You know, I've been called a lot of things. I've been called an extremely warm person; I've been called a cold man. And at times, I've been called a romantic.
To me, romanticism is an ideal, of sorts. It's a refusal to accept the baseness and ugliness of the "real" world, as most consider it. And, it's the creation, in your own self and in the life you lead, as well as in the life you help those around you to lead, of another world -- a world where things are filled with meaning, where people truly matter, and where we all are the authors of our own spectacular, riveting stories.
As a romantic man, you become able to touch others' lives and bring hope to those who lack it. You inspire; you motivate; and you energize. You take those for whom the world had been empty and cold, and make it feel as though it's buzzing with electricity and potential. And best of all, you take the fantasies that women read about so avidly in their romance novels, and you can bring them to life.
Striving to become romantic is, to me, something very much worth striving for -- romanticism gives you an ability to affect others' lives that is in some ways without equal.
The "Loss" of Romanticism
I want to start this one out by saying I'm not so sure romanticism has ever really been "lost."
Sure, if you read books about 100 to 200 years ago, it seems like just about every guy was a romantic. But that's books -- and books are fond of fanciful and idealistic characters.
If you ask me, I'd be really surprised if there were actually a whole lot of romantic men at any point in history.
Because, you see, romantic men are rare.
And women love them. They go crazy for romantic men... all of them.
So why don't more men become romantic?
Well, there are two things that romanticism ultimately stems from:
- A joyful, blissful love of women
- A blinding, nearly unshakeable optimism about life
Most men don't have those qualities, and that's why most men aren't romantics.
A man must genuinely really love and enjoy and care for women to be a romantic. This is different from what nice guys do. And the distinction is incredibly important.
Nice guys try to be nice and pretend to be nicer than they are and supplicate to women and kiss up to them. Usually they think they're flying under the radar... and what ends up happening is either they succeed in flying under the radar (and women really, honestly think they only want to be just friends and never see them as more than that), or they fail in flying under the radar (and end up seeming creepy to women).
Romantic men, on the other hand, don't try to hide their interest in women -- they're upfront about it. They can do this either by stating it outright -- in a very smooth, natural way, of course -- or by implying it through their nonverbal communication, voice tone, and implications (such as chase framing).
Women know, most of the time, that if a man's spending much time on them, he probably has some degree of romantic interest in them. Because of the way attraction works, women have the highest degree of respect and mutual attraction for the men who are just honest about their attraction and don't try to conceal it in fear.
That's what nice guys do -- they try to hide their attraction out of fear of being rejected. Women instantly take that as a sign they should reject them -- who knows you better than you? So if a guy thinks a woman ought to reject him, most of the time that woman is going to trust his judgment of his own worth, and listen to what he thinks she ought to do. A guy's afraid a girl's going to reject him? She'll probably end up rejecting him.
Romantic men combine two aspects of very successful lovers that appeal to women at a very deep level:
- confidence, and
- a way with women.
Confidence tells a woman a man must be desirable, else he would not expect attraction with such self-assuredness.
A way with women also tells a woman a man must be desirable -- he must have had success with women to have developed this way with them.
And what women tend to be looking for, ultimately, is a man who's already successful with women -- confidence and a way with them are the keys that tell her he is.
Back to what we were talking about earlier. Have the romantics been lost? The answer, I'm quite confident, is no, they haven't. In fact, you can find romantics just as much today in women's reading materials (romance novels, for instance) as you can in books of old. And there are indeed men today who reap the rewards of romanticism.
Western culture may have hurt the number of romantics out there somewhat -- with all the "men vs. women" polarity there is these days stemming from the feminist movement and backlashes against men and return backlashes against women, there are a lot of cynical men out there now (along with a lot of cynical women). There's a big divide between the sexes, a lot of distrust, finger pointing, and prickliness.
But there are still men out there who love women. And those men do so much better with them than the cynical men that it's not even funny.
I don't think romantic men were ever all that common before. Men hundreds of years back had to spend too much of their time at work, and had too little leisure time, to spend much time pursuing women as romantics. Only the odd man out -- a man with an aristocratic background, perhaps, who was also well-traveled -- ended up as a romantic.
Nowadays, men have more leisure time, but with today's cynicism about women and dating, many men have in-built opinions that stifle any kind of romantic whims they might otherwise have.
That's why, even in a time when men have the availability and the resources to become romantics, romantics are still so rare. And that's why women continue to treasure them so much.
How to Become Romantic
I think you've really got to be a bit of an artistic type yourself naturally to become romantic. Fortunately, most people out there are at least a little bit artistic or creative. If you like good movies, for instance, you're probably artistic enough to turn yourself into a romantic.
The hardest part in being romantic is shedding any cynicism or misogyny you might still carry from when you struggled with women. Even among men who become good with women, it's still quite common to have a lot of retained resentment left over from the days when they didn't do so well with girls -- this you must fight at all costs.
Cynicism is mental poison on so many levels; I'm a staunch anti-cynic myself. Some people seem to think that cynicism makes them cool... I just think it makes people really off-putting and lame.
Now, *I* used to be a cynic, some years back. Until one day I realized that every cynical thing I said or thought made me feel a little worse on the inside when I said it or did it, and then I realized that the bad feelings I had on the inside were coming from myself. That prompted a revolution in how I handled my own internal life and judgmentalism -- see "How to Overcome Depression" for more on taking control of your thoughts and feelings.
But I am fully, absolutely, 100% convinced you just can't become a romantic man until you've shed cynicism and really found love for women -- it can't be done. Romance and cynicism are mutually exclusive -- one comes from love for women, and one comes from resentment of them.
Typically, you'll find that cynicism fades as you acquire more and more positive experiences with women, but not always. It's something you have to watch for and police in yourself and remove that bad thoughts.
Once that's out of the way though, and you acquire a genuine love and appreciation for women, here's all you have to do to turn yourself into a romantic man:
- Benchmark. Watch some movies with very attractive, alluring men (Val Kilmer's wooings in The Saint are some of my favorite), and watch how strong guys woo women in romantic ways. They're passionate in love-making; silent in other ways; and they quite often extremely strong, powerful men. You don't see truly romantic men chasing after women, the way, say, a Greek or an Italian man might. Truly romantic men are able to enchant women without having to pursue relentlessly.
- Learn to show their affection in unexpected but powerful ways. You notice that many romantic men skip expensive gift and purchases for women -- they recognize that an inexpensive but meaningful gift (such as something you've personalized or made yourself, say with a poem or an inside joke or pet name) carries far more emotional impact. They'll also do things like take a woman some place in town that they know she'll like -- she loves independent art, say, and you happen to find a small independent art gallery she doesn't know about -- and they use surprise a lot -- so you might take her to that gallery without telling her where you're headed. Just take her there, walk in, and let her be amazed.
- Learn to show more than tell. Related to the example of the small art gallery in that last bullet, while most men talk a lot to women about their feelings or how much they care about her, romantic men show women -- through remembering important little things about them, small subtle gestures, etc. When she's upset, simply bringing her into an embrace wordlessly rather than trying to comfort her verbally is a great example. Guiding her across the street with your hand on the small of her back or changing positions with her to walk curbside is another.
Most importantly, remember that being a romantic man is about the emotions you cause women to feel. Most guys never spend much time learning how to spark emotions in other people and make them really feel; I tend to believe this is one of the most crucial interpersonal skills you can develop in yourself.
The man who can make a woman feel can make her fall in love. If your aim is success with women, becoming that sort of man is one of the fastest roads there.