Imagine it’s a sunny afternoon. Juliet is sprawled across her bed browsing through Tinder because she has nothing better to do; she spots a profile that seems to look interesting but changes her mind in 1/100th of a second. “Romeo. I looketh for someone I can haveth fun with ;),” the bio reads. Swipe left.
Well, that’s pretty much what “romance” in the 21st century has degenerated down to. A simple swipe of your phone can make or break your love life for good. A misspelled word, a filter too bright or an emoji too many, and you’re branded a certain type on the internet and whatever chances you might have had with the person you fancied are probably flushed down the proverbial toilet!
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Gone are the days when romancing was an art form that required patience, practice, and perseverance; when romance meant something more than just sex and instant gratification, and validation from another human being. Romance required the use of your intellect and word, the ability to hold conversations, charm, and a genuineness of feeling. Not to sound like a cynic, but the 21st century might just have killed romance the way it used to be. The ancient, elegant, and subtle concept of courtship has now been replaced by a more superficial and shallow procedure. We’re all too busy to properly to get to know the other person before we jump to conclusions about them.
Suggested read: What is romance to a woman?
The illusion of technology
In a world of seven billion living, breathing, moving human beings, it’s not much of a surprise that the process of finding the One needs some streamlining. What this has led to, is the categorization of people into certain “types”. These “types” are mostly based on the individual’s interests, occupation, hobbies, family background, etc., an elaborate and sufficiently scientific algorithm guaranteed to provide you with desirable results. All the multifarious, chaotic, dynamic, ever-evolving aspects of romance brought down to one simple equation. If only finding true love was that easy!
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What this algorithm does guarantee is the fact that you will most definitely find not one, but several individuals who will basically be a mirror image of in terms of interests and basic opinions. But what you probably won’t find is a person you can truly connect with in spite of not having the same list of favorite movies, or no mutual friends with. Just because you think their Facebook profile is cool doesn’t necessarily mean it will translate to your opinion about the kind of person they are in reality.
Ostentation is the word of the day
We all know how materialistic we’re all becoming with each passing day. To land an ideal romantic partner, you need to show why you are deserving of such an incredible person. We spend tons of money after material items, in the hopes of upping our “game”. Yes, romance these days is but a game we all compete in. You must put your best foot forward if you wish to win the best item of the lot.
We’re too busy showing off how attractive and accomplished and amazing we are; no opportunity for letting people know about our achievements should be missed. This tendency to be ostentatious in everything we do possibly stems from the acute inferiority complex most of us harbor; the feeling of not being good or worthy enough for a partner, and the fear of remaining single while the rest of them out there are grouped into happy couples.
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Romance is not about winning the heart of the person you fancy; now, it’s more about the race to grab the finest piece; to beat everyone to it and stand victorious. A Hunger Games of Hearts of sorts, if you will. As if running in the rat race of our academic and/or professional lives wasn’t enough, this competitive disposition has plagued the romantic spheres of our lives as well.
Our romantic partners are a means of showing off as well, and of course we’d want the best, most successful, most physically appealing, and overall perfect one out of the lot. This leads us to resort to unscrupulous means in order to accomplish the said end. A suitable romantic partner is not the end in itself; rather it is now merely a means in order to establish and project our best image to the public. But at what cost, really?
Suggested read: In search of the promise of love…
No room for compromise
As is the case in every relationship, tough times follow once the honeymoon phase of the relationship fizzles out. That is when the real trial begins, and most of us are failing to come out on the other side victorious and more in love. Romance isn’t all about grand gestures of affection and fancy dinners and well planned dates; it’s also about acceptance, compromise, being comfortable in your own skins, and having an unspoken, unshakable understanding between the two of you.
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The reason why most of us are failing to find the people who make us want to accept and understand them, is because we’re all in a hurry to just have someone to call ours without them even being ours in the truest sense of the term. Being single is so pathetic and sad and stupid; that’s what we all feel deep down within us, and hence the utter haste with which we get into relationships. While a casual fling works out well for most people when both are on the same page, but the very task of being on the same page becomes an uphill battle whenever things turn even a tad bit serious.
We’re too preoccupied by our own selfish interests to even consider those of the other person; people tend to take the whole “love yourself” angle in a completely different and incorrect connotation. ‘Love yourself’ has become a free pass for narcissism to explode everywhere you look; but what we don’t understand is that there’s a very fine line between narcissism and loving yourself as you are.
Who are you really?
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Like I’ve said before, we’re constantly putting our best foot forward; which, of course, is a good thing; but in the quest for presenting our most likeable selves, we’re losing who we truly are. Don’t send that extra text telling them how much you had fun at the date, you’ll come off as too clingy and desperate. Post a selfie to show off your appealing physicality but not one too many or you’ll be perceived as a narcissist. You can’t be too feminine, or too masculine; tomboys are cool, effeminate men aren’t. You have to be a nerd but just enough to not be labeled one. One slip-up and you’re doomed for the rest of your life.
When it comes to an individual’s personality in the modern society, it’s almost like an ice cream parlor. Yes, there are some amazing flavors, but your choices are limited to whatever is included on the menu. You can’t pick one flavor if you’ve already chosen something else for yourself, and you’ll be labeled only after the flavor that you’ve been forcefully made to choose, even if you actual prefer something else. When we can’t even accept our own selves and acknowledge the faults and tiny cracks in our souls that make us who are, how do we even begin to embrace another person with all their baggage and insecurities and dreams and nightmares alike?
Suggested read: Why you need to dump romance to have a happy marriage
What happens to Romance now? Romance is DEAD?
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Well, after almost arriving at the conclusion of this article, would you consider the possibility that romance is dead? Is there any hope for this wonderful phenomenon that has long been the most favored and loved subject of almost all artists in every age of civilization? I believe that as long as humanity exists, romance won’t really be dead. Some of us out there have still managed to hold on to that predisposed human tendency to love, to accept other compatible human beings as their own.
Somewhere in an alleyway deep within us, is that caged bird that longs to be free and someday someone will come along who’ll pry open that cage and set the bird soaring high. We’ve just got to keep our eyes open and practice the virtue of patience. It’s okay to wait for the right person to come along and jump in with the next person you come across. It’s okay to be your quirky, slightly clumsy and awkward self. You were meant for things greater than impressing mere mortal souls who wouldn’t even be able to appreciate and adapt with the person you truly are and help you blossom further. All you need is a little bit of hope. Romance is dead – NOT!
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