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LucyGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 21-Jul-16 18:02:53

They don't make romance like they used to

With the advent of Fifty Shades, smartphones and Tinder, author Andy Jones asks, is romance dead? Or is it just different nowadays? The jury's still out...

Andy Jones

They don't make romance like they used to

Posted on: Thu 21-Jul-16 18:02:53

(43 comments )

Lead photo

Is romance dead?

Let’s say you’re 70 today (happy birthday, by the way), you were born in 1946 and you would have been dating some time in the 1960s. You might have gone to the cinema to see My Fair Lady in 1964; Doctor Zhivago in 1965; Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf in 1966; or, one of my personal favourites, The Graduate in 1967.

By contrast, these are the romantic films on offer in the last couple of years: Fifty Shades of Grey, Trainwreck and a remake of Cinderella.

No wonder they say romance is dead.

The last three decades have brought us some amazing advances: email, smartphones, one-minute rice. But I can't name one truly great romantic movie since When Harry Met Sally. I know there will be a few, but without stopping to really think about it, the best I can come up with is Four Weddings and a Funeral – it's very good, but even this is 20 years old. And, to be honest, I'd rather watch It's a Wonderful Life, The Apartment or Singin' in The Rain.

Have we become less romantic? I don't know, but I do think we've become more distracted. The world is at our fingertips; we're bombarded with messages, clips, tips, offers, options. We can do anything, so feel that we must do it all. We're spoiled for choice, and choice, I think, may be spoiling us.

These new daters have nothing to talk about because they've seen the week's highlights on Facebook or Instagram. They're less likely to watch a big-screen movie about real people with real issues, than a box set about vampires, drug dealers or battling clans. It's not bad, but it ain't romantic.


Go to any bar, restaurant or picnic blanket, and instead of couples staring into each other's eyes, they're more likely to be staring at a phone. These new daters have nothing to talk about because they've seen the week's highlights on Facebook or Instagram. They're less likely to watch a big-screen movie about real people with real issues, than a box set about vampires, drug dealers or battling clans. It's not bad, but it ain't romantic.

So is romance really dead? For my young daughters' sakes I hope not. But it's certainly different. The way people meet, talk, interact is different now. We have different attitudes to sex, fidelity, commitment. Some of this is undoubtedly for the better, some of it, well the jury's out. On Tinder, probably. We should be careful though, when it comes to making judgements on one generation's version of the world. It wasn't so long ago that a flash of ankle was considered obscene, and I'm rather partial to a flash of ankle.

Attitudes to romance may change, but real love is the same now as it's always been. It's hardwired into our hearts. The kids holding hands today will find love in their own sweet way. And when they do, it will knock them off their feet, like it did their mother, their grandfather, their great-great-granny.

In the unlikely event that my daughters ever ask my advice on matters of the heart, I'll tell them to go and rent a movie. And make it an old one.

Andy's book The Trouble With Henry and Zoe is published by Simon and Schuster and is available from Amazon now.

By Andy Jones

Twitter: @andyjonesauthor

vampirequeen Thu 21-Jul-16 18:53:37

We're just coming up to our fifth wedding anniversary. Last night, out of the blue, DH said he'd like to renew our vows. Romance is not dead.

Marmark1 Fri 22-Jul-16 09:00:36

My husbands never been romantic,so it don't apply here.43 years for us,Iv known him for nearly 50 years.

PRINTMISS Fri 22-Jul-16 11:28:32

I don't think my other half even knows the word exists, although at our 50th Wedding Anniversary celebration party he did ask my son in law to put on a tape (he had made himself, so no one knew what it was), rather than him (the o.h.) give a speech, and I sat through the whole version of "You are once twice, three times a lady, etc", with our 50 or so friends joining in.

M0nica Fri 22-Jul-16 11:31:43

Did you see the report of a book buyer who wooed her shy book manager husband on twitter? The wedding photographs were in the news.

www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/shortcuts/2016/jul/19/twitter-love-story-wedding-waterstones-full-story

So who says romance is dead because of modern technology?

