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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


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.

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.