When I was younger, I romanticized everyone I met. I imagined all the people I had contact with to be absolutely perfect human beings, heroes, and heroines. I’m not sure how I developed this habit, but it took me many, many years to grow out of it. And I can not tell you for sure, even today, if I am fully recovered from it.
I met this guy at a party one night when I was in my early twenties. Oh gosh! He was a handsome man! He walked up to me and the first words out of his mouth were “You are the most beautiful woman in the room.” Well, I was smitten with this stranger. The evening progressed, he asked for my phone number, I gave it to him and then he told me he would be out of town for a few weeks, but he’d call me as soon as he returned. I asked him where he was going and he told me he was a Captain in the Navy and had a training exercise to attend. It was probably the worst thing he ever could have told me if he was hoping to seriously date me.
Because it happened. Over the next few weeks I plunged head first into romanticizing this guy.
True to his word, he called me the minute his feet hit civilization. We made a date. He drove 3 hours to take me to dinner. He knocked on my door. I opened it. And I fell forty stories from the height I had built him up to, all the way to the ground.
I had spent three weeks making him into An Officer and a Gentleman and standing before me was just a guy that liked a girl.
I made it through dinner. I kept hoping he’d say something to renew the blush, but he never did. He tried for a kiss goodnight at my door, but I offered him my cheek.
I was so let down. Where was my Captain? What had happened to him?
I’ll tell you what happened to him. “He” was all in my head. This real guy never stood a chance against the Captain in my head.
What is romanticizing?
ro·man·ti·cizeverb /rōˈmantəˌsīz/ /rə-/
Deal with or describe in an idealized or unrealistic fashion; make (something) seem better or more appealing than it really is.
- – the tendency to romanticize nonindustrial societies
- – she was romanticizing about the past
Luckily, my husband knows I romanticize about people. He keeps me grounded. Whenever I’m disappointed because a friend or colleague doesn’t measure up to the ideal in my head, he reminds me to lower my expectations. I know that sounds awful, but unless you have ever dealt with a chronic romantic, you have no idea what it’s like.
When I describe someone I met, or know, that I want him to like, he knows when I’m romanticizing and when I’m just giving a description. I know when he knows because he always asks “Really?” and I always have to backtrack “Um, well, maybe she’s not totally perfect, but she’s nice.”
Why do people romanticize?
Have you ever heard someone say to you that they like to find the good in everyone? Well, they’re romanticizing. They are! It just sounds better when it’s put like this. It makes them sound magnanimous and evolved.
People only want to see the good and remember the good. No one wants to wax poetic about a bad memory unless it’s to tell you the great things that happened while downplaying the bad.
I think it has to be what keeps us from staying in bed with the covers pulled over our heads for days. Besides what is so wrong about wanting to lift someone up?
I like it.
I admit that I am not as idealistic as I used to be. That comes with age. But I still see a twinkle now and again and I indulge in those romantic notions of what I imagine to be perfect. Disappointment may reign supreme in my life some days, but those days when I am not surprised that someone is as special as I thought they were are the best days ever.
Call me romantic! I think painting my world in pastels and paisleys and putting a shine on everyone I meet makes life more interesting. So why not wear those rose colored glasses and smile?
Use it in moderation and you’ll be alright.
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