I’m Not Looking For Prince Charming, But I Still Want Some Romance

I used to dream of meeting Prince Charming. You know the type—a blond-haired, blue-eyed stud with chiseled abs and impeccable manners who’d show up out of nowhere, scoop me up, and take me away on his white horse (or in his shiny new BMW). Having dated for a decade, however, has pretty much killed this quixotic image. I’m not interested in such superficial qualities, but I still want a guy who’s romantic.

  1. Manners are a basic requirement. Wanting him to open the restaurant door for me isn’t much to ask for at all. It’s not even a matter of being romantic—it’s what differentiates human beings from primates. A lot of dudes seem to think that manners are a thing of the past. If he doesn’t get out of bed to walk me to the door after we’ve had sex for an hour, I’m done with him. I’m not expecting him to be a fairytale prince, but he has to show me some respect.
  2. I don’t want penis pictures—I’d rather have some flowers. I’ve dated guys whose idea of romance was to send me half-naked snap chats saying, “Thinking of you.” That’s corny, narcissistic, and not at all romantic. He should try sending me flowers instead. He doesn’t need to go over the top with some crazy arrangement, either— a simple rose can be extremely romantic. I’m not trying to live a rom-com life, but I do like to see him offer a gesture of appreciation that’s all about me, not his junk.
  3. I’d love to be taken on a surprise date. There’s nothing more romantic than a surprise date. Why? Because it shows that he knows me well enough to plan something without having to ask. There’s nothing better than waking up on the weekend and going on an adventure with the guy I’m seeing. It can be in our hometown or somewhere farther, but I’d love to not have to plan a date for once. Surprises are hands-down the best way to keep the thrill alive in a relationship. This is how he wins my trust, as well. It’s worth the effort.
  4. I want a guy to write me a letter instead of texting me 24/7. I get it—texting is quick and convenient, but a handwritten letter is worth a million texts. Seriously, I wish handwritten love letters were still a thing. I don’t care for disappearing messages. A letter shows that he’s made an effort to create a memory with me and I’ll keep it forever.
  5. I’d love to go to a ball. Relax, I’m not trying to be Cinderella—going to a fancy gala or a ball is super romantic, though. When I was in college, the equivalent of a ball was a frat formal. Girls got to dress up in elegant attire and men wore bowties. Sure, I like knocking back beers with him and his friends at the bar. Still, I like to get all dolled up and feel special for an evening. I want a guy to find a fancy event and ask me to go. This is the modern version of fairytale romance to me.
  6. He should let me have the umbrella when it’s raining. I know rain won’t melt me, but letting me have the umbrella is romantic. It shows that he cares about my well-being and I like that. If he’d like to go a step further, he can kiss me in the rain and express his feelings. That’s a movie moment right there.
  7. I want a guy to save me the last piece of pizza. Or any kind of food, really. Acting all selfless when it comes to sharing is very romantic. It’s not that I care so much for the actual food, but it shows grace. I’ll scarf down that pizza knowing that he loves me. Sharing his food with me is the first step to sharing his life with me.
  8. An occasional reminder that I’m the only one he wants goes a long way. Knowing that I’m the only one for him is extremely romantic. I know that there are millions of girls out there he can be with, yet he’s chosen me. That makes me feel special. Every girl needs to feel special in order to have a healthy level of confidence. Knowing that he cares deeply about me will lift me up even in the tough moments.
  9. I’d love him to wake up early to encourage me before a big day at work. As a #girlboss, I’m in charge of many projects with zero room for failure. I tend to get stressed out before big presentations and meetings. Having my guy tell me that he believes in me is huge. One of the most romantic things a boyfriend did for me was waking up to cook an elaborate breakfast on the day I had a super important meeting. Showing that he firmly believes in my abilities is romantic, and so is encouraging my career.
  10. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of custom jewelry. I love jewelry. Most girls do, even if we don’t admit it too much. Making a custom ring or bracelet for me is the epitome of romance. It doesn’t have to be expensive, it could be something very small that will just remind me of him. After all, it’s the thought that counts.
Dayana is a passionate traveler who's been navigating foreign lands and confusing relationships since she was 16. You can read more of her work on Matador Network and her blog, Dee Across The Sea.