I am not much of a romantic. That’s the story I tell and believe about myself.

It isn’t the whole truth, though. I think of romance and romantics as being enamored of sappy love songs and unrealistic notions of love and partnering.

And I don’t listen to love songs much. For years I would tell people my favorite ‘love’ song is Anita Baker’s “Fairy Tales.”

Cover of "I'm Your Baby Tonight"

Cover of I'm Your Baby Tonight

This past weekend when we all (or at least the we I think of as part of my tribe) were listening to Whitney Houston’s music and mourning her, I remembered when I was a more of a dreamer and fan of certain love songs, including many of Whitney’s songs.

I remember talking to a boy (an older boy!) at a skating rink and hearing a Whitney Houston song play during couples skate. It was the mid-1980s and she was brand new, but I remembered her from one of my teen girl magazines.

There were Whitney songs in high school and through my college years. And I saw her in concert on a date with my future husband in Nashville, Tennessee.

Every song she made wasn’t a favorite of mine, but many were just the pop romantic tunes I needed. I heard “I Will Always Love You” a lot this weekend, but I really loved “So Emotional”, “I’m Your Baby Tonight”, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and “How Will I Know.”

If I feel happy, I am likely to dance at least a little. So a true expression of giddy feelings is a little more upbeat than a ballad for me.

Whitney’s pop love songs captured that bubbly almost silly feeling of young love without the sadness I hear in so many ballads. Her voice in those songs is full of the bright colors that surrounded me in the 80s and the music brings back sweet memories of when I was a little bit of a romantic.