I have a confession to make. I am a sucker for romance novels. It might come as a surprise to those who do not know me, and have never been in my house, or been overwhelmed by my ever filling bookcase, but I am. I think is a funny, inexplicable trait in me because I am in general an untrusting, glib, and sarcastic no-bullshit kind of girl, but there is something about true romance that makes my cold heart go gooey. I am not talking about grand gestures and candle light dinners, rose petals in bed (who is going to clean that shit after?!) and big movie proposals. I am talking about true romance. About the true meaning behind holding a hand, yearning that unreachable someone you think you can’t have. Covert glances, whispered confessions, secret rendezvous, and such. I am talking about Mr. Darcy & Lizzy, Mr. Rochester and Jane, Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth, Catherine and Heathcliff, Wall-e & Eve.
Whatever happened to that kind of romance? Did we all grow bitter and cynic? Whatever happened with writing sonnets and dueling at dawn for a lady’s honors? Whatever happened with slaying dragons and… okay I might be getting carried away but there is something so sweet in the innocent, all-abiding, all-consuming and inevitably tragedy of love stories of before.
I was doing my hair this morning while watching Reba reruns (don’t judge) and a Tresor commercial came on with Kate Winslet in all her Oscar performance glory running across a bridge to reach her love. The misty veil in which the commercial was shot gives you a hint of separated lovers, through hardship or simply a long commute one does not know, but when they hug and you see the blissful look on her face you cannot help but assume they have been reunited after a tragic something. There is no way that it is just a hug of “this was a long weekend”, it was a “we are finally together” hug.
I am a sucker for romance because I can’t wear perfume without having a head-splitting allergy attack and I was ready to go buy the damn thing!
It’s romance, only romantic when tragedy, difficulty and peril plague it? Is it only when couples have to overcome something that we find ourselves sighing? Lizzy and Darcy had to fight their prejudice and pride, Jane and Mr. Rochester his betrayal and his insane wife, Anne and Captain Wentworth the distance that almost 10 years had forged between them, Catherine and Heathcliff the sick tendencies of their personalities and death, Wall-e and Eve had to fight 700 years of technological evolution.
Have we been programmed and taught to believe that only difficulties can make a romance romantic? There is something to be said of struggle that makes everything after accomplished taste sweeter, or is it just the thrill of the chase? Is it simply a brain induced pleasure after deprivation? God knows a piece of chocolate tastes sinfully better if I haven’t had some for a while.
If that is the case then are we fooling ourselves into falling out of love simply because we have a comfortable, pleasant romance instead of a movie, tragic, dramatic one? Is overcoming the impossible necessary to have a fairy tale romance? Have we been brainwashed into thinking that struggle is the only way a love can be romantic?
Or is it simply that life has become so easy, generally speaking, that nothing can get between two lovers? Before there was social convention, war, famine, social stature, disease, long distances, race, gender, everything to get between two lovers. Life is so easy now that nothing tests love anymore. Before people pined for weeks waiting for a letter that would hold a precious lock of hair in its folds and would be kept close to the heart to be read, perused and wallowed over while wasting away with lovesickness. Now we text, shoot an email, call.
Is that a good thing? Did marriage last longer before when the possibility of tragedy was ever looming? Are we so used to everything being so easy that we get bored? Are we missing something? Are we lacking that bittersweet pleasure of loving at a distance? Or are we better as is, enjoying, gorging on the person we love without fear of anything?
I rather enjoy Dear Husband to the fullest without drama, without tragedy, without anything tearing us apart. That said I will keep being a sucker for romance, shed a few tears for those tormented separated souls…and sigh.