The AfterEllen.com Huddle: Romantic Gestures

Everyone has a different idea of romance, whether they are the giver or the receiver of romantic gestures. But it’s usually the thoughtfulness or the time spent with someone else or the time they spent creating something for you that can make your heart go pitter-patter. (Unless you’re not into them, and then it’s just creepy.) Whether you are a wooer or a woo-ee, queer women can be just as sweet, caring and cute as the too-often hetero-normative portrayals of romance we see on a regular basis.

So, group, what’s the most romantic thing you’ve ever done or have had done for you?

Dana Piccoli: When I was as senior in high school, I spent days planning a grand romantic scavenger hunt for my then girlfriend on Valentine’s Day. I placed roses all over the school, with little notes telling her why she was so awesome, each note leading to the next rose. The last rose led to me in the theatre dept, where I was waiting to serenade her with a Gershwin tune (like you do when you’re 17). She was late to school that day, only found two of the roses and was kind of horrified by the serenade. She broke up with me later that day at Taco Bell. Wait, was this supposed to be the most romantic or most embarrassing thing you’ve done? Either way, it works.

Lucy Hallowell: Love letters. I met my wife when I was 18. The summer after our freshman year of college we wrote each other a letter every single day we were apart. When we were sophomores we signed up for language study abroad together only to be shipped off to opposite sides of the world. Before we left she presented me with a tiny box filled with even tinier pieces of paper. She had written me a note to open on each day we were away from each other (about four months). It was the world’s best, and longest, advent calendar. And yes, my wife is 857 times more amazing than I am.

Mia Jones: While the larger tale of this semi-relationship was less than ideal, one of the most romantic things I did was buy a small reproduction of a piece of art for someone because it was from their favorite exhibit that they used to go to when they wanted comfort and the museum was closing it for renovations for a few years. I didn’t want her to lose that comfort for all that time.

Punky Starshine: I just went through and thought of all the romantic things I’ve done or that someone has done for me and realized they were all for/by girls who weren’t romantic interests (read: straight girls). So I’m just going to go buy myself a box of chocolates and read Game of Thrones to make myself feel better (at least I’m luckier than Sansa Stark amiright?).

Ali Davis: So when you’re both introverts, it’s sometimes hard to get the ball rolling. “Elizabeth” and I had seen and liked each other’s shows (and each other) at three different Fringe Festivals in Edinburgh. The first year we chatted but nothing happened, and then the next year her friend sussed us out and ran up to my friend and said “Tell Ali to be in the Gilded Balloon bar at four o’ clock tomorrow.”

I showed up and waited, but nothing happened. I later found out that she’d been there too, but was too shy to say anything.

The third year I stopped by to see her show. She spotted me in the audience, but I had to run out to another show right after, and really shouldn’t have been there at all, since I was head over heels in a new relationship at the time.

And finally the fourth year we were, for us, bolder. Saying hello more and even stopping to talk with each other. Our casts became friends. One night I finally got her over to the huge apartment my improv group was renting and the somewhere-between-10-and-40 people staying in the place (here’s the romantic part) actually cleared out entirely from the back half of the apartment and stayed huddled in the kitchen while Elizabeth and I sat chatting on the couch in the living room.

After half an hour or so, my friends decided that they were hearing entirely too much chatting from our end of the apartment. And so Elizabeth were treated to the sound of my entire improv group singing “Kiss the Girl.” We did.

Bridget McManus: My wife designed my wedding ring by using my Nana’s blue topaz stone and surrounded it with blue diamonds. It was so thoughtful, romantic and incredibly sentimental. I feel very blessed to carry a part of my wife and grandmother with me everyday. Oh and the ring is fucking huge!

The Linster: For me, it was a very simple thing: A girlfriend made a list, hand printed on notebook paper, of the things she loved about me. She presented it in a manila folder tagged, “The List.” I still have it — at least 20 years later — and every time I read it, even though the GF is long gone, I feel like I’m a pretty good catch. (Spread the word.)

Emily Hartl: My wife is the queen of wooing and courting, she is and always has been MUCH better at it than me and its hard to pin point a specific instance of ultimate romancing. She does little things all the time, truly. She really sends my heart a flutter when she packs my lunch for me, or buys me a dress she thinks I will like, just because. I could go on and on but I don’t really want you to puke before you’re finished reading everyone else’s.

Karman Kregloe: My wife is highly allergic to cats. Like go-to-the-hospital allergic. Still, when we first got together and met my beloved tabby Shelby, she was undeterred. She armed herself with both prescription and over-the-counter meds and soldiered on in a haze. Initially, her allergies could not be controlled by the cache of meds she was taking and her misery level increased daily. We even had The Talk (about Shelby going back to live with my ex). My wife could see my heart breaking and decided she would, by force of will, make herself not allergic to my cat child. And, by god, somehow she did. Today, Shelby sleeps on my wife’s head. Now that is love.

Heather Hogan: The night I met my girlfriend for the very first time, she stood outside in the snow with me for hours and hours and hours waiting to get into a TV premiere party. She waited through the news that someone on the not-VIP side of the party had shown up with a weapon. She waited when the showrunner’s assistant came out to say even the showrunner couldn’t get inside. She even waited while the NYPD shouted at us through their bullhorns to move along lest we be handcuffed and carted away in a paddy wagon. I’d only known her for about half an hour before we got in that line, but she waited with me anyway, ten seconds away from hypothermia. I wouldn’t have blamed her for being like, “OK, see you never!” as we ran away from the cops. But she took me out for drinks instead and when the bar shut down and I was like, “I need a cheeseburger,” she trudged back out into the snow and walked half a mile with me at 3:00 a.m. to get a cheeseburger. She’s chased down an ice cream truck for me and traveled miles and miles to find the perfect beer for me and when I cried giant sopping crocodile tears of overwhelming gratitude after meeting J.K. Rowling for the first time, she held my hand and didn’t laugh at all.

Elaine Atwell: My last relationship was one long romantic gesture, but I think my favorite moment was the night, about a year in, we went on a “first date.” We pretended we’d only just met and got dressed up and drove to a drive-in movie two towns away. It might sound odd — a whole date built on improv — but getting to know each other again reminded us why we were still together. And I don’t remember a single thing about that movie.

Trish Bendix: The most romantic thing that has ever happened was once, on Valentine’s Day, my wife played her guitar for me. Now my wife is super shy and it is a rare instance she will actually play in front of anyone, especially in a room of just us two. This was our first official Valentine’s Day together and we decided to stay in and make dinner at her place, with no real plans after. So when she busted out the guitar and started strumming a Brandi Carlile tune and asked me to sing along, I fell even harder than I had before.

Your turn! We promise we won’t tell your ex-girlfriend you’re talking about her — or your current girlfriend that you’re talking about your ex.

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