Do You Consider Yourself Romantic?

By: Jen Shoop

The other day, I listened to Gwyneth Paltrow’s interview with Kim Kardashian on her Goop podcast. It was interesting to hear these two cultural forces in conversation with one another. I found myself reflecting on Gwyneth’s observation that Kim operates as multiple “archetypes” at once, whereas, socially, we tend to prefer to categorize people in one column at a time — e.g., the maternal archetype, the intellectual, the sexual, the business-minded, etc. — which has often led to backlash and belittlement for Kim. I wondered whether Gwyneth felt the same way about herself? Has she encountered difficulty or denigration maneuvering from the Hollywood Golden Girl to the Mindfulness Master she has become? She seems to me to have a much finer-honed, more straight-forward presentation than Kim, which makes her a bit easier to digest. My head spins a little bit when I think about all of the businesses and projects the Kardashian Empire undertakes — it is all related in some sense (fashion, beauty, wellness), but it’s staggering, and difficult to shore up with the entertaining but admittedly aloof celebrity personas they cultivate on their shows, alongside their highly sexualized iconographies elsewhere. Meanwhile, I see Gwyneth mainly as a wellness guru and business mogul. But she does (and has done) so many things, too! She is an Academy-award-winning actress, a passionate home cook/foodie, a style icon, a singer, owner of a business with multiple product lines, a mother, a wife, an influencer, a wellness guru, a podcast host–! Of all the things, though, I consistently marvel at her finesse as an interviewer. She seems totally natural and unrehearsed, yet her questions are so well-put, her phrasing perfectly tuned. As an example, in the interview with Kim, Kim is commenting that she’s “always in a good place,” e.g., she accepts what’s happening as what’s meant to be, and Gwyneth replies unflinchingly: “Yes, you always do seem sanguine.” When was the last time you heard someone use “sanguine” so fluidly?! I know Gwyneth and Kim are polarizing figures, and I don’t know that I fully embrace their values and/or the stakes with which they are playing in their respective pursuits, but still I respect anyone who stands out there in the arena and does something really well.

Anyhow, at one point in the conversation, Gwyneth describes Kim as “a romantic” and then identifies herself the same way (“I am such a romantic, too”). I found the portraiture funny — are there people who identify as unromantic? I certainly have friends in my life who are more on the all-business, to-the-point, no-mincing-words side of the spectrum, but I’ve also watched many of them fall in love and get married. They’ve never opened their hearts about these experiences but I catch glimpses of the tenderness beneath. For example, we are friends with a couple who — while wildly fun to have cocktails with and delightful companions in general — are fairly stiff-upper-lip on the emotional front. Still, the romantics in them slip out in some of the stories they’ve shared, in which, for example, the husband spent the night in airport so his wife could take the last seat on a plane to get to her sister’s wedding. Or the way the wife carefully and intricately checks her husband’s social calendar and priorities before committing to something. She does it endearingly: “Oh, we’d love to, but I need to check because he had mentioned something about xyz and I know it matters so much to him to make that a priority.” These details are not, to me, the buttresses of standard friendship, or companionship, or even family. They bear the moon luster of romance.

I mean, I guess what I’m saying: aren’t we all romantics?

Perhaps sometimes we mistake romance in its forms. It’s not always dramatic kisses on train platforms or elaborate professions of adoration.

What would you say to this:

Every other morning, I go running. On those mornings, I return to the house and find that Mr. Magpie has placed my coffee mug on the counter and filled it with boiling hot water so that it is pre-warmed whenever I am ready to fill it.

Is there any way to receive that generosity unromantically?


+Olivia Wilde + the celebrity discourse.

+The best book I’ve read in awhile. I’m elbowing my way through Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell right now. I loved her previous book, but this one is a struggle.

+What would you study if you were going back to school tomorrow?

Shopping Break.

+Love ecru jeans for this in-between season.

+I am so incredibly pale right now, I’m determined to find a self-tanner for my body. I feel like I’ve polled you all many times for help on this front but keep shying away once I have the intel because I’m scared – ha! I don’t want to look orange and I also don’t want to smell. Is there any product that delivers?! I’ve heard good things about St. Tropez mousse, SaltyFace, and Isle of Paradise. I know enough to know I need a mitt to help with application but…help! Need some recs!

+Adore this $50 white eyelet skirt.

+Pottery Barn has some really great storage solutions for small spaces. Like, these would be a great way to add hanging space to a small nook in a home. I’m thinking back to our NYC days and I would have loved to install this along the back wall of our closet!

+Two really pretty white tops to pair with jeans: this Xirena (which I just received in the mail — super, super soft; I want to live in it) and this Figue.

+I’m not usually a denim shorts girl but I do kind of love the idea of tucking the Xirena top into these.

