Is Romance Dead?

A few days ago, two of my female friends and I stood outside a coffee shop chatting when one of them suddenly revealed to us that she “had another awkward date.” She then proceeded to tell us about how she went on a few dates with a guy when things suddenly turned … well, inappropriate. After just a few dates, the guy seemed to think he had the green light to send her sexually explicit text messages. She then went on to lament that it seemed real dating and courtship just seemed to be dead.

After the last year I’ve had with trying to date, I tend to agree with her.

Dating just isn’t what it used to be. There used to be a time when men actually had to court women in order to be with them, which included treating them with respect, not expecting any sex, and actually talking to them and getting to know them. Men opened doors and treated women to nice dinners. Sometimes they’d even bring flowers.  There was even a time when you only kissed on the first date when the sparks were really flying.

Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I do think there’s value in people taking the time to get to know each other before they enter into a committed relationship and/or sleep together. And a little romance along the way can’t hurt either. Unfortunately, I’m starting to see my friend and I are in the minority when it comes to our philosophy on dating, especially after a conversation I had today with one of my good male friends.

We met up for lunch, and I told him some of the dating horror stories I’ve endured over the last year, including the same complaints my female friend had about men trying to kiss me, feel me up, or sleep with me without actually trying to date me or be in a relationship with me. His response? “Welcome to the real world.” Ouchie. He said people like us (because he’s not the type to sleep around either — he’s an old-fashioned guy who opens doors for women and pays for their meals even if they’re just his friend) are not the norm these days. In fact, pretty much all of his friends will sleep with people before even being in a relationship and usually make the decision to become a couple post-coitus.

Whatever happened to romance, courtship, and REAL dating? I’ll tell you what happened: our society has become obsessed with instant gratification. We don’t work hard for anything anymore, and that includes relationships. Well, boys, let me tell you something — there will be no instant gratification with this girl. You want what I’ve got? Then you better be prepared to sweat.

UPDATE: For those Nice Guys out there who are being overshadowed by their pervy counterparts, check out my past blog post “Bad Boy Syndrome,” which talks about why I think the bad boys have been winning.

Love and shattered fairy tales,



~ by Mika Doyle on August 6, 2010.

17 Responses to “Is Romance Dead?”

  1. Oh man… Welcome to the real world? Ouch indeed. I wonder when in time we as women started to accept this horribly watered-down version of “dating”? Now a days if you get a cute Facebook message, we’re elated and guys think they have free range.

    No siree. I want courting back. It’s dinner or bust and not subway sandwiches on a crappy paper plate… this girl needs a menu!

    -Caitlin 🙂

    • “Watered-down version of dating” is the perfect way to describe it! I plan to do a whole other post about how people are relying too heavily on text messages and social media sites to do the work for them, which includes a belief that cute texts and other messages are replacements for putting in the foot work to date someone.

  2. I’ll have you know courtship isn’t dead. There are still men who believe in romance! “Be prepared to sweat.”? What,is it courtship and romance or social palates? Do you want romance or just somebody to jump through hoops? Perhaps a bit of both, hm? I apologize if that was written harshly, I think many men now, including myself ARE impatient, We must have more patience and must exercise the patience we have been given. “Patience is a Virtue” We as men should keep this quote in our back pocket so as not to forget it. The rush-rush world today… I for one miss the Doctrine of old school dating as well, although some exceptions should be made, Like the location of a date. They can’t all be seaside sunset fanciness, although that would be nice, I, for one dig fancy setups. Well, this comment must end here for now 🙂 . Ken

    • I don’t think I implied anywhere in the post that men needed to “jump through hoops” for women or that women’s unrealistic notions of men (take the latest Old Spice commercials, for example — hilarious, yet frightening in how they truly do capture women’s unrealistic expectations of men) are valid. My point was that people need to take more time to get to know each other, which is the whole basis for “old-fashioned” dating. In a world of instant gratification, I’m a big believer in taking things slowly and making sure things are right, with a final message to the men out there letting them know there are still girls out there who don’t appreciate their sexual advances when they have no intention of making any type of commitment — or even an attempt to get to know me, for that matter.

      • In that case then, I agree. “old-fashioned” dating needs to come back. I hear you! “Good things come to those who wait.” That’s the saying that comes to mind. Commitment is a must, it is also a LOT of work from what I hear.

  3. I also have been questioning whether romance is dead,as I am pretty new to this whole dating realm. And I hate it. I’m used to being with one person and one person only. Now I have basically been forced into dating, with guys not wanting to commit. Understandably I think many of us woman are at fault. Just turn on the tv and see how women are flashing around sex. So I think many believe that this is the norm. Many times we allow guys to “have their cake and eat it too”. We are then left disappointed and wondering why. Instant gratification I would agree with that. Sorry that some of us had to ruin it for the rest and expectations as a whole I think have been lowered. As Grandma said,”why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?”

    • I wish I could say you were wrong about women’s role in this whole issue, but you’re definitely right. And expectations most definitely have been lowered by both genders, and it is such a shame. I think we could all get so much more out of relationships if we’d all realize we’re worth more than shallow — and often just physical — relationships.

