Among both the genders, it is women who are perceived to be more romantic than men. But how rooted to the reality is this generalisation? Does it stems from pop culture, depiction in literature and conditioning since childhood? Are women actually as hopelessly romantic as they are depicted to be? Or is it the men who under their macho and indifferent exterior, are mushier than the truffle chocolates you got gifted yesterday?
Men are more passionate than they want to be credited for
A 2014 survey by Psychology Today found that 48 percent of men claimed to have fallen in love at first sight, while only 28 percent of women made such a romantic claim.
In addition, men as compared to women, tend to place a greater emphasis on feeling passionate in their relationships. Men have also been found more likely to say “I love you” first in a relationship—and they report greater happiness than women after hearing those words for the first time.
This data is contrary to our belief that men put head before the heart. But expressing and feeling love are two entirely different things. It’s the expression of love that does not come easily to them. Men refrain from expressing their emotions, because they are conditioned to do so. Like happiness and sadness, it is difficult for them to express love.
Similarly, women pay the price of general expectations from them in the matters of romance. We are branded the weaker sex. The one which clings and frets and lets the heart rule her head. Yet, I am yet to meet a woman, who dances with joy on getting a love letter or hyperventilates, at the site of her beloved.
Nope, women have their heads tied to their body firmly. They know how to separate ideas of romance being fed to them, from the reality they inhabit.
Is it women, or is it the idea of romance?
The entire premise of romance is set around the roles assigned to each gender. Men are supposed to woe women. Who in turn are to test the integrity and intentions of the suitor. In order to determine whether he is worthy of companionship or not.
A box of chocolates, or a pearl necklace or a bouquet of roses seem too pretentious to the modern woman’s eyes. She can see through the cover of romance and access the intentions of the other party. Sex, companionship, or just time pass..?
Also, I can buy my own pearls and chocolates, thank you very much. The roses will eventually wilt, and end up in the trash can. The cheesy Bollywood style romance requires too much energy and effort.
Even the film industry is catching up with our changing point of view on love and romance.
Especially, when it comes to long-term commitments like marriage (which is touted to be the kryptonite of romance) the definition of romance steps out of the pages of Mills and Boons and enters the life that surrounded by dirty dishes and clogged bathroom drains. Then romance is not expensive dates, because there are EMIs to be paid. It is not a box of chocolates, because the kids will end up eating more than you. Or being serenaded to your favorite romantic songs, because the in-laws are still awake in the next room.
It is simple gestures like putting your towel out to dry, or cleaning up the kitchen at night, which makes the heart flutter. It is watching re-runs of Friends eating pizza and drinking beer or watching cricket, and hurl abuses when the favourite player gets out.
When we let go of the generalisations about romance hammered into our heads since the beginning of time, we find that both men and women are equally romantic. The expression of love differs from person to person. But the intent about love is equal in both the genders.
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own