…we just don’t know what it is anymore.
“Life isn’t as complicated as we make it, but it’s more complicated than TV would let on.” ~JE
I think the “what’s romantic?” question is easiest to answer if approached by first noting what it isn’t.
“Romantic” isn’t the meaningless gestures that tv/movies would have you believe are “romantic”. Those are just easy, go-to things you can pull out of your hat in order to look thoughtful. Fail.
“Romantic” is not indulging in a delusion. If “romantic” requires you to ignore reality, then “romance” isn’t real… so, what good is it? Please try to ignore the notion that a ‘perfect evening, with the perfect setting and the perfect items and the perfect…’ etc. is a “romantic” event… it’s not… that’s called scripted. And it’s terribly, dreadfully impersonal if you think about it.
“Romantic” is neither generic nor impersonal. You should not even be able to do something ‘romantic’ for/with someone without knowing them well. It’s not even about what turns them on, but about what makes them tick (or tickled)… and the fact that someone else has paid enough attention to know the difference.
I guess by this way of thinking, you could simply say that “romantic” is thoughtfulness that is based in reality, and is personal/specific in nature.
A gesture that let’s someone know that during the course of your ordinary life, you were thinking about them… about them, specifically… and that it meant enough to you to want to let them know about it.
Go forth, and be thoughtful.