Just like the word "spa" is misused and appropriated for everything from nail salons to doggy day-care establishments, romance also describes plenty of non-romantic thing.
Some will speak fondly of the romantic glory days of Islam. or reflect on other bizarrely unrelated issues to romance. Flowery language that is more of a fantasy than reality, such as those romanticizing about Osama Bin Laden or other historical mass murderers, has been described when these individuals have gone on their terror quests to subjugate everyone that wasn't a Muslim, an Aryan or other romantic idea.
That is some powerful imagery and writing that was done by one fellow who covered the raid on Bin Laden's compound in Pakistan (so says journalist Mark Bowden, author of a book on the killing of Bin Laden). The use of the word "Romantic" was used as a descriptor for the vision that these terrorists had as they unleashed their death and destruction on the world. It is also true for so many other followers is disturbed individuals and reflects the misuse of the word romantic.
What the world seems to mix-up, is that romance is meant for couples, for literature, history or other impactful thoughts, realities and ideas. Yet, it so often get's co-opeted to describe horrific events, people and organizations. Why does this often happen, instead of describing a gift, place or dating experience? It seems that reflecting on a situation, following or other passion inducing organization, an individual can actual feel romantic about it. When we consider how a persons emotions are impacted by their own thoughts, they can and often do become comfortable and even satisfied by their feelings. This self-fulfilling emotional support feeds on itself and allows the individual to become that much more emboldened by the romantic feeling. This state of hypnosis-like romantic belief is what causes some people to blindly follow certain leaders to their deaths, just like those who've committed heinous crimes like the Manson murders and so many others.
So why then are these people and historical events described as romantic? It is in the dual definition of the word that can suggest physical, intimate and relationship romance, or reflective thoughtful impressions and feelings that provide comfort, support and a positive attitude toward something, despite the actual reality being very different.
How is it possible to have such a different view of what romance is? Simply, it is the context to which people consider what they are reflective about. In fact, a person can be having a romantic evening, while being romantic about something that is completely un-romantic. It is that persons perception of what they are considering rather than what the true reality is. Does it make them less romantic? Not particularly, since what one person perceives as romantic, another may consider truly repugnant. These are the vagaries of humanity. Of course there are excepted norms that the majority of people would follow and that is true for almost 85% of people. It is unfortunately those 15% of people that consider horrific and terrible events to be romantic, that can give romance a bad nam