Is romance dead?
Some would say that it is completely dead and buried. Our tech-obsessed, sex-crazed, distracted, stressed out and self-absorbed culture might be to blame. Or is it? A very wise man once said, “Your past may explain you, but it does not excuse you.” In this case, I say, “Your culture may explain you, but it does not excuse you.”
Before we can truly ponder the question and answer to this dilemma, we must first understand what romance is. We must open ourselves up to the idea that we have strayed from the essential romantic path that leads to a life of true, honorable, and lasting love.
Merriam-Webster defines romance as a medieval tale based on legend, chivalric love, and adventure, or the supernatural; a prose narrative treating imaginary characters involved in events remote in time or place and usually heroic, adventurous, or mysterious; a love story especially in the form of a novel and something (as an extravagant story or account) that lacks basis in fact. Lastly, it defines it as an emotional attraction or aura belonging to an especially heroic era, adventure, or activity.
When we ask our friends, “What is romance?” We tend to get a totally different variety of ideas. Most people think of what I consider acts or expressions of love versus a literary or historical ideal. Things like sending roses, writing a lover’s poem or song, surprising gifts, extravagant or well-planned experiences, etc. often top the list of answers given. What if we consider the notion that true and lasting romance (the kind that real life love stories are made of) is a combination of both Merriam-Webster’s definition and our collective ideas of love?
Many of us long for romance now more than ever. The disconnected way in which we do life and the prevalence of casual sex without emotional connection have left us increasingly lonely and longing. There are more people turning to alternative solutions (like pornography, romance novels, manufactured vaginas and dildos, and high-tech virtual aka “video game” sex) for their “love fix” than any other time in history. Much of this may be due to an ease of accessibility, but what if we are actually sabotaging ourselves by forfeiting the basics? By forfeiting things like human connection, respect, virtue, honesty, chastity, and the like.
How do we begin to combat this epidemic and return to REAL romance? First, let’s dive deeper into the definition. Chivalry has long been viewed as an essential component of romance, but I believe that we have lost an understanding and appreciation for it all together (to the point that young men don’t know how to treat a lady and young ladies don’t know how they should be treated). Chivalry was a high example for us all that fell onto the ash heap of history somewhere along the way. Courteous behavior, especially that of a man towards a woman was once the norm. Many men were truly chivalrous in their relations with women. They were models of gentlemanliness, gallantry, courtesy, politeness, graciousness, and restraint. To be otherwise in dealing with a lady, one would be shunned and labeled a classless brut. However, men are increasingly seeing women primarily as sexual objects and treating them with little to no respect whatsoever.
Ladies, the weight of responsibility in all of this does not rest on men alone. We too have changed our modus operandi over the course of time. We have lost our appreciation for femininity, mystery, and (dare I say) inherent nobility which lends itself to self-respect. Along the way we were told that we must be like a man to gain respect, but what if we were being fed a lie? What if “respect” was peddled to us as a guise for rebellion and dominance? What if that female dominance was the very thing that robbed us of chivalry? And what if the lack of chivalry robbed us of romance? And what if the absence of romance robbed us of our true tales of life-long love?
I’m reminded of the classic and great song chorus by The Fixx, “One Thing Leads to Another.” May we reconsider what our choices are leading us to. May we revisit the qualities that created countless life-long love stories that fill the pages of history. Stories that are not mere literary imaginations of fantasy and legend. They are real and not just a thing of the past. They exist today, and we hold the power of choice to make them our reality for the future if we choose to put down our hand-held devices (phones, tablets, and even sex toys) to reconnect with the humanity around us. Take time to honor and respect, know and become known. Be trustworthy so that your life-long love can give themselves to you with reckless abandon, nothing held back in safe keeping because you are worthy of their all, their most precious self, their true essence and their love…for a lifetime.
So, “Is romance dead?” I say, "Not if you CHOOSE to keep it alive and FIGHT for it."
Copyright ©2016 by Ronilynn Brissey-Ramos