Feelgooder Asks: What is Romance?

Romance is a tricky thing. We know that most women feel they don’t get enough of it. A lot of men aren’t sure how to go about it. And, above all, everyone has a different version of it. So today, we’re asking:

What’s your definition of “romance”?

Once upon a time—when you were a teenager, perhaps—romance was all stuffed teddy bears and armfuls of red roses dotted with baby’s breath.

Once, I was given a bear on a stick. I’m sure I swooned at the time as my mother snickered at the teenage-boy version of What Is Romantic.

In today’s cynical world, most of those classic romantic gestures can seem a little … oh, I don’t know. Should we say “tacky”? “Cheesy”? “Forced”? They definitely don’t carry much street cred.

It’s a shame the world is becoming so jaded, but then again, you have to move with the times.

While researching a love and romance website once, I read that a great date night with your sweetie would be to spend an hour staring into each others’ eyes at sunset. I don’t know about you, but I think after five minutes of that, I’d want to stick a fork into my eye.

That’s not to say I’m not a romantic. I am! A hopeless romantic, in fact. I still love candlelight and violins and The Notebook. I just happen to think we need to update our definition of romance for modern times.

The key feature of romance is that it’s impractical and flighty. A kiss in the rain, for example, is still a romantic notion (the fact that you don’t care that you’re being rained on, you just want to steal a moment with your sweetie is breathtaking!). Buying your girlfriend a new set of tires for her car, however, is not.

I think romance is also thoughtful. It’s knowing what your partner likes and surprising them with it for no reason at all. Like bringing home their favorite chocolate bar. Or showing up at their work with a picnic lunch.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. What’s the most romantic thing that’s ever happened to you? Do you think traditional romantic gestures have had their day? What’s your definition of romance?

About Emma

Emma Merkas is the co-creator of couples' inspiration website $30 Date Night and author of the 'How Was It For You?' relationships and dating column in Australian newspaper, mX. You can also find her at her own blog or on Twitter @30dollardate.


  1. I don’t think old notions are old at all. I love it when my husband opens my car door – maybe cause it happens so infrequently.
    I agree with you that it is the small gesture that shows you were thinking of the person and like kissing in the rain ONLY that person.
    I think romance is when you feel that person loves you , it can be something as small as a chocolate bar or as big as a candlelit dinner with violins – or just a movie with no kids!
    Romance is flighty because we remember bad things or things that don’t happen more than the compliment for example.
    I try to do something “romantic” atleast once a week, even if it’s cooking a favourite meal I’ll spice it up with some decor or a rose on the table.

    • You’re right, Claire – it really is about knowing that your sweetie is thinking about you. They went out of their way to open the car door, or to stop and buy the latest edition of your favourite magazine on the way home… or sent five dozen red roses to your office!

      It’s lovely that you remember to do something romantic every week. We should all be doing the same.

  2. Romance…. It’s sort of funny you write about this, because I just wrote a post about how sweet it was that my husband said he liked my fat. I think that’s romantic.

    I swear it was a lot sweeter than it sounds…. 🙂

  3. I think that romance is very important in a relationship, but it looks different for each couple and it looks different at different times of your life. Hubby taking the night shift for a new mother so she can get some rest, shoveling snow off the sidewalk so the wife doesn’t slip, fixing the coffee in the morning. These are all everyday things that could be considered romantic. It’s not always about roses and chocolates or even sex.
    Eating for Balanced Living

  4. With changing time, the perception of the people has changed. However, in love and romance, old is gold. Giving a rose, kiss in the rain, splashing on the waves, sun set, evening dinner, chocolates, are still romantic.

    Doing something that pleases each other is always romantic.

  5. I think there are still people out there that still keeps the traditional gestures of being a romantic. I think that being able to remember special occasions and celebrating it with a candle light dinner is just romantic.

  6. wla kaung ligo lahat

    • HiLove this story and yes I have a motto. It’s all about HOPE. Knowing what and where my hope is in and that is God. He has a plan and HE always works thigns out. If I don’t have fancy clothes or a nice car it is as Martha would say a good thing. Love your cake toppers! BlessingsDenise

  7. ellow po

  8. muta na po kau

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