Monday, July 19, 2010

The rare confession of a 'closet romantic'

Romance is frivolous. No one can or would argue much against it. Yet, we ALL are suckers for it. Sure, there are people who take it to very corny levels of display with the red roses, heart shaped chocolate boxes, heart shaped cushions, heart shaped chikies (yes these too are available!), droopy eyed stuffed toys, stuffed toys with the hearts, love song CD collections, those li'l books titled '1000 reasons why i love you', lifted lines from bad movies, declaring yourself as 'in a relationship with....' on facebook and I think i've pretty much covered most of the drift.

Romance is certainly a market that never runs dry or even much redundant. There couldn't be better examples than the movies & Mills & Boon where writers may have run short of quirky and cute ways of making people fall for each other but that same story is a runaway hit each time. Hence, they needn't even think any further.

In my own li'l fantasy world, too, I've always imagined my romances and relationships in techni-color and have a tendency to do so unabated. Then, how is it that I love hating love stories? Here's understanding how and why.

The capitalist market has cashed in a lot on romance and I, suppose, that's where my grouse with romance lies to begin with. This consumerist notion of romance, relationships and love is a sell out, unoriginal, unintelligible, too often tacky and too convenient. Especially with the last one, my contention is nothing about love or romance is convenient or should be coz if it is or becomes, then the thrill and excitement is stolen away for an easy come and easy go. I love fast food but I don't like the concept to spill over to every other aspect of life.

Yes, i'm cynical about the consumerist version of romance but more so over the way its done often. Also, i'd like to emphasize on the underlying gender stereotype/bias to this truth. Like really, guys don't get teddies or even friendship bands. Even if they do, they don't keep 'em. These frivolous, the lot of which i mentioned before, li'l plastics are mainly targeted for women, whose girlfriends (lesbian or not) and boyfriends will buy for them. Its like what most feminists purport i.e. to the underlying tones to many general things around us that often reinforce beliefs that are so deeply socialized, from early on in our becoming. Here, the underlying tone that gets reinforced every valentines and friendships day is that women are petty to fall for things like such. Sure, you call it 'cute' but so much is belittled of women in knowing that they can be easily won over by these means.

Yet, i'm not dismissing everything that Archies/Hallmark make in absolution. They have their place, which is why they are so often relied upon. But they are only the means to something great, not the end product of that greatness. Some of the cards read out very beautifully but you know, a girl doesn't necessarily like a poet but a guy who expresses whatever way or language. Don't pick up that love song collection with too much pink on its CD cover but make her your own mix with your own artwork on the cover. Trust me, she might not like the song or the art but will be over the moon with the gesture. They also come in more reasonable ranges, not that an expensive gift is necessarily impersonal. The point is of being genuine, not a cheapskate.

It may not seem like it but i'm not playing advisor girl here. In my own unapparent way, I'm disclosing a secret, unknown to many and shattering a myth, commonly understood about me. That...i'm a marshmallow inside when it comes to love and romance. