I love being romantic. Being sensual over everything: making each motion smooth and full of meaning can be a really gratifying experience when you're doing it for someone you really care about.

But what do you do when corniness enters romance? I can't stand cliches and once that happens, romance isn't as pleasant; it's just boring and hard to listen to. Things like moonlight dinners and love notes are some classic examples of romance. However, if the notes use overdone lines and blatant cliches the entire thing is ruined. The lines "The moment I saw you, I knew I would love you for eternity" or "I would follow you to the ends of the earth" are guaranteed to make someone vomit profusely, not just because they're unrealistic and over dramatized, but because they've been used so much.

As overdone as moonlight dinners and rose petals may be, most of the time, they're well received because not a whole lot of people have actually had them done to them. You see moonlight dinners in movies a whole lot, but how many people have actually been on them? The number of people who have come home to trails of rose petals leading to the bedroom is even less.

To change the direction of this node just a little, let's talk about being realistic. Those cheesy lines I mentioned above, and virtually any attempted romantic line that uses the words "eternity" or "from the bottom of my lonely heart," are unrealistic. The fact remains that more often that not, when you are deeply in love with someone, if you end up parting ways with that person, you WILL love again, no matter if you said the "you're the only one for me" or "I'll love you until the day I die" lines. Saying that you have a "soul bond" with someone sounds really nice, and romantic, but it's rather unrealistic.

In my opinion, the concept of Love at First Sight is incredibly unrealistic. I don't believe in Love at First Sight, but I do believe in Lust at First Sight. Now, honestly, when you see someone, do you go: "Hey, look at the morals on that girl over there" or "Wow, he looks responsible." No. You think: "Hey, what a babe" or "I wouldn't mind being in a backseat with that guy."

Yet everyone complains: "No, I knew it was love at first sight. We got together the first time we met and now we're married!" Yeah, and? When two people "fall in love at first sight" (translation: are attracted to each other at first sight), they will most often get together. When things don't work out, or when one or both of them turns out to be total assholes, they break up, and nobody hears any of that Love at First Sight crap. The 1 in 10 chance that the two people actually are compatible, THAT'S the one you hear about. It's not that tons of people actually fall in love at first sight, it's that with the other 9, you never hear anything. You're not getting the whole story.

Right about now, most of you will probably be thinking something like: "Wow, this guy is about as romantic as a brick." Sorry. Love can be beautiful, yes, but it can also be a leeching, untrue thing. I'm trying to look at it all with analytical reason, and not false notions.

Did you know that scientists have actually done studies on the brains of people in love and found that when someone is truly in love, a specific part of their brain shuts down? I swear that I'm not making this up. It makes sense, because people in love will often put themselves in danger to rescue the other. This could serve as a survival mechanism. For a species to survive, it must have mated couples. It would be in the species best interest in the pair stayed alive, so one creature will try to save its mate if possible. This instinct is still around, only now it creates blind devotion, which may end up in someone walking off a metaphorical cliff for his or her "lover." I will refrain from saying that this is rather sad.

I want to be truly in love, yes, but when I do, I don't want to become stupid.

So, the boy is out of town for 10 days. What are you going to do?

Do? What the hell? I'm going to do what I always do: take life one day at a time.

Just to keep it accurate, here are things I have done since he left on Saturday (from most recent to least):
• Arranged for the internment of Mom's ashes for September 10th.
• Read another chapter of The Aesthetic Brain
• Packed up and drove to FedEx my practically brand new Alienware 15, for Dell to hopefully fix the dimming issue on the screen
• Did a little diddling
• Set up appointments for dry needling for my stupid plantar fasciitis and others for the eventual invasion of my girly bits
• Baked a week's worth of fingerling potatoes to assist in weaning me off of grain-based carbs
• Experimented with a stromboli made with potatoes instead of dough...turned out delicious!
• Took myself to an art exhibit with fractals...was beautiful. If you focused on the ceiling, the wall to wall images felt like you were mooring through them on a room sized ship
• Went out to dinner with a female friend...it took me years to find and cultivate one (sigh)
• Watched the second to last episode of Sharp Objects....oh my ME!
• Went to all of 4 of my OrangeTheory workouts this week, like a good girl
• Had wine twice during the week, like a bad girl
• Fell into a K-Hole of 80's teen movies and inspirational vids from the 00's in a failed attempt to go to sleep

I list that just to prove to myself that I'm not THAT much of a loner chick, even though I know mostly am, these days. I also list it to prove, to myself at least, that I didn't want for things to do just because my partner is out of the house for a while.

When we're apart for a while, people ask if we talk a lot on the phone. We don't. We don't even really text all that much. I had hear a comedian recently reflect that it's hard to have much to talk about when you come home at night when you've literally been able to follow each other's movements all day long through social media.

All these years, I thought I wanted a romantic. Turns out what I needed was a partial Luddite. When I knew I wasn't being pursued through my social media, it reinforced that I never really like charting my day there anyway, and now I had even one less reason to bother.

While I have been back in circulation here lately, I can't help but look back which, of course, brings back past romantic entanglements. Both in my own writing and in those of others, I am over saturated in sap; we really laid it on thick back in the day. Maybe it was just because we were young(er), because we were using this medium to mediate our feelings for one another. What I realized is that, while romance might be the way I would initially get snagged or snag a fellah, it's rarely the way we keep each other satisfied.

Does that mean that there is no more romance? Well, in this relationship, there wasn't really that much to begin with. We're not a couple to hold hands in public. We're more apt to grope one another when were just trying to brush our damn teeth. We'll never get married or have kids, but we'll likely buy a house together someday. Romance these days is just thinly veiled realism wrapped around with thoughtfulness. My guy is the kind of guy that will top off the gas when he borrows my car, or always pick up a bottle of wine I like when he's out getting groceries. He'll indulge me, but he'll also tell me no, he's not ready to talk about that, no, I'm too tired to discuss it, no, I don't want to go to this or that thing.

At 42, I am realizing the benefits of realism over romance. It will come in handy when I have to have my uterine fibroids starved of blood so they'll freaking shrink and die already! It will come in handy when I'm putting the box of my mother's ashes in the ground. It has served me well when he tells me the truth, that that outfit is not flattering or that I've put on weight, but I find you sexy anyways.

Although they never married, their relationship outlasted all the marriages on their block.---King Missile, Gary and Melissa

That's kind of how I want us to end up, to outlive romance. Not to forget what it is or recognize it, but to evolve past it.

I'm beginning to think that this is one way to view partnership. And I dig it.

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