Can you guess what word these definitions are attributed to?
- “. . . Idealistic yet impractical; Passionate and imaginative rather than structured.”
- “A soulful or amorous idealist. . .”
- “Quixotic: not sensible about practical matters; idealistic and unrealistic. . .”
The answer: romantic.
Wanting to write about my self-perception as a romantic for this entry, I decided go for accuracy and define it first. A parade of disappointments has me questioning whether I can remain a card-carrying romantic. I needed a gauge: can I still truly appreciate Nora Ephron films? Or should I crush all my roses for potpourri from now on?
As you can see, the lexicographers pulled no punches here. I’m forced to admit the irony that, considering romance is the driving force behind these definitions, there is a distinct absence of flattery here. These are zingers.
The first definition negates idealism with impracticality. That is followed by placing passion and imagination as opposites to structure. Pardon me for not realizing these attributes were mutually exclusive. I am certainly idealistic, passionate, and imaginative- which I suppose makes me a romantic. But, according to the experts, this means I’m also chaotic, undisciplined, and impractical. This makes romanticism sound like something to be worked on and fixed. I’m not necessarily singing to woodland creatures, but I hesitate to fix my idealism claiming to sacrifice it for structure and practicality.
The second definition sounds harmless at first before you think about it: amorous means animated by passion and desire, and soulful implies that you are driven by emotions. I will credit this definition for poetic appearances, and I suppose I fit the bill this time, too. But am I completely driven by emotions? Does calling myself a romantic mean that I must also admit to being a hunka, hunka burnin’ love?
Saving the best for last: let’s not omit the last little wonder there: quixotic. Remember that guy? The delusional one who went to war against the windmills? Apparently that kind of behavior and a romantic outlook are one and the same. And idealistic is bundled together with unrealistic and not having any good sense.
One of the most common associations with the term “romantic” is “hopeless”. I know the intent behind that is that there’s no hope for the recovery of a romantic from that state of mind: he or she has bypassed the point of no return, and there is no sense in trying to get the pour soul be reasonable. But, if I take it at face value and think about a romantic lacking in hope: does it make sense? Can they coexist?
Of course they can. If you live life as an optimist- you are bound to be disappointed every now and again. And that disappointment probably isn’t assisted by the experts of the world labeling you impractical, delusional, and senseless. Then again, I’m just guessing.
So I suppose my self-examination is pretty conclusive: I am indeed a romantic. But as to the condition of my hope, the jury is still out. While they deliberate ¡Mataré los gigántes!