Are you a hopeless romantic? It’s a very serious condition you know. It can lead to a lot of sleepless nights and broken hearts (not to mention those unsightly bags under the eyes). The key is recognizing it early enough that you can take steps to negate the effects (can you tell I’ve been reading a lot of medical texts?). If you’re not sure whether you are a hopeless romantic or not, consider the following symptoms:

Symptom 1: 

You’ve seriously thought of having your significant other’s name tattooed on some part of your anatomy. After all, what better way to show that you love her than bleeding for her? Hopefully, at some point, sanity prevailed and took that particular idea away. Still, you know you’ve got her favourite flower, quotation, sexual position (hey, there are all kinds of people) commemorated in ink somewhere.

Symptom 2: 

You have a music collection which includes four or more of the following (and may Cupid have mercy on your gullible, ever-loving soul if you actually have all ten):

• Take My Breathe Away – Berlin
• You Say It Best When You Say Nothing At All – Alison Krauss
• The Flame – Cheap Trick
• Breathe – Faith Hill
• When I’m With You – Sheriff
• Show Me Heaven – Maria McKee
• I’ll Stand By You – The Pretenders
• Wonderful Tonight – Eric Clapton
• Have I Told You Lately – Rod Stewart
• Lady In Red – Chris DeBurgh

Yes, I know I left out quite a few. I can think of at least twenty more (and probably have them too), but it’s already too late for me. Run…run while you still can.

Symptom 3: 

You make a valiant attempt at becoming a one woman Encyclopedia, although confined only to entries relating to her. If she’s got a medical condition, your associated knowledge would put most doctors to shame. If she likes Thai food, you practice until anyone would swear that you have a little Asian in you (Hey! Minds out of the gutter people…sigh…that’s what you get for looking at too much Austin Powers).

Symptom 4: 

You strenuously avoid getting a glimpse of any movie even vaguely associated with the term ‘tear jerker’ (especially if other people are involved) and you’ve quite possibly called on one or more of the following excuses:

• Movie theatre popcorn gives me gas (What do you mean don’t eat it? It’s the movies for Heaven’s sake).
• No, I’m not crying. I’ve somehow managed to get the piece of gum that was stuck to my shoe jammed into my left nostril and it’s aggravating my sinuses.
• I’m allergic to anything that does not involve naked women or violence.
• The cat in this movie reminds me too much of Fluffy (who unfortunately was born with one life instead of nine). Just looking at the poster makes me want to call my psychiatrist. Why Fluffy!!!! Why!!!!!!!
• If I wanted to see a pile of crap I could just look at my dog half an hour after feeding time…and for free too (said while marshaling the most righteously indignant look possible).

The fact is that you’re almost certain you’re going to launch into a spontaneous bawling fit and would like to preserve what’s left of your reputation.

Symptom 5: 

You feel the distinct urge to cause large amounts of pain to anyone who even looks at her the wrong way, much less makes her uncomfortable with said look. The only reason you hold back is because you don’t want her to think you’re a raving lunatic. Good thing she can’t read your thoughts about introducing Mr. Crowbar to Mr. Skull. Oops, that’s supposed to be on the “How To Know You Might Be Psychotic” list. Um…okay…how about this? You overdo everything. If she just happens to mention that she likes Vanilla, you’re likely to provide her with:

• Vanilla scented candles
• Vanilla soap/shampoo
• The latest gift set from Vanilla Fields
• Vanilla ice cream
• Vanilla potpourri
• Vanilla body gel
• Vanilla bath salts (providing she has a bathtub)
• Betty Crocker French Vanilla cake
• Why not throw in some Vanilla bean pods?
• And the list goes on.

If you find yourself displaying any of the symptoms listed here, be careful. Hopeless romanticism is a very sneaky condition and it can creep up on you before you even know it’s there. You still have a chance though if you catch it early. If, however, the above symptoms sound as though I’ve been stalking you for the past few months then just resign yourself to your fate. There’s nothing more anyone can do.