“Romance is dead” one said boldly; another agreed. This was from conversations I had with some of the people closest to me. They argued that men don’t like women and that it is evident in our actions. They said that all the grand gestures we see are really just for the ‘gram. They told me that the art of being a romantic is dead and that all we’re left with is a bunch of fast habits. They told me all these things because they felt that romance was missing in their lives.
“Rape culture comes with romance” I said at some point. The justification for this statement was this: Romance, as it used to be, was mostly guys taking the lead. Essentially rendering the woman as a passenger. She was usually limited to the gents that found her attractive and told to be passive. The guy’s mindset being that he is in control of whether he gets the girl or not means some unethical shit goes unchecked. That and the advent of instantaneous communication means that romance cannot exist as it did in its past life. I see romance, now, as just the courtship phase of any relationship. May start with a swipe on tinder and continue with a few eggplant and peach emojis but it still survives. Our ability to show each other affection hasn’t been negated, just reshaped.
Now this made complete sense to me but only me. The idea that the women’s liberation movement has had an effect on the way people interact romantically was just a ripe off of the butterfly effect. I really thought I was on to something. It was only when I had a conversation with a hopeless romantic that my paradigm finally shifted.
This person told me that romance is anything that shows that you care. Paying attention, in their eyes, was also a form of romance. This conversation really showed me just how naïve I was being. The idea of romance that I held in my mind was really just the shit we see in RomComs. It was a very narrow way of seeing things.
Romance, according to google, is a feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love. That being said, I was right to claim that it sits in the courtship phase but to say that it contributed to rape culture was a reach. What this taught me was that we allow narratives to drive our thinking when we don’t truly understand them. The state of this article should tell you that I’m still not entirely sure of what’s going on in this area. What I do know is this: romance is many things to many people but what it will never be is dead. For as long as we still have romantic relationships, we’ll forever have romance.