It's OK to Be a Romantic Man

We’re told as boys that girls are gross; as teenagers, that they’re crazy, and as men, that they’re objects. I write today to say that there is nothing wrong with being romantic (ro-male-tic?). The masculine culture is all about notches on the bedpost: scoring. But women, stereotypically speaking, want to find one of their very own. These two trains of thought are incompatible by nature, and broken hearts are the casualties. These “norms” are bolstered by fashion, music, and advertising. 

I love to love. Moreover, I love to be loved. I love to be caught looking at her while she’s reading, lost in how incredible it is that she’s in my world, or waking up in the morning a minute or so before her, being careful not to move so as to rouse her. Noticing her peaceful breathing, her arms wrapped around me, one of the only times she is truly uninhibited. Her hair may be everywhere, and maybe she’s drooling a little, but in that moment, I wouldn’t want anyone else next to me. I adore Her because of her messy hair, not in spite of it. 

The idea of still being as crazy about each other in 10, 20, 30 years as we are now makes me smile. To give in to one another entirely. To do things for each other because you saw a book she might like, because it makes you happy to make her happy - completely unaware that at the end of it all, you are what makes her happy. Because this feeling, this Beautiful Magic, is a two-way street, and you feel like the luckiest man in the world. What’s wrong with wanting to feel like that?

Maybe I’m old fashioned. But every so often, I feel a twinge of anger and pity when I hear one of my friends refer to a girl as a “chick”, especially if it’s his significant other.  She should deserve better than such a throwaway moniker. She deserves to be your Queen, your Sun and Moon. Like I say, maybe I’m weird. But isn’t it the weirdos that change the world?

We’re all like leaves, floating alone along the River of Time. Motes of dust randomly swirling in a cosmic sunbeam. To realize this, is to give yourself fully that life is short and terrifying, and at the same instant, to realize that if you’ve found another person to bob along with through the eddies and rapids, why wouldn’t you cling to each other for your very lives? The entire world is out to get you, and it’s a special thing to have one more person cheering you on from the sidelines.

Let’s teach our boys to love. To kiss girls instead of pulling their hair. When he says he hates Alison from kindergarten, gently remind him that she is a person, just like him. (A person. What a novel concept.) Maybe he’ll pick her a flower one day. If enough little boys stop teasing each other and start treating girls with respect, we could create a new norm. Pubescent teenagers, their lives ripped apart by their first heartbreak, could do well to have a deep breath, a glass of water, and a listening ear. An understanding chat about heartache and growing up may well stop a grudge dead in its tracks.

There’s nothing wrong with being a romantic. It circumvents all logic to jump off that metaphorical cliff, but the feeling of flying is incomparable. It brings both happiness and crushing blows, but without plunging headfirst into folly, how can we possibly know what to do next?

Chili Thom

The Kindness of Strangers