A Debate: Who’s More Romantic? Men Or Women?

My co-blogger Melissa Clouthier and I disagreed about who’s more romantic, men or women. So, we decided to debate the topic on IM and let RWN’s readers vote on it. What follows is an edited transcript of our discussion and at the end, a poll.

Dr. Melissa Clouthier: I believe men are more romantic about relationships and the women they love, while women are more pragmatic in their choices for a mate.

John Hawkins: Men tend to be much more looks centered than women, but I don’t think that equates to romance…

Dr. Melissa Clouthier: Well, I think that looks are a big part of it, that attraction without evidence of personality or intelligence or whatever.

John Hawkins: Yeah, but a guy can be incredibly attracted to a woman he has zero romantic feeling for.

Dr. Melissa Clouthier: Exactly.

John Hawkins: Exactly what?

Dr. Melissa Clouthier: Which is why I don’t think looks is the only part of it. Lots of guys are attracted to lots of women, but falling in love takes on a different quality and what I’ve seen is that when a guy views a woman as “the one” his sense goes out the door. It’s not just looks.

John Hawkins: Very true, but that doesn’t make him romantic.

Dr. Melissa Clouthier: well, what’s your definition of romantic?
I think that romantic is that “swept off your feet” thing and I’m saying that men seem to be more that way like Tom Cruise on Oprah, although he’s a little nuts.

John Hawkins: Having strong feelings for a woman doesn’t equal romance.

Dr. Melissa Clouthier: What’s your definition of romance? Maybe we’re not talking about the same thing.

John Hawkins: I think you just know it when you see it, like pornography.

Dr. Melissa Clouthier: I guess I’m not even saying it’s flowers and candles and gifts and that is probably equated with romance and romance novels classically, although I’ve never read one, except for Somewhere In Time.

John Hawkins: Well, who does read them? Women read pretty much all of them while men won’t touch romance novels. I mean, that says something about who’s more romantic.

Dr. Melissa Clouthier: But, I’m saying that men, once they love a woman, stick to an idealized version of her and women are more pragmatic.

John Hawkins: I don’t know that they stick to an idealized version.

Dr. Melissa Clouthier: I think they do.

John Hawkins: It’s hard to have an idealized version of someone after you have been with them for a while. I mean, if you’re wondering who’s more affected by or likely to want to engage in what are commonly thought of as romantic gestures, it is definitely women.

Dr. Melissa Clouthier: Well, here’s the thing, women read romance novels, true, but men (and me too) read fantasy (and) they are equally romantic.

John Hawkins: Really, they’re not.

Dr. Melissa Clouthier: In my opinion, for example, LOTR, the motivation for Aragorn is his love for his woman Arwen….

John Hawkins: There is usually a romantic story in fantasy and Sci-Fi novels, but is also almost always secondary to the plot. (For example, the) love story in LOTR was secondary to the plot

Dr. Melissa Clouthier: It was.

John Hawkins: In a romance novel or romantic comedy, which women eat up with a spoon, it’s central.

Dr. Melissa Clouthier: But, I feel like it was more romantic than the swirling confection of a romance novel….

John Hawkins: The men go to watch Sci-Fi to see the action, the adventure, the special effects and maybe get a little romance as frosting. With women, it is the whole cake. Women will go to the movies to see a male/female love story. Men will not. That suggests that women are more romantic.

Dr. Melissa Clouthier: I so disagree with you.

John Hawkins: …Are you arguing that men are as into romance movies as women? I don’t know anybody who thinks that…or romance novels? Are men as into them as women?

Dr. Melissa Clouthier: I am not saying anything about who goes to movies or reads novels. I’m talking ACTIONS and I’m saying women might sigh at romance, but their actions are pragmatic.

John Hawkins: Well, we are talking about romance tho — women love those movies and books because they love the idea of romance. Men, for the most part, don’t…

Dr. Melissa Clouthier: …Men dismiss romance but their actions are romantic. (Women) like it in theory, but in reality, they are marrying someone for economic stability reasons

John Hawkins: Some of them do.

