I live in Paris, a city where the notion of romance is ever-present. In fact, you can’t even get through dinner or drinks without a flower salesman sticking roses in your face every half hour or so as he wanders from venue to venue, approaching couples engaged in romantic tête-à-têtes. And yet, the flower salesman is always waved away, an annoyance and an intrusion. I’ve never once seen a man on a date solicit the attention of one to make an impromptu rose purchase. I was on a rendez-vous romantique last week with a French Boy, and right on cue, a man with a bucket of roses approached our table. French Boy didn’t even make eye contact with the seller, simply holding up his hand in a shoo motion. The evening was going really well, and it was clear we both really liked each other, so the thought had crossed my mind that it would be cute and romantic if French Boy did buy me a rose. Out of curiosity, I asked him, “Have you ever bought a rose for a girl like that, from one of those guys that come into bars?” I got a huffy non as an answer.
“But why not? It just seems to me like a really easy way to make a romantic gesture, and don’t guys realize that just the smallest things go so far?”
“Perhaps,” he said, with that typical French indifference and a shrug of the shoulders.
“So would you call yourself a romantic guy?”
“No, I would not call myself this.”
“Well, why not?”
“I do not have to. I am already French. This is enough.”
I wanted to slap him. (But, unfortunately, he did have a point—European guys somehow have a head start in the romance department simply for having accents and knowing about cheese.) Still, this got me thinking; why don’t men act romantic more often? I think that perhaps our own John DeVore is the only straight male in the world who truly understands the importance of buying flowers. Doing this and other cute moves seem to require so little effort, and yet women so often complain about not feeling loved enough, and not being with men who really “show they care.” I quizzed my man friends on the male romance factor, and found out that while ladies may see things so clear-cut, for guys, the problems actually begin with slapping the “romantic” label on certain things. Here’s what they told me, summed up in a few categories …
Romance is about sharing:
“I do romantic stuff for my lady. I buy flowers for our space. Things which benefit us both.”
Classic romantic gestures bring uncomfortable amounts of expectation, making guys feel pressured:
“I dislike any expectations placed on me. I dislike birthdays; I dislike anniversaries. I feel like I’m just going to disappoint you with whatever idea I come up with.”
“Some guys just don’t like doing what they’re expected to do. It’s a lot of pressure to do something you know the other person is breathing fire about.”
Women over-emphasize fantasy romance:
“Being a romantic guy means nothing to me. I want nothing to do with their textbook romanticism. Women are taught to love something that does not exist. It usually takes heartbreak for them to realize it and smarten up. I feel sorry for women. I am very glad I am not a woman.”
“I certainly try to do romantic things for my girlfriends. But I think it’s not always successful because my idea of romance is quite different from a girl’s idea. I guess a girl might appreciate a guy’s attempt to be romantic, but if it doesn’t touch her in the way that she naturally expects, it’s mostly useless.”
When a man is being “romantic,” you’re probably missing it, or it’s super subtle:
“Lots of men are romantic. They do offer such gestures. They just aren’t the gestures you want. ‘I saved you the last beer,’ is extremely meaningful … to a dude.”
“We both work constantly, so when we have free time, we spend whole days together just lounging, eating, watching movies, and talking. That’s the best and most romantic gift. Time with someone who understands who you are.”
Cliched romance feels off:
“Women need to be more aware and receptive to manly romantics. Of course a candle lit dinner makes anybody melt, but love demands creativity and a candle lit dinner seems too easy. I think romantic gestures are great and the more the better, but you have to be in the right mood to give and receive it. Otherwise, it’s smothering and annoying.”
So, do you agree with these guys? What do you think is romantic? Is romance overrated or completely necessary? Do women need to be more romantic? Or, do women think the same thoughts about doing sweet stuff for their men? Sound off in the comments!