A good many years ago I got some serious static (mostly genial) from folks when they found out that I'd given my wife a rolling pin for Christmas. Between the idea that I was "arming" my wife and the idea that buying something so common place, so utilitarian for a Christmas present was just awful. We were relatively newly married and it was seen as just so un-romantic.
On the other hand my wife loved it. It was just what she wanted and she was very excited when she unwrapped it.
So was it romantic or not?
I vote romantic.
But just yesterday, Valentine's Day, I didn't get her a card, I didn't get her flowers, I didn't take her out to dinner.
Some of you are shaking your heads. The romantic failure. The cad.
Let me tell you what I did do yesterday. I ran the snowblower and cleared both of our driveways. I got down on my knees and scrubbed the dirtiest floor in the house. I did a quick clean of the bathroom. I cooked dinner. A favorite meal that I make from scratch.
My wife thinks I'm pretty romantic. You see she doesn't enjoy cooking dinner. So I do it. She was going to scrub that floor but she's working three jobs right now and she's tired when she gets home.
Yes, I buy her flowers. And I buy her cards. And I take her to dinner. The flowers wilt and the cards get thrown away and dinner out is nice. Dinner made for you every day, a help with the jobs around the house, making sure that she has what she needs before I go do my stuff.
That's a far more valuable kind of romance. The flowers and dinner are nice and flashy. But it lacks substance. It lacks staying power.
(In case you're worried I'm taking her away from it all for three days on a second honeymoon later this year.)