Ever since I was as an adolescent I’ve considered myself a hopeless romantic. My spare time was spent watching and then re-watching as many romantic comedies as I could. It never failed that once I got to the end when the guy made some over the top, grand gesture to sweep the female character off of her feet, I was inspired. I imagined myself on the receiving end of such an extravagant show of love one day.
Then something in me changed. The twinkle in my eye has dimmed. The rose colored glasses I wore are broken. I no longer believe in fairy tales and I can’t remember the moment when I lost my faith. I never believed in Santa Clause. The tooth fairy allure only lasted for the first lost tooth. I never fell for the boogeyman mystery. But tall tales of princesses and leading ladies finding their Prince Charming was always something I believed in.
There was a time when I salivated over the idea of a man showing up at my door step with flowers in hand, looking into my eyes and confessing his love for me, then promptly escorting me to a horse drawn carriage to ride off into the sunset together. Now, as I read that back, it makes me laugh. It’s such an unrealistic way of looking at love.
There are times when I see the romantic things that couples do for each other but it seems like such a rare occurrence. A few years ago I stumbled upon this video of a man who orchestrated a proposal to his girlfriend by enlisting the help of an entire basketball arena. While she was performing as a cheerleader during halftime he dressed in a mascot costume and got down on one knee to propose. The amount of effort he put into such a grand proposal was so heartwarming to me. Then I thought to myself, how many men would actually make that much of an effort to express their love?
Love is not measured by how much money you spend or how much you publicize your love for someone but it can’t hurt right? I’ve met a few guys who have tried their own version of romance on me. I’ve had a guy sing to me. I’ve received countless text even though I don’t return a single one. Other guys would offer to do nice things for me or take me out but their efforts seemed to miss the mark. They wouldn’t make plans, they would just text me the day of to hang out. They didn’t offer to pull out chairs or open doors or pay for anything. I found myself more content sitting on my couch alone than going out with a guy who made a minimal effort.
My past relationship has also conditioned me to not expect romance. I begged my ex for years to do something special and thoughtful for me. He bought me flowers only once even though I would constantly drop hints about how much I loved the smell of fresh flowers in the house. The only activities he would plan were to go to the movies or out to dinner. We never traveled together. He never surprised me. He never tried to sweep me off my feet.
Which is part of the reason why he’s my ex. My heart may also be icy because the actions I desire are not coming from the man I desire. My mom constantly assures me that when I actually like the person on the other end of the gesture, I would welcome it with open arms. Hopefully, once the romance I hoped for long ago finally comes from the right man, it will be enough to melt the icebox where my heart used to be.