Dr. Melissa Clouthier: Lots do. Life isn’t like movies or books. A man doesn’t think that way. He might consider (her) if she’d be a good mother.

John Hawkins: Well, men are expected to provide and very few guys would ever have the option of marrying a woman who could just take of them (financially). Even if they did, they would be ashamed to marry her for that reason.

Dr. Melissa Clouthier: …Women might read these books about being swept off their feet, but I’m sorry, if they find out the guy who is sweeping is a deadbeat, the romance ends.

John Hawkins: But, if men are more romantic, why aren’t they the ones reading the books?

Dr. Melissa Clouthier: Because I’m not defining romance by the novels or movies.

John Hawkins: I am not either, but I find what people are interested in tells you a lot about them. …(Also), attraction works differently for men and women. For men, it’s almost entirely looks. For women, it’s a whole passel of manly attributes including looks.

Dr. Melissa Clouthier: And that is why a woman feels a sense of loss, or can, after marriage when the guy doesn’t do the things he did, but he tends to feel it (if he’s really swept away) even if he doesn’t show it
I mean, what do women do that is romantic?

John Hawkins: Nothing, because men don’t value romance.

Dr. Melissa Clouthier: Make a meal, I guess or buy nice lingerie.

John Hawkins: Women value romance, which is why men pretend to be romantic to make them happy.

Dr. Melissa Clouthier: Ha…yes, they do, but women never pretend at it. That’s what I’m saying

John Hawkins: Because men wouldn’t care.

Dr. Melissa Clouthier: Women aren’t romantic. They read it, they watch it, …but men are the true romancers in action and, I believe, in heart.

John Hawkins: Why should (women) make some grand romantic gesture the guy won’t care about when he would be much happier if she cooked him a nice meal and took him upstairs for some hot monkey sex?

Dr. Melissa Clouthier: …I’m really afraid of how this whole conversation is going to be edited.

John Hawkins: …You should be afraid. =D…ehr…of nothing. It will be edited very fairly!

John Hawkins: …Most men act romantic not because they feel that way, but because they know it will make women happy.

Dr. Melissa Clouthier: Now, THAT’S cynical. That’s like saying that most women have sex not because they want to but because it will make men happy.

John Hawkins: Women enjoy sex too and would want it even if men were so-so on it. Men wouldn’t bring women flowers for example, if women didn’t appreciate it or at least, if they didn’t think that they did.

Dr. Melissa Clouthier: Hmmm. Well, I am not talking about flowers and chocolates. I’m talking about feelings the way a person feels inside. I still say that men are more devoted that way.

John Hawkins: Those are classic romantic gestures though that happen because a woman appreciates romance and men want to make her happy.

Dr. Melissa Clouthier: I guess it must work because people do it, but that is not what I’m talking about and I guess I’m not making myself clear.

John Hawkins: I know, you are talking about the feelings.

Dr. Melissa Clouthier: I am talking about the motivation a man has
to step in front of a bullet, to care for, to love, even before he even really knows her.

John Hawkins: A man can love a woman with all his heart and never say the words to her throughout his whole life. Love doesn’t equal romance

Dr. Melissa Clouthier: It captures what I’m trying to express perfectly.

John Hawkins: A man can be deeply in love and not be romantic.

Dr. Melissa Clouthier: A man who is deeply in love is romantic.

John Hawkins: Only if you treat love and romance as synonymous.

Dr. Melissa Clouthier: I’m not using them (that way).

John Hawkins: OK, we are never going to agree on this obviously, so do you just want to agree I am right and leave it at that?

Dr. Melissa Clouthier: No way.

John Hawkins: Ok, then we’ll have to put up a poll and let RWN’s readers decide…That’s a wrap =D

Who’s more romantic?
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