Where Did The Romance Go?

I am a hopeless romantic. Always have been. Love stories bring tears to my eyes. I have often been accused of being naïve about love and relationships but I really cannot help myself. I grew up reading and watching fairytale stories which probably influenced my disposition to all matters romance. Back then, romance novels like Mills & Boon were the hottest reads, literally and figuratively. Predictably, there was always a tall dark handsome character who would sweep a fair lady off her feet and they would live happily ever after. The End.

Then I grew up and learnt the hard way that life and love are often a very far cry from romance novels and movies. This notwithstanding, I have fond memories of how romance used to be a decade or more ago. Those were the days when a guy made the first move while you waited patiently. It was virtually unheard of to chase after a guy – those ladies who did were considered cheap and desperate. And even when the guy made his move you made him wait, kept him guessing. It was like a game of wits, tingling with anticipation of the next move and dizzying heights of excitement.

Dating was special. Lunch dates to start with and when things got more serious, dinner and a movie. If a guy took you for a movie, you knew for sure he wanted to kiss you so we never bothered suggesting movies that we actually wanted to watch. Once the lights dimmed, he would hold your hand and you would wait eagerly to start making out. Sex was a different story all together since most ladies did not want to gain a reputation and made guys wait ages before giving in.

Fast forward to present day. You meet a guy, let’s say in a bar. He buys you a drink then comes over to join your table. Buys you another couple of drinks (if you are lucky). As the night winds down, he confidently asks “Your place or mine?” It’s no longer strange to sleep with someone the very same day that you met which still shocks me to this day. In some clubs I hear you can actually close the deal in the car park and then go back to the club and start over with someone else.

If your standards are higher then you will probably keep the guy guessing for a while longer. Give him your number and ask him to call you. Which is another strange thing. Technology has seriously dealt romance a fatal blow. I truly respect guys who actually call as opposed to chatting which is now the in thing. Writing will never compare to spoken word; the tone, pitch, intonation of words can tell you so much about a person which completely gets lost when quickly typed out in a short message.

So let’s say the guy calls you (or chats you up) then you might actually go on a second date. Which might be in a nice restaurant or more likely a sports bar on match night. The current version of dating has little to do with actually getting to know each other and more to do with just hanging out and having a good time. Often in the company of other friends. That’s what we now call dating. If you are lucky to get this far, usually the next logical step is moving in together. Marriage might be in the cards but usually after a few years of seeing if you can stand each other. I know couples who have children but have never officially gotten married.

Actually marriage is now thought to be over rated. With the rising cases of divorce, it’s also an endangered institution. Even those within marriages now believe it’s acceptable to create their own rules and it’s not uncommon to have a couple having an open marriage.  This is where each partner is allowed to sleep openly with other people. Which makes me wonder why they bothered to get married in the first place.

In my opinion people have become increasingly selfish, with a “what’s in it for me” mentality. Most people will get into a relationship or marriage for what they believe they will gain from it.  Once the relationship ceases to provide what they need, it’s time to move on. Love and romance have been eroded by materialism and entitlement.

Romance as we used to know it is now extinct.

This article first appeared in the February issue of Sage magazine. All rights reserved. Please indicate the source when quoting this article.

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