Valentine's Day is just around the corner. We will give greeting cards, flowers, and chocolates to our loved ones. We will make restaurant reservations. Romance is in the air.
But what is romance? What does it mean?
When I looked up definitions for romance, I found a range of answers, including a feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love, ardent emotional attachment, a strong, sometimes short-lived attraction, and a fictitiously embellished account. None of the definitions really satisfied me or spoke to the gestures, grand or small, we associate with romance: running through the airport to tell someone you love them, skywriting a proposal, writing a poem, sending love notes in a lunch bag, or creating a surprise picnic lunch.
A few years ago, while out of town for business, I had dinner with family living in the area. We lingered around the dining table after the meal. My uncle was in the bathroom, trying to install a towel rack for his sister, who'd hosted the dinner. My cousin helped him. We could tell from the sounds coming from the bathroom they were struggling. Finally, my cousin came back to the table and said, “That does it. I'm taking the rack back tomorrow.”
My uncle stayed in the bathroom a few more minutes. He coughed, a small, short cough. His wife, who sat across the table from me, smiled and quietly said, “He just got it.” My uncle re-joined the group at the table, grinning. He had indeed installed the towel rack. My aunt recognized that cough as a sign of success. My cousin looked at both of them and said, “That's the most romantic thing I've ever seen.”
I was surprised by her comment. This wasn't the type of thing I normally associated with romance. But, seriously, think about it. What can be more romantic than being that in tune with your partner?
What does romance mean to you?