What Does It Truly Mean When Someone's 'Romantic'?

Romance is more than a notion, chile.

Love & Relationships

Ah. Yes. Romance. Romance is an interesting topic to me because, since I tend to be pretty word specific (because of that I know that romantic means things like being fanciful and impractical), I must admit that sometimes, I think this word applies more pressure onto relationships than it should. Does that mean that I think that there isn't an art to wooing and that people deserve to experience it? Of course, not. I just personally believe that it's important to hold true and real romance to a more realistic bar than what we see on the television or movie screen.

So, what do I think that it means to be a romantic individual? Well, in the spirit of avoiding the fanciful and impractical, how about we look at this world from a more sensible—and yet still wonderful—point of view.

1. A Romantic Person Is Thoughtful


Another word for thoughtful is "considerate" and while that might seem like an odd way to lead off a topic like this, when you really stop to think about it—it's not. When someone is considerate, they use tact in conversations. When someone is considerate, they factor in other people's feelings when it comes to the decisions that they make. When someone is considerate, they respect other people's time, they avoid doing things that will trigger them or make them feel uncomfortable and they have a very kind demeanor. Someone who's considerate is also pretty proactive in their actions.

Matter of fact, one definition of considerate is deliberate. This means, they are intentional in what they do and, when it comes to relationships, a part of the intention is doing what they can to make people feel good. So, while this might seem like a super practical definition of romantic, that doesn't make it any less relevant.

The reason why I thought it was important to lead with this is because a lot of women find themselves getting their feelings all the way hurt because they confuse charming with consideration. A guy can be a complete and total ass and still charm your pants off (literally). A considerate man is going to make choices that factor in more than just the present. He's going to move in a way that shows that he cares about how you'll feel about him in the days, weeks and months to come too.

Sis, spend more than a couple of decades on this planet and you will come to realize just how romantic that kind of guy really and truly is.

2. A Romantic Person Is Attentive


A romantic person? They want to know your love language. Once they do, they don't forget it. They ask when your birthday is and honor it every year. They take note of what some of your favorite things are and then present them to you at the most random of times. When you're having a bad day, they're present. When you're having a good day, they want to celebrate it with you.

Bottom line, when someone is good at being attentive, what they strive to do is make others feel really special, wanted and valued. And yes, that is a cornerstone point of what it means to be a romantic individual. If you've got someone in your life who is affectionate, giving, sentimental and super consistent when it comes to all of these qualities, count yourself blessed. Attentiveness is an art and it's not a ton of folks who have truly mastered it.

3. A Romantic Person Can Move You Without Money


I actually think it's fascinatingly hilarious that one definition of romantic is to be impractical because, when it comes to a lot of people's expectations as it relates to romance, that's exactly what they are. To think that someone is only being exciting, passionate or chivalrous (which are synonyms for romantic) is when they're pulling out their credit card all of the time or purchasing things that shine is a huge fallacy. Honestly, that's kind of a cop out way to be romantic because simply spending a lot of money doesn't really require much creative thinking.

Love letters. Cooked dinners. Personalized playlists. Handmade gifts. Flowers (a bouquet or petals spread everywhere). A drawn bubble bath. Slow dancing in the living room. Kissing in the rain. Taking impromptu walks down memory lane. Sharing a dessert. These are some ways to be romantic without spending a ton of cash.

And I can speak from personal experience that these are oftentimes the kinds of experiences that you end up remembering more anyway. Besides, if you read all of that and thought, "Hmph. Sounds more like being cheap to me," perhaps you need to ponder if you are romantic. Or not.

4. A Romantic Person Is Seductive Without Being Sexual


So, here are some synonyms for the word seduce—entice, allure, fascinate, magnetize and captivate. While I think we all know that, for the most part, seduction is ultimately about trying to get someone to engage in sexual activity, a truly romantic person knows that there is a true art that comes with it. For instance, I was recently talking to a male friend of mine who isn't big on kissing or giving oral sex (he'll do both; they're just not on the top of his menu). When I asked him what the "selling points" were for actually sleeping with him, he told me that he does enjoy cooking for women, rubbing their feet and singing to them.