+Love this dress.

+I feel like this doesn’t look like much on the website, but this gauze dress would be a workhorse come summer. Great as a cover-up / beach / relaxing at home. I love this gauze pieces — so soft and easy to wear. The same brand also carries a great striped gauze button-down.

+Chic summer caftan.

+Adore this classic pedestal bowl for holding citrus/fruit on a counter.

+Really love the latest spring collection at Minnow. Planning on buying mini one of these terry dresses. Can’t decide which color!

+Mamas with little girls: rejoice in this sweet diaper set! TOO cute. Imagine it while she’s pulling this little duck along.

+Love this chic dress for my tennis/golf ladies.

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13 thoughts on “Do You Consider Yourself Romantic?

  1. Hi! I am the world’s worst self tanner and these two products are my absolute favorites.
    1) St. Tropez Face Mist – smells and feels heavenly and it gives the best glow!
    2) for the body – Tan Luxe The Butter or The Lotion – no streaks or smell and it doesn’t feel sticky on the skin.

    1. Ahhh Katie! I am now torn between Jergens, St. Tropez, Isle of Paradise, Tan Luxe. These seem to be the four MANY of you are raving about here and via DM. Maybe I should order them all and try.


  2. Hmm, interesting. I haven’t heard this particular podcast, so I may be off, but oftentimes I find that people say they are “romantic” in the sense that they have experienced a rough road in their love lives, but are still hopeful. That is, despite their setbacks/failed relationships, they’re still “out there” looking for love and hoping to find it? Sort of the paradigmatic “hopeful romantic.” IMO, romantic is certainly displayed in your husband’s thoughtfulness with your coffee cup. But I would say being “A” romantic is different than being “romantic” but oftentimes the two are conflated, especially in the syntax of spoken language.

    1. This is a good and helpful disambiguation. In the podcast, they’re speaking rather pointedly about finding romantic love / falling in love / having flirtations / etc. I guess I believe myself to be both romantic AND a romantic. Maybe not all people are the same way!


  3. I’m so glad I follow you since I can’t keep up with everything! Gwennie & Kimmie. Didn’t see that coupling happening. Hmmmmm. I don’t find either one of them romantic. I don’t trust Kim. And Gwennie, I dunno, I’d wanna sit next to her first hubby Chris Martin at a dinner party, not her. You’ve made me curious to listen to a little bit of it, though. I love what your hubby does for you after your run. So sweet & thoughtful. And all day you can remember his kindness. One of the first acts of love is to pay attention. Have a wonderful day…

    1. So interesting! It might be intriguing for you to listen to a bit…or it might turn you off further!

      I agree, my husband’s generosity sticks with me all day long!

      Have a great day, Mary!


  4. echoing the same – isle of paradise mist! I spritz across my face at night, sometimes before moisturizer (if I remember), sometimes on top – I find more saturation with applying it before any moisturizer, oils, etc. at night. sometimes I spritz an even layer (3-4 sprays dashed around?) and call it a day, sometimes I wait 30 seconds and lightly buff the edges of my face/nose and eyebrow areas with an old makeup brush to blend and avoid any pockets of random droplet saturation, though that rarely happens. I try and avoid any actives the night of/morning after, so the color isn’t sloughed off, but maybe I overthink that part!

    I used to use the isle of paradise drops (mixed in with moisturizer) but found it more burdensome to smoosh everything together, worry about application, immediately rinse my hands, etc.

    love the tennis dress rec! I’ve been playing more frequently with a new partner and finally debuted a skirt yesterday (those temps!) – a new OV one that is *chefs kiss*. always wish i could don a chic tennis dress, but have never found one that works with my height + long torso/legs. relegated to skirts for now!

    1. editing to add – i only use IOP on my face (critical piece of info, ha!). i use old school jergens on my bod – have never found a reason to stray.

    2. Oo interesting to have two up votes on this! Thanks for detailing your regimen. Does the Jergens smell?


      1. There’s a slight scent upon application, but afterwards I don’t notice anything… I think they’ve improved a lot since the early days.

  5. Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Oil Mist!
    -Little smell, great results!

    This thought about romantic vs logistical interactions in relationships really hit this morning. I find the busier my husband and I get (work, travel, kids, 5am wake ups!!) the less time we have for romantic exchanges. However this past Friday, standing in the freezing rain during my grandmother’s funeral, my husband slipped off his jacket and put it across my shivering shoulders. This romantic gesture, after 15 years of being together, reminded me to slow down and “feel” more rather than simply “do.”

    1. Oh interesting! How do you apply the mist? Like out of shower, use a mitt, or apply and then use lotion??

      And I love this moment you shared — so sweet. He knew what you needed! So sorry to hear of your grandmother’s passing — hang in there. Sending you love!


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