By Junel Fiestada

Cartoon by John Dave Poot

Fairy tales and series often persuade us that in order to express someone’s love, there should be touches, kisses, affirmation, and over-the-top romance. However, fairy tales aren't hallucinogens that give us hope and dreams. It’s a stimulant that makes us face reality – a reality that love doesn’t begin at sight, love is pondered and refined by time and that love is beyond romance.

Romance is a Product of Capitalism

Before buying a red rose in a flower shop, think again, is love all about romance and gifts? As they say, a red rose is equivalent to intense love. Couples will do their best to save money and buy something for their partner because capitalism instilled us that ‘love is expressed by giving gifts.’ Although there is material love, we could express our admiration through simple presents and not require us to purchase expensive gifts

This Valentine’s Day, flowers and other gifts are at their peak price. The expectation of receiving and gifting extravagant things – caused by misleading romance in mainstream media – diverts us to the real purpose of expressing love through gifts.

Aromanticism is Romantic

Aromanticism is when an individual decides not to be romantically attached to someone – but they are not exempted from loving or being loved. Aromantic people may not subscribe to romantic relationships, but they could still experience deep love for their parents, friends, and family members.

They aren’t cold or apathetic. They could still feel love and crave emotional compatibility like anyone else. Rather than choosing the path of being romantic, aromantic individuals prefer deep and intimate love. However, amatonormativity hinders people from understanding and accepting that romantic love is just part of a pie and that love could be expressed in many ways. As defined by Elizabeth Blake, amatonormativity is “the assumption that a central, exclusive, amorous relationship is normal for humans, in that it is a universally shared goal, and that such a relationship is normative, in the sense that it should be aimed at in preference to other relationship types.”

Love of Community, a Better Romance

Our sense of belongingness in our community is also a form of love that goes beyond romance. Maybe, it isn’t romantic to see the same faces of people in our neighborhood every day, but we feel assured and glad to see their faces because we feel the compatibility. Our compatibility however is also tested by the elections because each household has different preferences. Sometimes, neighbors clash because of different opinions. But at the end of the day, these discussions help mold the perception of the society.

The elections are drawing near, and voting is a form of love better than romance. It is love that decides our future as a nation and as the basic unit of society, family. Whether voters elect a convicted tax evader, boxer, labor leader, soldier, or a lawyer, the future lies in the shaded circles on the ballot. It determines not just the succeeding terms of candidates, but the future of the next generation who'll suffer and pay (or benefit) for the actions of the next administration.

Romance is Futile

Withal, romance is overrated to the point that it is interchangeably used to define love. However, love is profound to be isolated in terms of romance. A love greater than romance thrives despite the hardships of life. It is the love that forgives and expects nothing. To the extent that feels martyr, a love embraces imperfections and mistakes.

For some reason, the celebration of Valentine’s Day isn’t for everyone. Couples and those with romantic attachment often celebrate it. Nonetheless, this event shouldn’t be exclusive to romance but inclusive to more prominent groups, family, friends, and relatives. In this way, we could be enlightened that romance isn’t the only expression of love but service, time, appreciation, affirmation, and affection

Love, without a doubt, is something all of us desire. It is something we find in our everyday journey. However, that does not mean we’ll all share the exact definition of love. Lack of romance or choosing a harmonious relationship over an affectionate one isn’t a flaw, but poverty in our imagination of the word “love.” Love, like a recipe, is just a matter of taste. Anyhow, love isn’t a mere feeling that can be easily defined. Frankly, love does not need definition but needs repercussion through our emotions and expressions.