if that's what gets you all mushy and gooey about your partner I say go for it.
It's not that difficult: choose the gifts that your PARTNER will love. For example, for our anniversary this year I got my husband a pistol. Because he's an avid gun enthusiast and his plans of saving for it were dashed in the accident that stole a few months of his time. It meant something to him, even though I don't necessarily find a gun a romantic gift. *shrug* If you want to romance ME with gifts, buy me books. Get me a MN Wild jersey (my most EXCELLENT anniversary gift from Husband last year) or tickets. Clean my house so I can write. Make me dinner. BUY ME FUCKING FLOWERS*. Ha.
Effort, people. EFFORT: If "Romance" is effort put in to woo your partner and left at the wayside after a few years/marriage/kids/etc then maybe it was a deception. In that case, I guess I can agree with CF's assessment, but it makes me sad. But mostly I think it's laziness, not intentional jackassery that locks romance in a closet.
I've been guilty of romantic lazypantsness. It sucks: resentment and unappreciated invisibility are sneaky bastards who weasel their way between people in relationship: they must be executed. No matter how long a couple has been together, a little effort to set a scene, to purposefully seduce, to ROMANCE their partner is always an appreciated and cherished gesture. Ultimately, romance is never a waste if it makes you both feel appreciated, wanted, and valued, right? The trappings are utterly subjective, but they're still an important part of a loving and long-term relationship.
*in the interest of not making my husband look like a dick, he HAS given flowers on multiple occasions after we had that exact discussion about the worth of floral gifts early on in our relationship. Win.
UPDATE: I've been told Husband DID buy flowers before the conversation. However, I maintain we did HAVE that conversation at some point. Since I don't recall whether it was before or post-flowers, I concede the point.
Enough mush. On to the most important point of this post:
Let's discuss the total bowl of awesome it would be to give me Gerard Butler (preferably naked but not required) for any occasion, shall we?