While driving to work the other morning, I spied a sign for a shop in a strip center - it was called Romance. I quickly ascertained from the items in the display window that the shop sold lingerie and other adult-themed paraphernalia. I squelched my curiosity and continued on my way.
I got to thinking about how often I have heard the terms romance and sex used interchangeably lately. And they are not interchangeable at all in my mind. In a committed relationship, they are both good. But they are not at all the same.
Romance to me has nothing to do with lacy underthings or candles or magic potions. That's sex. Sex is physical. Any member of the animal kingdom can have sex.
Romance (in my humble opinion) is more cerebral. It's about what we perceive via the subtle messages in words and deeds. It is about how we think another feels about us. It is about what we think he or she is willing to do to show those feelings. It's the "falling" part of falling in love.
I love falling in love. I love that part of a relationship when the man is working at pleasing me. When he presents himself in a clean, sweet-smelling package and opens doors for me. When he is careful to say things that will make me smile instead of frown. When he seems excited to see me and interested in what I have to say.
I also love the reciprocal nature of romance. If a man is spoiling me, I want to spoil him back. It feels natural to do so. It feels wonderful. I wish it would last forever. But... it's not meant to last forever. Most of us could never live up to that level of expectation for the long haul.
It sure is nice while it lasts, though...