Greyduster Fri 22-Jul-16 11:57:11

DH has never been one for romantic gestures, big or small; I have come to accept it - but the words he put in his 50th anniversary card to me caused me to shed tears (which I am not given to doing), so touching were they.

GandTea Fri 22-Jul-16 16:09:35

My only really romantic gesture was to organise an evening meal on the beach for our anniversary. Mrs P new nothing about it until I unloaded the table,c hairs, cloth,candles, food, champagne etc in the cat park. It was a fish platter from our local fishery (The Company Shed, for those that know it). We did get a few odd looks and comments, but the beach I chose was fairly remote.

Auntieflo Fri 22-Jul-16 16:22:31

GandTea, you put yourself down. My only really romantic gesture, oh my, that was so lovely. Lucky Mrs GandTea. Perhaps you could start giving on line lessons to all the OH's of us poor souls who manage to live without the romance

GandTea Fri 22-Jul-16 16:27:23

Trouble is that it is our 49th next week and I CBA to organise much, probably a picnic on Southwold beach (or Fish & Chips)

Fflaurie Sat 23-Jul-16 10:40:52

It was our 40th wedding anniversary a couple of weeks ago, been together 43 years, he bought me a jar of peanut butter - he thought it was funny. I didn't!

GandTea Sat 23-Jul-16 10:50:13

There's a thought, Mrs P loves peanut butter, perhaps I'll splash out on a jar of smooth and one of crunchy.

vampirequeen Sat 23-Jul-16 10:56:46

What made him think that peanut butter was remotely funny?

Mind you some men are weird. There are a couple of videos on YouTube that prove this. In the first a dad has written will you marry my daddy on the baby's clothes. The mum is ecstatic. He then tells her to pick the baby and look at it's back where the words April Fool are writ large. He thinks it's hysterical.

The second a man gets down on one knee but says will you make me a cup of tea whilst proffering a ring box. His girlfriend is overwhelmed until she opens the box and finds a tea bag. He howls with laughter. She is devastated.

Gagagran Sat 23-Jul-16 10:58:19

My DH of 51 years is a rough tough Yorkshireman and not given to romantic gestures. But he still makes me laugh (and sometimes cry) and is the wonderful Father and Grandfather of my DC and DGC. I have never doubted his constancy and support and our marriage is one of affection and friendship so I am happy to do without a lot of romantic gestures. We love each other and we just work well as a couple. I am very blessed and very grateful.

harrigran Sat 23-Jul-16 11:09:02

DH and I have been together for 53 years and we will have been married for 49 years in October. He has always been romantic and when away from home would ring and sing "I just called to say I love you". It takes a special person to put up with a tetchy, sick 70year old 👵

grandMattie Sun 24-Jul-16 12:32:40

We've been married for 39 years, but DH isn't given to romantic gestures - just a curt "What do you want for...[insert birthday/anniversary]?" He even forgets our anniversary although he can have 2 goes [married in civil ceremony, then church blessing two days later]"

I have learned not to think about any celebration and I hate being disappointed; but won't have him any other way though.grin

etheltbags1 Sun 24-Jul-16 16:37:51

Does romance really matter, apart from in a novel. I would rather not have it at all but if I had to have a man I would rather he did the dishes than me, did the housework and garden taking me out for meals etc. DD and partner fight all the time over who does the dishes/vacuuming etc and she too would rather have him help her than all the silly romance int he world

etheltbags1 Sun 24-Jul-16 16:38:51

I meant woo me.

M0nica Sun 24-Jul-16 17:54:32

but ethel the man you describe is romantic. Nowadays we tend to confuse romance with some commercial riff on it involving starlit skies, expensive nights out or gifts.

Real romance is the gesture that saves you doing something you expected to do, coming home late, worrying about supper - and finding its been sorted or prepared in you absence. Going to bed early because you are so tired and coming downstairs to find the ironing you had planned to do and abandoned has been done for you.

Gestures like that are truly romantic because they are about you. The romantic gesture, that sweeps you off your feet with a weekend in Paris, or a planned proposal at a beautiful restaurant is all about them, their generosity, their romantic gesture.

Give me domestic romance any day.

etheltbags1 Sun 24-Jul-16 20:36:07

Not romantic, refusing to wash dishes, letting partner who has been working cook the dinner bath baby and finally cook dinner served at about 9 while he sits and watches tv,saying its your job. No ok I would rather have a henpacked nanny who does as he's told ... that's romantic

M0nica Sun 24-Jul-16 20:53:02

No, that sort of behaviour is just self centred and selfish. Unselfish help around the home does not make a man a henpecked nanny. It shows a man who sees you as an equal and is prepared to share life with you, chores and all,

GandTea Sun 24-Jul-16 21:33:09

I a;ways give Mrs. P's bum a squeeze when I go past, does that count?

Cherrytree59 Sun 24-Jul-16 22:22:40

G&T you are certainly a romantic smile

I don't know if any GNetters like to listen to Paulo Nutini (I do)
There is a line in one of his songs 'Candy' that sums up Romance for me.
"Oh darlin' I will even wash your clothes
I will kiss your eyes".

Well it does it for me.

etheltbags1 Tue 26-Jul-16 09:04:22

I must add that my comments 're my DD and partner were my reaction to an argument they had,yes he does expect her to wait on him but she told she loves him as he is. I definitely prefer to be single. No silly sloppy songs, no flowers,I can buy my own, I have no one to answer to and no one to be responsible for. Yeeeees

Gononsuch Tue 26-Jul-16 10:53:15

Way back in the '80 the phrase "A good night 'Shag' as replaced the goodnight Kiss", that's all I need to know about romance.

midin Thu 28-Jul-16 16:52:46

I do not think so <I just read a nice piece outside on restaurant

They told me that to make her fall in love. I had to make her laugh.

But every time she laugh's the one that fall's in love is me.

TriciaF Thu 28-Jul-16 17:12:30

I grew up on those romantic songs and films, "Some enchanted evening " etc. And have had more than one experience of that instant attraction.
It was great while it lasted, but then the practicalities come in. If you're lucky it will develop into a relationship of mutual caring and respect. Or just fizzle out.
There are many different kinds of love.

jinglbellsfrocks Fri 29-Jul-16 14:20:21

My stomach protrudes but it's firm. I call it stretched muscle from having a late baby. Son tells me it's probably down to visceral fat. He's wrong. Of course.

jinglbellsfrocks Fri 29-Jul-16 14:21:19

How the fuck did I get on this thread???!!! shock

TriciaF Fri 29-Jul-16 14:42:48

Maybe because women with flat tums are more romantic wink

MarionHalcombe Fri 29-Jul-16 22:28:09

M0nica is so right, when my husband takes time in the morning to make my lunch for me to take to work when I don't make it the night before - that makes me smile all day. Romance is the small everyday gestures that make you feel loved rather than the grand gesture once a year.

To he OP - About Time or Crazy Stupid Love for a modern romantic film

etheltbags1 Mon 01-Aug-16 21:08:21

nowadays its about a quick shag. Romance is just stuff that got left in the 20th century

Tudorrose Sat 06-Aug-16 12:44:51

My husband was working in US on my 40th birthday & telephoned our bank which was next door to a florist. He asked them to take money from his account & order a big bouquet to be delivered to me. It was such a lovely surprise. That was 30 years ago, can't imagine a bank doing that today, even supposing there was an open branch! He is still as romantic & thoughtful today

Day6 Wed 10-Aug-16 17:42:41

My ex husband wasn't a man to show his emotions. The only time he opened up was after a few beers.

I am very lucky that in my early 50s I met the man who is now my fiance and he is very thoughtful, kind and plans surprises I'll enjoy. He is romantic and prepares me lovely meals on candle lit tables for special occasions. I think it's a two-way street though, so I make gestures too, like buying theatre tickets and booking a nice meal beforehand.