Listen, I've known this guy for a long time now and he's never had a shortage of female company. While I personally would find someone who "tolerates" kissing and head to be a huge turn-off, I get how he's been able to hold so many women's attention—he seduces them. People who are truly romantic, they enjoy their partner. They look for ways, outside of sex, to make them feel beautiful and desired. It's not just because there's some sort of end game in mind. For the true romantic, just knowing that their partner feels desired in their presence? That, is oftentimes, what even turns them on the most.

5. A Romantic Person Tends to Go ALL In


I think that my favorite thing about romantic people is that they don't half step. If they get you flowers, they want to make sure that it's your favorite ones. If your anniversary is coming up, they go out of their way to see that it's absolutely unforgettable. Even if they do something like bake for you for the first time, they take special care to make sure that the presentation is right. My late fiancé? He was super romantic. Even when we were both living on campus, if I was sick, he wouldn't just bring me orange juice and Tylenol; there was breakfast, tulips (some of my favorite flowers) and a card asking to go on a date with him when I felt better too. Or, when I had to leave one of my favorite pets to go to school, he mailed me a toy Simba because that was my cat's name. To him, it wasn't good enough to simply call me and say, "Wow, I'm sorry to hear that." He wanted to do some sort of gesture that made me feel like he truly understood where I was coming from.

On the romance tip, I know a husband who created an entire calendar of planned out dates for his wife. I know a wife who surprised her husband with a staycation that consisted of nothing but his favorite foods and things to do. I know a man who takes his partner on three-course dates (he plans something for the morning, afternoon and evening). I know a woman who created flashcards with words that defined all of the things that she adored about her man. Then she had those words painted into a portrait for him to put up in his home office. None of these things are super over-the-top. At the same time, none of them are mediocre in effort either. When a romantic person wants to convey how they feel, they make sure that the message is clearly sent. Often.

6. A Romantic Person Is a Solid Love Advocate


I like the word "advocate" a lot. It's someone who constantly speaks in favor of something (or one). Not only that, they highly recommend whatever they are in favor of to any individual who will listen. And someone who's romantic? They definitely fit this bill. It's like, no matter what is going on, they see love as the solution and remedy. Going further, romantic people tend to be students of love too.

They are the ones who journal their lessons learned from past experiences, along with their goals for the future. They're the ones who have love self-help books in their personal library. They're the ones who listen to relationship podcasts, can recite I Corinthians 13:4-8 (the Love Chapter in the Bible) basically by heart and—here's the real clincher—are extremely careful with the using word.

I believe I've shared before that, for several years now, I've gotten out of saying "love" for everything. I don't want to be in the habit of saying I love my future husband and I love lemonade IZZEs. My man deserves better than being compared to some sparkling drink. Honestly, truly romantic people can share a similar way of thinking because while there are some romantics who border on being love addicts (because they don't have a lot of balance in their approach to being romantic), a truly romantic person has a sense of integrity to them. They want the object of their affection to trust them and believe what they say. And so, while they do want the entire world to experience love, they want the love to be as real and healthy as possible. Romantic people will woo yet love often takes time. Again, if they are approach romance from a healthy perspective.

7. A WARNING: A Romantic Person Sometimes Needs to Be “Brought Back to the Ground”


I've shared before that one of my favorite quotes of all time is, "The excess of a virtue is a vice." Aristotle once said that and he's exactly right. So even with as admirable of a trait that being truly romantic is, the thing that romantic individuals have to stay on top of is not falling too quickly, idealizing or—dare I say it—romanticizing things to the point where they overlook facts and common sense. They also need to make sure that their "human trinity" (mind, body, spirit) are in alignment because "following one's heart" isn't the wisest motto to go by. Why? Because your heart is the center of your emotions and if you only go off of those, you can find yourself being all over the place.

That's why, even with all that I just shared with you, romantic people also tend to need accountability. Loved ones who care about them enough to say, "We know you love love, just make sure you're seeing everything from a leveled perspective." Oh, but if the person does, if they know that they can make someone feel like they are walking on cloud nine, even with their feet still on the ground, they can be a real blessing in someone's life.

How romantic are you? How romantic is he? Definitely something to think about. In real life.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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