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Romance As Fiction

Microsoft WORD offers several synonyms for ROMANCE and one of them is FICTION.  The senior men I know think romance is showing up in my kitchen with pizza and a bottle of Chianti.

Most single senior men are either widowed or divorced, thus veterans of long-term relationships.  Why are so many of them clueless about how women define romance?  


You want  Dinner at Le Cirque; he counters with lunch at the Olive Garden. You’re a fan of Alicia Keys; he’s stuck on Benny Goodman. Tango turns you on, but he’s into line dancing. Flowers for your birthday? He gives you a leather wallet. You’re dying to see The Jersey Boys; Revenge of the Nerds is his speed. You’d love a ski weekend in Aspen, but he favors camping in the State Park .  You’re mad for Tina Fey in “30 Rock” while he prefers pay-per-view wrestling.

On the basis of my limited research, I have to say that the odds of finding a romantic senior man are about the same as the odds Random House will publish your novel. You can try, of course.  He wants to please you.

If he’s simply ignorant of the moves that move you, you might start by rhapsodizing about dining in French bistros — or take him for a stroll through your favorite museum gallery. 

If he lacks initiative, send him your florist’s URL.  

If he’s penny-pinching, the relationship is – well, problematic. The ultra-frugal, particularly old ones, can’t be taught. 


Just as people who lack a sense of humor think they have one, unromantic men are sure they know what romance is.  If your senior man’s romantic consciousness is limited to sharing a bowl of nachos while you watch the Super Bowl, you’ve basically got two choices:

1.) live without the romance you’ve dreamed of

2.) be the prime mover

By prime mover I mean that you supply the candlelight, Chardonnay, theater tickets, flowers, and perfume — at least until he “gets it” and we certainly hope he does.  

Proceed with patience. He’s old, and he’s not going to change his ways with alacrity. If you can drag him to a theater he’ll probably enjoy the play, but if he doesn’t, and if nachos and beer aren’t your thing, relax with a vodka martini. You’ll sleep — mercifully — through most of the game.

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'Romance As Fiction' have 8 comments

  1. August 11, 2014 @ 3:07 pm Hopeless

    Oh…so true.My life story is unromantic men.

  2. April 26, 2012 @ 11:35 am Pollyanna

    No way are these old guys going to be romantic on their own. You’ve got to tell them what you want, like tell them two weeks before your birthday exactly what you want, otherwise you’ll get a restaurant dinner and some half-dead flowers, period. I know. Been there, got that.

  3. November 27, 2011 @ 7:17 pm Sienna

    Thanks for your comment, Gil. I’m a fan of your e-book characters Jimmy and Gladys. I especially like that you confront kids’ fear of losing their inheritance when a widowed parent gains a serious suitor. It’s a real issue and often impacts the elders’ relationship in damaging ways.

  4. November 26, 2011 @ 10:10 pm Gil Stewart

    And what if you’re like me, writing ebook fiction about October Relationships, primarily from the male perspective? After six books I can still find ways for unsuspecting guys, who are more Beta than Alpha by now, to find their share of that “fiction” you are calling romance.

    In fact, there is nothing like a “geriatric adolescence” to make for a good story.

  5. October 7, 2011 @ 6:17 am Lillian

    This is a little unfair. Some men are very romantic and anyway they are the ones who are paying. In this economy I feel sorry for a man who has to be going to restaurants all the time to impress dates. Try to provide alternatives to this like coffee dates or movies instead of theater.

  6. February 18, 2011 @ 11:57 am ElizAnn

    This is a no-brainer. Of course you have to be the prime mover. Older men are happy to watch TV at your house, eat at your house, and maybe they’ll occasionally take you to a museum or a movie. And you’re right. The man I was dating would go anywhere I asked him to, but he’d never come up with the idea himself.

  7. December 14, 2010 @ 6:36 pm Majid

    Well, I have to weigh in on this one, too. A lot of women complain that you’re not romantic but what they really mean is you don’t spend enough money. Most older women can’t go hiking or biking, where I can see getting romantic. They just want to go to restaurants.

  8. November 30, 2010 @ 3:39 pm Madame X

    Oh, yes, hahahaha. I had a couple of dates with a man who sounded really “with it” but never delivered. The last time he asked me to a late movie so he didn’t have to take me to dinner and so he didn’t have to actually engage in conversation.

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