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Irvine511 01-28-2005 07:41 AM

had enough of romantic love?
next week begins the dreaded month of february. for those of us in the northeast, it means 6 more weeks of cold and snow, 6 more weeks of darkness, the Holidays are far behind us, and no vacation days (excluding president's day) until Memorial Day. February is also home to that pernicious, Hallmark Holiday we call Valentine's Day. with all this in mind, i pose this question to the FYM: is romance a hoax?

does it really exist, or do we try to will it into existence because we are saturated with tales of love and romance in everything from Friends to Usher to Jane Austin.

here's a hypothesis: romantic love is a secular cult.

as almost anyon before the 19th century would have told you: the concept is a crock.

Aristotle, paraphrased: it's a benighted attempt to found friendship on beauty.

Montaigne: "impetuous and fickle, a feverish flame."

Shakespeare: "Romeo and Juliet," begins with Romeo's obsessive infatuation withRosalind; then Romeo meets Juliet, and Rosalind isn't even worth an email. Love is like that, Shakespeare seems to imply. It comes; it goes. If taken too seriously, it kills.

let's then compare romantic love with true friendship or parent-child love -- the comparison renders romance a joke of a feeling. yet this joke, as Celine Dion and Josh Grobin tell us, is the secret to happiness.

let's look at societal changes. greater sex equality has (mostly) discredited the idea that no woman is complete without a man. Clinton had a marriage that, whatever else it was founded on, had little to do with romance.

but still, romance is relentlessly sold to us. Britney clones go on dates in kindergarten. boy bands parade as romantic fantasies for a new generation of screaming girls. the political quest for equal marriage rights for homosexuals merges into a cultural campaign for gay romance. the essence of romantic love is not the company of a lover but the pursuit of one. all anticipation, no delivery. the disappointment of having waited 16 years for a new Star Wars movie that turns out to be "The Phantom Menace."

maybe these mixed messages -- mixed messages in American culture! shocking, i know -- have something to do with our divorce rate: excessive expectations, driven by popular culture.

yes, i'm sure for a lucky few, infatuation sometimes does lead to lasting love, and love to family, and family to all the other virtues our preachers and politicians regularly celebrate. For many others, relationships are useful economic bargains and, hopefully, successful sexual transactions, and this tyranny of romantic expectations engenders not warm fuzzy feelings on Valentines Day, but depression, maybe jealousy, loneliness, and a sense of failure at something apparently very important.

the love celebrated on Valentine's Day conquers nothing. it contains neither the friendship nor civility that makes marriage successful. it's a drug -- requiring new infusions to sustain the high. it prettifies sex, but doesn't remove sex's danger or lust. and by elevating it to a personal panacea, we suffer the permanent disappointment of unmet expectations.

let's celebrate, instead of romance, the affection, caring, friendship, the small favors of a husband for a wife, and vice versa, after 30 years of marriage. by knocking romance off its Hallmark pedestal, we might go some small way to restoring the importance and dignity of these less glamorous but more fulfilling relationships.

Noel Coward: "If love were all, I should be lonely."

or maybe i'm pissed that i'm single this February.

Angela Harlem 01-28-2005 07:47 AM

If you really want to know if it exists, find what you think it is and then lose it. There's your answer.

ahmedadam 01-28-2005 07:48 AM

I have been said not to be romantic by the women of my life in the years. I do not think I understand romance or at least I do not like to give a red rose and eat with candle under a star sky for love to be on the table. I love to be in love and yearn to be loved but for the real not for the tiny moments. Also though i need to be sexed.

Your writings are very thoughful and interesting Irvine511 and I am not sure what is the connection between the sex and the love. Maybe there is no natural connection. You can love without sex and sex without love.

Angela Harlem 01-28-2005 07:49 AM

Dont mind my bitterness either, sorry :wink:

lauren430 01-28-2005 07:52 AM

I used to think it existed and everyone would have it, but yeah, I was wrong :|

Irvine511 01-28-2005 07:53 AM


Originally posted by Angela Harlem
Dont mind my bitterness either, sorry :wink:

this thread might just be the place for the bitter.

i have two sources of bitterness -- one moved to Florida, the other was a swarthy venezuelan with big-time mother issues who became too much to handle.

melon 01-28-2005 07:54 AM

I'm very much in love right now, so I do think that "romantic love" is possible, while still being realistic. But I will admit that it can be difficult to find, if you aren't in the right mindset.

I think the biggest obstacle to maintaining those feelings is how people perceive reality. A lot of people think a relationship is getting a lot of material presents, and (at least as portrayed in media with women) if the boyfriend doesn't buy "the right gift" the girl gets all pissy. Then, she wants thousands of dollars spent on a wedding so she can be a "princess."

What does any of this materialism have to do with love? If it were really about love, the women in media should be happy with a $5 wedding, if that's all they could reasonably afford.

Romance isn't a hoax; I just wonder how many people know what it truly is.


Dreadsox 01-28-2005 07:56 AM

I married the right woman.....I just keep tying a bow to myself every Valentines Day and say honey.....

here I am


Angela Harlem 01-28-2005 08:00 AM

Geez Dread, how could she say no?

Venezuelan with mother issues? :lol: You poor thing :hug:

FYM doesn't need to hear my bitterness :D I'll spare youse all.

Dreadsox 01-28-2005 08:03 AM


Originally posted by Angela Harlem
Geez Dread, how could she say no?

She couldn't that is why she married me tiwce!!!!!:wink:

Irvine511 01-28-2005 08:04 AM


Originally posted by Angela Harlem
Venezuelan with mother issues? :lol: You poor thing :hug:

funny story: his mother had recently moved from Caracas to St. Petersburg, FL. every Sunday morning, she would go to a big, predominantly African-American Baptist church (even though she was Catholic) to hear the gospel music. every single sunday, the answering machine would pick up a phone call from his mother -- we'd get a blast of gospel music because she was holding the phone aloft in church, clapping and singing along.

ah, memories. funny, yet sad.

nbcrusader 01-28-2005 08:24 AM

I'd say romantic love is the result of agape and eros love.

Salome 01-28-2005 08:51 AM

I think the only reason for romantic love is because it makes 2 people feel good about themselves
which is very excellent really

MrsSpringsteen 01-28-2005 09:55 AM

I don't think romance has anything to do w/ grand gestures. The most romantic thing a guy ever did for me was get me an autograph of a basketball player. It was just so sweet and unexpected, and thoughtful. I had a real crush on this guy and maybe he liked me too, but nothing ever came of it. See, I've lead a very exciting romantic life :wink:

I think romance is all about little things that really aren't so little, and about someone truly accepting you for who you are. But I know nothing about it anyway :shrug:

I'd rather have true friendship w/ a guy than romance, not that those are mutually exclusive

I do think peoples' expectations are so unrealistic. It's like that line "you complete me" I think ultimately we all have to complete ourselves and not expect that from someone else.

verte76 01-28-2005 10:28 AM

My last relationship was a disaster. The guy was trying to pressure me into marriage when he barely knew me. He was a drunk and verbally abusive and would never admit to any mistakes. Now I'm afraid of a relationship, so yeah, I've had enough of "romance".

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