Romance is dead, long live romance?

Louis Shankar: Week Four

bollocks cynicism love romance valentine's day

In the wake of the excitement of RAG Blind Date and with Valentine’s Day on the horizon, I thought I’d write about romance and love and all that bollocks.

My views on romance were best articulated by a visionary character often at the forefront of the zeitgeist. “Romance is dead – it was acquired in a hostile takeover by Hallmark and Disney, homogenised, and sold off piece by piece.” Who said that? Lisa Simpson.

Any honest ideas about love tend to be thrown out of the window at Valentine’s Day in favour of commercialism. Of course, this happens throughout the rest of the year too, in favour of absurd, archaic rituals of courtship. And Tinder.

Why does nobody think about the bee keepers?


John Cooper Clarke (speaking at the Union next week) epitomised this in his famous poem ‘I Wanna Be Yours’, which gained even more prominence when it was set to music by the Arctic Monkeys. However, in their version, the cynicism and the acid wit are lost; the criticism of rendering yourself as a commodity ‘for love’ becomes with a mere reversal of the ‘I want you (to be mine)’ love song. And there are enough of those already.

Of course, different people have a variety of ideas and ideals when it comes to love. Andy Warhol once wrote, “Everyone has a different idea of love. One girl I know said, ‘I knew he loved me when he didn’t come in my mouth.’” (That quote is taken from a book that is genuinely on my reading list.)

Personally, I am someone who is nearly perpetually single, although (genuinely) out of choice. I’m the opposite of that person who updates their Facebook relationship status as ‘single’ but has found a new bae within the week (usually at Cindies on a Wednesday). I don’t really aspire to be a part of that couple – we all know one – who have been together forever and are never seen apart.

Many relationships originated right here.

The thing is, why is being single seen as such a taboo? Why should it be a state of inadequacy, of incompleteness? Why is such a ludicrous, historical, heteronormative concept still maintained, especially for the week preceding February 14th?

The amount of media which perpetuates this is ridiculous: the only way to be happy must be by finding that special someone. How many films or books revolve around a happily married couple? Or a woman in search of ‘the right man’? Or a man pursing the wrong woman, only to discover true love had been ‘right in front of him the whole time’?

Romeo and Juliet (also known as ‘Love Does’t Always End Well’).

I found this sentiment to be most eloquently expressed by another woman at the centre of the modern world, albeit less yellow/fictional this time: Taylor Swift.

“When I tell people how happy I am to be alone and to be living my life on my own terms and to be free and independent and empowered, the first thing they say to me is, ‘Oh, don’t worry you’ll find someone,’ and that is so not the point.”

After all, haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.

Disagree? Think you can change his mind? Free on February 14th? Email [email protected] if you fancy your chances.