Romance is overrated: Why we suck at romantic gestures

Romance is overrated: Why we suck at romantic gestures

One of the (many) things I hate about pop culture is how it sets up expectations for grand, sweeping romantic gestures from our significant others.

That’s why I really liked the fact that in the Big Bang Theory, they don’t stop at Howard serenading Bernadette with a song he wrote himself, but show Penny’s blundering attempts at romancing Leonard only to realise that the fact she has a shoebox in which she’d saved all sorts of mementoes from their time together speaks loudest of all.

Sure, there are people out there who go BIG. My boss bought his wife a car for her 40th birthday. My friend’s husband proposed after a skydive.

But that’s not us at all. I think you might stump us if you were to ask either of us about the most romantic thing we’d ever done for each other.

For me, it’s all about the small, everyday things.

I will save half my burrito to take home for him to share.  Sew up holes in his pants and handwash his good shirts. Buy Mallow Puffs on solo trips to the supermarket even though I think they’re disgusting and won’t touch them myself (I feed the people I love).

And in turn, the ultimate token of appreciation from my perspective would be simply doing things around the house. Proactively taking care of chores. Oh, and not drinking the last of the milk.

Alas, while my love language is ‘acts of service’, his are ‘physical touch’ and ‘receiving gifts’. And thus, real romantic gestures – the kind the other person truly appreciates – take a lot of work in this household.

17 thoughts on “Romance is overrated: Why we suck at romantic gestures

  • Reply anna April 9, 2014 at 08:23

    Love BBT and love this post! I agree romance is nice, but I’d rather have kind and thoughtful gestures any day! 🙂

  • Reply Genie April 9, 2014 at 10:35

    He gives me the last piece of anything we’re eating, but only if I’m there.

  • Reply Well Heeled Blog April 9, 2014 at 13:22

    I do love romantic gestures, but I’ll be happy with anything thoughtful, doesn’t have to be GRAND gestures. For example, I really wanted to make Hong Kong style waffles, and CB got me a Hong Kong style waffle iron. (Granted, that’s after I sent him an email with a picture and a link of a waffle iron and said “hint hint”). He also once drew me a chart expressing his love in sine and cosine.

  • Reply Leigh April 9, 2014 at 16:51

    I love this! This was a funny post since APW had a post on not liking their engagement story today.

    I’m not a huge big gesture person either and I’m not very good with our story of how we started dating. Thankfully we’ve now been dating long enough that no one really asks that anymore and if they do, I just explain that we have been friends since third year of college, worked together for a couple years, and eventually after switching jobs, realized our feelings for each other. No one needs to know exactly how that happened and anyone who knew us together was not surprised, which was pretty cute!

  • Reply Brian @ Luke1428 April 10, 2014 at 01:42

    “…my love language is ‘acts of service’, his are ‘physical touch’ and ‘receiving gifts’. ” Haha…That sounds very familiar. I know my wife likes those small everyday things and when I do them can tell she really appreciates it. Just need to do them more.

  • Reply Jef Miles April 10, 2014 at 02:13

    I wouldn’t say romance is over-rated.. To me romance is important i.e. holding a door, buying flowers occasionally or doing something that they enjoy doing..

    Romance is quite subjective and will differ, it doesn’t need to be big though and is more of a gesture.. At least that’s what I feel

  • Reply Mr. Utopia @ Personal Finance Utopia April 10, 2014 at 03:01

    I agree – it’s the small things that really matter the most. Things that may seem trivial are oftentimes more telling because you don’t necessarily have to do them…but you do because you love them. That said, there’s nothing wrong with a little bit of typical romance stuff every so often. Having a bit of passion in a relationship is very important too.

  • Reply Kara April 10, 2014 at 03:41

    I’m a believer of “it’s the little things that count.” My engagement wasn’t all about grand gestures and big surprises, just a dozen of cupcakes from my favourite bakery and a, “Close your eyes, I have another surprise.” Friends of ours who recently got engaged did so while watching their favourite TV series on marathon. Sweet & simple.
    Grand gestures with candles and roses and whatnot make me gag a little, and I think that once you start doing that, you can’t stop and will always have to be on-upping yourself. Too much work, if you ask me!

  • Reply E.M. April 10, 2014 at 14:10

    I’m watching BBT right now, and I loved the episode where Penny showed Leonard that shoebox. My boyfriend and I aren’t very romantic either. I’ll usually save him food, too, and if we went shopping separately, I’d probably feel compelled to buy him the glazed donuts he loves. I appreciate him cleaning up and helping me cook. It’s all about the little things.

  • Reply Loving It: 10.4.14 | Sweet Mama M April 10, 2014 at 15:52

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  • Reply Addison @ Cashville Skyline April 11, 2014 at 09:46

    You’re totally right. I’ve definitely realized this more as I’ve gotten older. Big romantic gestures aren’t as important as someone doing my laundry for me, picking me up something for dinner, or downloading a movie that I might like. I feel kind of bad for expecting more out of previous boyfriends when they really had no idea what I was looking for. Hahaha.

  • Reply Erin @ Gen Y Finances April 12, 2014 at 09:39

    Yeah, we don’t do grand gestures in our house. There’s nothing more “romantic” than just doing the little things for me — like rubbing my back when I’m laying down or doing stuff around the house. I think flowers are largely a waste of money — just bring me a cheap bottle of wine or a burrito from Chipotle 🙂

  • Reply Tahnya Kristina April 12, 2014 at 12:55

    When I moved away for college I thought my life would be like a movie. I thought I would be trying to buy a diet coke from the machine in the student lobby and a cute guy would come up to me with the exact change. Well now I’m 33 and although I do live with my boyfriend we aren’t married, we don’t have kids and we don’t have a big house and a dog. When my life didn’t turn out like the movies I hated rom coms for a long time, but now I am back on the fairy tale wagon. I could watch Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey fall in love all day long.

  • Reply Lisa E. @ Lisa vs. the Loans April 15, 2014 at 12:57

    I loved that episode of BBT! I think I’m just like Penny, it’s hard for me to be “romantic” in the big ways, whereas my BF is just naturally thoughtful about those kinds of things.

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  • Reply Amanda @ MoveLoveEat April 22, 2014 at 15:42

    Comment overload today, have been catching up on blogs I haven’t been able to read lately due to work. LOVE this post. I’ve never really been an overly romantic person but I love it when the b/f remembers little things I said when we started going out (or remembers things I said full stop actually) and just both doing the chores that need to be done and hoping in to bed for a movie at the end of a long week. Those are the things I really appreciate the most.

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