Confession: Romance, Schromance

Our contributor Abby Spector, who is double-majoring in English and Feminine/Gender/Sexuality Studies at Wesleyan University, has a confession to make:

I lost my virginity beside a pool with a guy whose age was less than the number of people he had slept with. Before penetration he said, “I don’t want anything serious, okay?” I nodded. Commitment wasn’t in my near future. I didn’t need a magical night of rose petals and “I Love You’s” to enjoy myself. In the wise words of Khia, I just wanted to “pop my pussy.”

That was three years ago. Very little has changed. I’ve still never returned home to a candlelit dinner, a Hallmark card or John Cusack serenading me via boom box outside my window. Even my prom date didn’t give me a flower. Don’t worry, readers. This isn’t an invitation for pity. The truth is that I loathe stereotypical romantic gestures. They seem forced and sterile, full of awkward touching and unsure exploration of one another’s uncharted territories. In other words, my perception of romance puts it on par with my annual doctor’s appointment.

This summer I had my first taste of traditional romance. We drank wine and strolled on the path that runs beside the Hudson River. He held my hand as we listened to a man sing in French on a bench that doubled as his home. It looked like a movie. But the casting was off. I am not your typical leading lady. I am the girl who, upon holding hands, explains how she sweats profusely from her appendages (a common symptom never covered on the silver screen). Needless to say, Hudson River Boy was not impressed by my sweat gland ramble. There was no second date.

The way I see it, our current system of attraction has a glitch. If romance is the reflection of love and love is largely based on feelings of comfort, why are traditional forms of romance so fucking uncomfortable? Romance shouldn’t be stifling. It should be about showing our true colors, hand sweat and all.

I have grown up watching my parents personify this definition of romance. Instead of buying my mom flowers or jewelry, my dad gets her hiking boots or a home-made coupon promising that he will clean up the dog shit in the backyard for an entire month. They fart while reading sex books and feed each other Indian food while watching reruns of ER. My hippie-parents are a rare specimen. Not everyone considers a discussion about bowel movements romantic. That’s fine! Romance is about opening up to someone on a level you deem appropriate. If that includes cookie-cutter river walks and picnics and boxes of chocolates, enjoy yourself. That style just isn’t for me.

Let me paint you a picture of my version of a romantic date. First off, it wouldn’t be a “date.” It would probably entail two friends just hanging out. After fighting over a pint of Ben and Jerry’s or doing a few shots of tequila straight from the bottle together, they end up in bed pulling each other’s hair and giving each other hickeys. In the morning, they share the same toothbrush and pee in front of each other. If things progress, their pillows start to smell like the other’s scalp. And if they fall in love, they aren’t afraid to be the first to say so.

No flower petals necessary…ever.

Abby Spector


  1. Great article, Abby. You said: “My hippie-parents are a rare specimen.” I wouldn’t bet on it. 😉

    (OK, the Man does a hell of more farting than I do, but the other stuff sounds suspiciously familiar.)

    Sometimes, in our decades together, he will buy me flowers or candy, but usually because I am depressed or upset about something, (and he buys me “Score” candy bars after we have sex, despite the fact that the “joke” was old about 10 years ago. 😉 He must still think it’s funny. “I scored. Hahahaha.” “Yeah, so did I.”) and he usually buys them as a last thought while checking out at the supermarket.

    I’m not a Romantic, either. I forgot our Anniversary last year! LOL!

  2. wow… so many people said it best… i love you and your thoughts lol wow … im so happy u mentioned ur parents maybe i will find love… please don’t ever stop writing lol this really put me in a better mood

  3. I never thought I’d be romantic, lovey dovey or enjoy all those cliche things. That did change when I met my boyfriend. I’d like to think that we did not start off typically but we are very close and in love.

    Yes, we are very comfortable with each other. Not like roll in filth comfortable, but can take showers together without any sexual overtones. But the romantic gestures we do are a way of differentiating ourselves from friends and reminding each other of our love. He is very romantic at times.

    That said, that’s just us. Other people have their own styles. Like he says, “different strokes for different folks”.

  4. You know what I’ve come to realize…..guys aren’t romantic, at all. They don’t think that way. My bf isn’t wired to think to pick me up flowers from the grocery store. But they do have it in them to do the occasional cute thing, like bringing you Starbucks or making the bed in the morning. I think it counts more when its not cheesy.

  5. I think there’s room for everyone in this discussion. One of the things I like about someone is when they’re comfortable to be around, but I also respect thoughtful, “romantic” gestures (like flowers and, eventually, picking up the dog shit that makes them grow). It’s a way of showing you that you’re special, that you’re different from all of the other tequila swilling friends with benefits. I do agree with Jessica that dating would be a lot friendlier if people were honest from the get-go, but our current culture of dating makes people insecure. And if Mr. Cusack would like to present himself outside my window, I’d gladly let him in.

  6. That’s why I hate dating! This reminds me of a John Cusack rant in Must Love Dogs. Basically, when you first start seeing someone everyone is on their best behavior, afraid of scaring off the potential mate. After awhile, you theoretically gradually loosen up to be the real you. At which point, that’s when one of you realizes “hey! you’re not who you said you were” or something to that effect. then you break up. if we were all a tad more real up front (perhaps not farting right from the get go), we wouldn’t waste our time in pointless dating games.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *