Sunday, March 20, 2011

Totally Romantic! And yet, not!

People tend to think I'm on drugs, when I'm not ("Duuude, isn't water weird?"). The following thoughts won't help my case, but here goes:

Reading some thoughts on sensuality, I realized that what sensuality is for the physical, romance is for the mind. When you're smelling a flower, sensuality is the smell of the flower, the pleasure that it gives you, and your mindfulness of that experience. Romance is the emotion that the flower brings about, the other places and times that it might transport you to. While sensuality is a full experience of a present moment, romance, in a way, is an escape. It transports you from the drudgery of the everyday, making a simple moment into something you might always remember. Romance is the act of imbuing a sensual moment with special and personal significance.

I feel like I finally understand why someone would fly to Madrid just to weep in front of a painting. She wasn't crying because the painting was beautiful or well-executed. She cried because the painting had become a repository of emotion for her, and to see it brought all those feelings to the forefront. Whatever the emotions, they were ones she wanted to feel. Romance was whatever made her choose that particular painting as the most significant one.

So while I'm barely romantic in the asexual sense, I'm romantic in my own conception. If romance can be genuine rather than Hallmark-holiday, and freely felt rather than foisted upon us, then I have no qualms with it. I'm more interested in romance itself than in romantic relationships, which is why I was able to enjoy having an unrequited crush-- something many people would find painful. So while I'd consider myself a romantic, it's unlikely that at any given time, there's another person who I specifically want to be romantic with.

In asexual discourse, romance is often described as an analogue for sex. This is what gives a logic to the aromantic/romantic distinction. While asexuals are some of the few people who don't conflate sex and romance, we often talk about romance as if it is to us what sex is to everyone else. However, I don't see romance as a parallel to sex. I'm not the romantic equivalent of an asexual with a libido directed towards nothing, because I would guess that to me, romance is more significant than libido is to that asexual.

Dictionary definitions of "romance" are so circular, so I feel happy that I was finally able to come up with my own definition that makes sense to me. Whether it will resonate with others, I'm not sure, but I wanted to put it out there.

(Why yes, I am an enneagram #4--"the romantic"--, how did you know?)


Eli said...

"So while I'd consider myself a romantic, it's unlikely that at any given time, there's another person who I specifically want to be romantic with."
Yeah, exactly.

Ily said...

@Eli: Yay! I'm glad you understand where I'm coming from.

Southpaw said...

Oh Ily- you mind-reader! Yeah, I feel like...I like ideas about romance more than actual "relationship" romance. I've had an unrequited crush for about 2 years now and I'm totally cool with it 'cause I'm not looking for a relationship at the moment- I just appreciate having and analyzing those crush (squish?) feelings.

Ily said...

@Southpaw: Hurrah, reading minds is fun! I haven't had a crush on anyone in a really long time, but with the ones I did have years ago, I always thought they were fun.

Eli said...

@Ily, it's weird to hear people think having unrequited crushes is's more fun than a requited one, but that to me is like --which is more fun, drinking a quart of sour milk or or having your foot set on fire? Having crushes always bothered/hurt me, even when I was reallllly little, like 9 or 10. Mostly because the pressure is to "do" something with those feelings and I have no desire to.

Ily said...

@Eli, yeah, I understand that. I think one reason that I enjoyed unrequited crushes was that they were a rare occurrence for me. If they happened more frequently, they might start to get pretty annoying. It took me a long time to realize that other people expected you to "do something" with those sorts of feelings. I think I was a junior in college, actually. This friend of mine mentioned a guy who she thought was attracted to me, and then said, "So, are you going to pursue it?" I was like, "LOLWHUT???" Up until that point, I had always assumed that romantic relationships just "happened". I didn't have a clue that most other people were out there working at them, sometimes very hard.

Emeraldgirl said...

Excuse me while I do a happy dance. I've always felt this way, that "romantic" did not have to mean a romantic relationship. To me, fairy tales are romantic, even the ones that don't actually involve romantic relationships, just for an example. I tried to explain this to my friends a few years ago, but I couldn't find the right words, and they made fun of me so I gave up. You said it perfectly! Thanks!

Ily said...

@Emeraldgirl: Yay, thank you for the kind words! *dances*