  4. I’m not going to disagree that there’s something wrong with the modern dating paradigm that seems to lean more heavily toward a physical relationship than anything else. There are women and little girls dressing more provocatively each day and men trying their darnedest to jump on anyone who’ll show them some skin. You could start a whole debate about how bad this reflects on society and at the possible consequences in the divorce rate, number of single parents, etc…

    But when you boil dating down, the complaints are the same as they’ve ever been.
    Fair Maidens, Knights in Shining Armor, and Fairy Tales still exist; it’s just that the setting has changed.
    Instead of weeding your way through a thicket of fakers and jerks, we now have to search through bars full of fast men and loose women to find the person with the same values and morals as we have.

  5. Love this, J: “Instead of weeding your way through a thicket of fakers and jerks, we now have to search through bars full of fast men and loose women to find the person with the same values and morals as we have.” You said it so well!!

  6. I’d like to play devil’s advocate for a moment, as I get the impression that you’re blaming one gender when you really should be blaming both.

    You know the saying “nice guys finish last”? I can’t tell you how frustrating it was when I was dating to see great girls (not just pretty ones) falling for the most awful guys on the planet while “nice guys” like me made “great friends” to those same girls. Beyond infuriating.

    I would guess that every woman would agree that confidence in a man is one of the biggest turn-on’s. There’s a reason that “The Naked Man” was successful (two out of three times) on that hilarious episode of How I Met Your Mother. Even though a guy may not be great dating material, his confidence will almost always inevitably win the battle for him, even if it is short-lived. In a world chock full of bite-sized relationships, fling romances are considered acceptable and even commonplace.

    On the flip side, guys who are interesting in the traditional, chivalrous courting style of dating are seen as less assertive and lacking in confidence, and therefore finish last.

    My point is this: don’t only blame the sleazy guys out there who are making advances like this; also blame the women who are accepting and welcoming those advances. The reason guys try Hail Mary’s like sending sexually explicit text messages is because IT HAS WORKED IN THE PAST. Obviously this didn’t work for the guy in the original poster’s story, but odds are that it will on his next attempt.

    In your case, it sounds like “nice girls finish last” as well. It’s a sad reality and a hard pill to swallow, but just be careful you’re not over-generalizing. There’s more than likely a genuine nice guy out there waiting to cross the finish line with you, and he’s having the same frustrations you are.

    • Hi, Scott — I updated my post so that it links to my past post called Bad Boy Syndrome, which addresses some of the points you’ve mentioned in your comment about nice guys finishing last. I definitely agree that women are also to blame for this whole new dating dynamic, so there’s going to be a future post on that. However, what I don’t agree with is that guys who believe in traditional, chivalrous dating are seen as less assertive and lacking in confidence — you can believe in traditional dating without lacking confidence. Going back to the male friend I mentioned in my post — he is very gentlemanly but comes off as having a lot of confidence. His parents taught him to treat women with respect, so it just comes to naturally to him that he doesn’t do so in a manner that points out he’s even doing it. In fact, the first few times we hung out together, I was incredibly confused because he’d slip ahead of me and get the door without even skipping a beat in the conversation. There was no ceremony and it wasn’t like he was doing something special, but the way he pulled it off was pretty smooth. I guess what I’m trying to say it that nice guys should not lose hope!! Just be confident and don’t give in to the temptation to be just another sleezeball!!!

  7. “Instand gratification”–yes, I agree. Our present day society is also in a love affair with the internet and facebook–self-eroticizing; simply observing other people’s lives without talking to them. Both genders are to blame for this; it’s not that guys are the creepsters. Any human being can be perceived as an incompetent mate, for any different variety of reasons.
    I think that courtship and dating isn’t dead, it’s just old-fashioned and exists better as a pastime then as a realistic activity. The fact that “going out” on dates to get to know someone implies that love (or the acquisition of it) must obey class status, or financial status–I think this is very American and wrong. I prefer the idea that people just “get to know each other” either academically or just using intellectual language–get to the point about who you are when you introduce yourself. Reveal your true self to others in an honest way, and love can come second.

  8. I just realized I misspelled “instant.” oh me.

  9. […] Jones Shows Us a Little Something About Respect Last week I asked if romance was dead – replaced by shot-gun relationships spurred by society’s desire for instant […]

  10. […] to develop before trying to define it. I talk about taking your time with relationships in my post Is Romance Dead?, and I think that principle applies more than ever when it comes to defining relationships. One of […]

  11. The reason courtship is dead and the romance factor has gone out the window is thanks to the feminist movement. Hate to say it but it’s the truth. Women want to be treated as equals which is absolutely deserved, but it takes away from the “old-fashion” way of dating and relationships. Men used to pay for every meal because their spouses were normally house wives. Now the rate of women in the work place is higher than ever. So why should The guy have to pay for every meal. I think there is nothing better than a woman who wants to pay for her part in the act. Those are the women who use that realistic point of view in every aspect of the relationship and the relationship as a whole pays off. Thats the change in times. The role of a man’s part in the relationship has changed as well as the woman’s role. Here’s to progress.

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