We have this funny human need to define all the “types” of love. As if love fell neatly into comfortable, clear cut categories. Like, red, blue, orange, and violet.
What would you say if I asked you, “What is the opposite of blue?” Red? Yellow-orange? Or would you clarify to me, “Which shade of blue?” Not all blues are the same; there can be a blue fish upon a blue sea upon a blue sky, all distinct. Therefore the opposites of the various blues must not all be the same. I am merely drawing a logical conclusion, not trying to infer too much here. But it leads me to postulate the following:
Romance is more ambigous than the color blue. Therefore the opposite of romance should be similarly ambigious.
Some people equate romance to the physical act. To them, the only thing that separates romantic and platonic/familial relationships is physical intimacy and carnal knowledge. Yet others claim they are romantic and do not engage in any of those activities. Some people sleep with their friends. Others say that they feel romantically towards only one person that they are physically intimate with (beyond hugging and kiss cheeks), but none of the others with whom they are sexual.
Is everyone confused? Or is “romantic” more broad than we’ve traditionally come to expect? Let me pull back for a moment and consider the color blue.
If I pointed to a yellow sun and called it “blue,” you might correct me.
Because blue is something we believe we can define..and yet as I mused above, “blue” is not only one thing. Now if I apply that to our thinking towards romance…
If I said, “Roses aren’t romantic,” you might agree or you might disagree- roses are one of the default symbols of romantic love- but everyone has personal tastes regarding romance. Romance is personal.
And, so, when someone wonders, “Am I aromantic?”, I feel obliged to respond with, “What is romance to you?”
What is romance? Love? Sex? Romantic “gestures”? If I said “Rope and latex masks are romantic,” that might be closer to the truth for many of my own friends, yet that doesn’t necessarily hold true even for all within the BDSM community.
ro·mance/rōˈmans,ˈrōˌmans/Learn to pronouncenoun
- 1. a feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love.”in search of romance”
- 2. a quality or feeling of mystery, excitement, and remoteness from everyday life.”the beauty and romance of the night”
Wonderful, but what causes excitement and mystery to one person versus another? What captures one’s mind in a “romantic” sense versus a platonic connection? I am not seeking an answer. I don’t believe there is one. I’ll accept whatever means that word to you, even if I relate to none of it.
Whatever love and romance is, to you, influences the opposite, or “aromanticism.”
If romanticism is ambiguous, aromanticism must be equally so. What else has such a shaky foundation? I don’t know, but certainly this is at least a bouncy foundation.
Matter is a scientific reality; anti-matter may be incomprehensible to some, but I think we all understand the idea of “matter.” Even sex. Sexual and asexual have certain universal meaning, though “sex” may be similarly loosely defined.
But I don’t believe to the same degree as “romance.” Certainly to the vanilla masses, “sexual” has a “fairly” limited meaning. While even in traditional vanilla society, “romance” has vastly expanded its definition beyond “Love, Actually.” At least from my personal observations.
Call yourself whatever you wish. “Aromantic,” “romantic,” or something else altogether. I don’t know if I’m “aromantic.” I don’t know if I’m “romantic.”
I’m loving and I’m loved. Maybe that’s enough.