In truth, we do things like that because it's a treat for both of us, and we believe after fairly hard lives and lots of hardship and heartache along the way, it's our time to truly enjoy being together. Having said that, we are just as happy watching TV together, or going for a stroll through the woods with the thought of a cuppa and bacon sandwich at the end of the trail. He still holds my hand and we laugh a lot, sharing a similar sense of humour.

I have never had such a considerate man in my life. He isn't perfect, but neither am I. We make each other happy. I think that's about as close to romance as I'll get and I feel blessed and very lucky that we are so compatible. He's a good 'un.

Ilrina Thu 11-Aug-16 16:13:56

My Husband was a gardener before he had to retire through ill health. He often brought home vegetables. When I asked him why he never brought me flowers the reply was " You can't eat those" pffft.

Bebe47 Mon 15-Aug-16 11:27:04

I agree wth the comments about romantic gestures being just about the giver and not the receiver. Makes THEM feel good about themselves . Much better are the helpful And thoughtful things to make ones life easier and happier - sharing chores and giving an unexpected little bunch of blowers from time to time or a cooked meal.
I agree that Yorkshiremen and other men seem to find it difficult to show love and affection in romantic ways and buying flowers is considered a waste of money !! so you have to take the practical things they do instead.

Linsco56 Mon 15-Aug-16 15:29:48

I've been with DH since 1975 and no longer expect any romantic gestures, which is just as well as I'd be sadly disappointed. He has a kind heart, is well meaning (even though he sometimes gets it wrong) and is as generous as our finances allow. It was my 60th birthday earlier this year and he said " what would you like? Do you fancy taking a holiday somewhere different? Would you like me to upgrade your car? Or would you like a facelift?!!!!!!!! WHAT! Here was me thinking my face was still OK...obviously not. shock

Penstemmon Mon 15-Aug-16 16:26:09

We recently celebrated 45 years of marriage and in November will be 50 years since we met. We have had ups and downs over the years..some serious downs but these made us see that we are better together than apart. This being the case, and knowing we almost lost it, keeps us on our toes and we do do things spontaneously, make sure we make time for each other...as well as pursuing our own interests too so we don't get too boring! We squabble and get grumpy too..

sarahellenwhitney Sun 28-Aug-16 14:21:43

The memory that stays in my mind above all others and from the one who I loved and through his ill health so tragically lost was when we were coming home, from a night out,he stopped the car leant across to me looked into my eyes and said 'marry me'.Just that.I often have a cry when I think about that moment.To me those two words beats getting down on one knee and all the flowers and romantic dinners associated with a proposal.

Swanny Sun 28-Aug-16 14:57:38

I'm with Day6 I have never had such a considerate man in my life. He isn't perfect, but neither am I. We make each other happy ... I feel blessed and very lucky that we are so compatible. He's a good 'un.

I had someone like that in my life but not for long enough sad However I still have the memories and that feeling of being cherished by him and being important to him and being part of each other's life has stayed with me. I can't imagine not having known him. That feels romantic to me

etheltbags1 Tue 30-Aug-16 19:23:18

The only couple in my family spend their time fighting, belittling each other and resenting who does housework. I've never had a loving man, my late husband was quit loving for a while but it stopped with the sheer drudgery of being parents. I would love to know how people stay in love it must be more than pretty words and gifts

Sheilasue Tue 30-Aug-16 20:51:27

No squeezing your wife's bum is not romantic cheeky (oops pun) but not romantic.whats romantic to me is just be able to sit and talk about anything and laugh at some of the stupidity that is going in the world. It may not seem romantic but to me the fact that we are talking and laughing about things is wonderful.

Kamran Tue 17-Jul-18 10:02:45

I believe that with growing age,love only takes different shapes but it does not vanish. Converting from one form to other is not vanishing.

Fennel Tue 17-Jul-18 11:26:22

"falling in love" - that's another phrase you don't hear now. Songs like One Enchanted Evening.
I think husband and I are quite romantic - when we're not arguing!

Fennel Tue 17-Jul-18 11:28:26

ps I've just realised that this is an old thread and I said the same thing more or less 2 years ago.