is romance dead?

Deceiving others. That is what the world calls a romance” – Oscar Wilde

I grew up believing that girls should sit with their legs crossed, politely ask to “excuse” themselves, and never EVER burp. Girls are supposed to be elusive and mysterious because, as Peter Andre so eloquently put it (oh oh oh mysterious girl, I want to get close to you), men like mysterious girls.

As a generation, we are much more straight-talking than our parents and grandparents ever were; the unmentionables in society twenty years ago are now common place in conversation. We talk about our problems and our medical histories; we’ll candidly discuss sex, love, and even the inner workings of our digestive systems. However, I am a firm believer that there are certain things you should never share and that with certain people you should share even less… When it comes to relationships, some things should stay mysterious.

My love of books and romcoms has only perpetuated my belief that in relationships you should be spared the unsavoury details. My housemates’ collective assortment of DVDs all have the same conclusion; boys always wear Calvin Klein boxers and smell forever fragrant, whilst girls wake up with a full face of makeup and perfectly blow dried hair. These rose-tinted, butterflies-in-your-stomach moments have cemented (in my mind at least) what romance should aspire to be. Plenty of my friends have refused to take their makeup off for months at the beginning of a new relationship, trying to preserve the image of their feminine perfection. Of course we all relax as relationships progress, but why do we purposefully ruin the illusion?

Those of you who are familiar with BBC3’s Him and Her will understand what has prompted me to write this post. Unashamedly called an “unromantic comedy” and described by the British Comedy Guide as a “forensically honest…comedy about what really goes on behind the bedroom doors of today’s 20-somethings”, Him and Her portrays a relationship proud of its imperfections. Becky and Steve’s relationship centres around their unmade bed where they eat, have sex, and fart in front of each other. I won’t deny that the frank portrayal of a relationship free of pretence is funny, but it is at times stomach turning (and this time not in a good way)

When Steve declares his love for Becky over an unflushed toilet, is it even romantic? Could that situation ever be? I think not. Maybe Him and Her does actually paint a more realistic picture of our relationships (Men don’t always change their pants and our hair, shock horror, does get greasy) but is their attitude really the grubby fate of all modern sexual relationships? Because I’m not seized by desire when I hear a man fart, and I certainly wouldn’t expect a man to fancy me while I was sat on the loo with the door open.

Some people might argue that it’s healthier for us to watch more realistic relationships…but I disagree. If all our relationships are doomed to this unpleasantness, then why portray it on TV too? I’d rather BBC3 just kept up the illusion and let me pretend.

Published on http://www.razzmag.wordpress.com on November 16th 2010.

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