“Romance is dead” is an expression thrown around a lot, and I’m not here to say I agree with it but I can’t seem to shake the feeling that perhaps that statement has some truth. Why the question of romance is one of importance to me at all is an entirely different matter. Though at least I’m not alone, the whole world seems plagued with thoughts of it, at least to some extent: What it is, why it’s there, why it’s absent, where it can be found and so on and so on.
Upon one of many viewings of my favourite film, ‘Before Sunrise’, I couldn’t help but feel a little more melancholy about what I was watching than usual. For those who haven’t had the fortune of seeing it, it’s a beautiful film and usually leaves me feeling more positive than not. On the whole, I’m happy for the characters, if not a little envious of their perfect, albeit fictional, night.
Tonight, however, I just felt sad. Watching the events that I long to happen to me unfold made the realisation that they’ll never happen even more painful. Of course I’m aware that films, books and the like are enhanced and will never really happen to anyone, but usually you can imagine aspects of the story occurring in reality. For example, sure I probably won’t meet someone as gorgeous as Ethan Hawke on a train and he probably won’t invite me to get off and spend the night in Vienna with him, but hey I might at least meet a cute guy who wants to hang out with me. Well, the prospects of that happening are seeming less and less likely, and not in a “forever alone” kind of way either.
Perhaps I’m cynical, but honestly I do try not to be, this just feels realistic. Think about how people meet these days; Through friends, on tinder, drunk at a club. Do people of my age bracket ever approach someone they think might be nice? No. Will these people grow up and become confident and begin introducing themselves to pretty looking strangers? Probably not. I hate to even risk sounding like someone who puts technology and social media down, but they do seem to have replaced the need for a face to face interaction. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve met some great people online, through sites like Twitter and Tumblr, who I really would consider to be my friends. Nevertheless, wouldn’t it be nice to know there’s a chance someone lovely might approach you one day when you least expect it?
I suppose the problem here may be that I’m mistaking romance for spontaneity, but even so, surely the latter makes up the former at least a little? Watching ‘Before Sunrise’ I realised, I’m not sad or fearful that nothing grand will ever happen to me, I’m sad that nothing will happen to me… Or at least it feels that way more often than not.
Despite having had some pleasant encounters in the past, nothing seems to live up to what I’m looking for. One could question, is that a problem with me and my own impossibly high standards? Well no, in fact I resent that idea; I don’t have impossibly high standards, unless of course someone saying ‘hello, how are you?’ or even maybe offering a smile or asking what book I’m reading counts as impossibly high standards. Actually I’m pretty damn sure what I’m looking for ought to be considered a bare minimum as far as romance is concerned.
So yes, I’ve written before about the expectations raised by film and literature, but I can’t discount the problems caused by social media. The lack of communication and general pleasantness towards people who we haven’t at least online stalked, being one. I’ll reiterate my previous point, social media is by no means a bad thing. Nevertheless, I’d like to urge people to let their humanity and feelings coincide with technology. We’re intelligent beings, it’s well within our reach to use online resources to our upmost advantage whilst ensuring we don’t forget to interact with life itself. This extends well beyond the realms of romance too. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to strike up a conversation with that guy or girl waiting at the bus stop wearing a t-shirt with your favourite band on?
Existence can be a terribly lonely thing and I for one don’t want to feel like I can’t communicate with my fellow inhabitants while I’m here.