Love: it’s more than just a feeling. It’s a biological entity and one of the driving forces in life. Romance on the other hand, is the explanation we tell ourselves to describe these feelings.
According to SF State English Professor Bruce Avery, “We have a sheer biological need to procreate and romances are the stories we tell ourselves to make that biology seem meaningful, in a non-biological way.”
Valentine’s Day can be a confusing time of year because many people get romance and love mixed up. However, their definitions are very different.
Love in one sense is strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties, but it’s also attraction based on sexual desire, according to Merriam-Webster.
Romance is a medieval tale based on legend, chivalric love and adventure, or the supernatural. It can also be defined as a prose narrative with imaginary characters involved in events remote in time or place that are usually heroic, adventurous or mysterious, according to Merriam-Webster.
They both involve physical attraction, which is caused by the belief that being with another person will make us complete. The difference is that one is natural and the other is fiction.
There are traditions associated with human attraction that help us understand how we feel about our biological needs. However, they get falsely encapsulated in things such as books, movies, poetry and songs.
In “Something” by George Harrison he sings, “Something in the way she moves/Attracts me like no other lover/Something in the way she woos me.”
It sounds very sweet, innocent and romantic when you only hear the song but don’t actually listen to the lyrics. Although, you don’t have to think too hard to figure out what this girl’s “something” is that Harrison is really referring to.
Another example is the now-classic romance movie “Titanic,” where one of the most memorable scenes is when Kate Winslet climbs onto the bow of the ship and Leonardo DiCaprio spreads both her arms out as if they were flying.
Of course this is before Winslet asks DiCaprio to “draw me like one of your French girls.”
Enough with the awful innuendos.
People often end up disappointed with love because their ideals about romance have been formed by fictional stories. This brings us back to the origin of romance.
In the Middle Ages, people wouldn’t marry for love or affection but for real estate and heirs. In fact, it was said that you actually married the fief, or land estate, and were given a wife as part of the bargain, according to an article written by Washington State University English Professor Michael Delahoyde.
Passion was even forbidden by the Catholic Church because love went against the practical economics of marriage. Then when courtly love came into existence later in the Middle Ages, the idea of marrying for love was even more preposterous. During this time, marriage would happen within nobility to materialistically benefit each other, according to an article written by California Polytechnic State University English Professor Dr. Debora Schwartz.
Romance was conceptualized within the idea of money and wealth, which it still revolves around to this day.
This finally brings us back to Valentine’s Day.
If you’re paying for an expensive dinner with the hope of winning another person’s affection this Friday, keep in mind that it’s because you’re a romantic. Love is free.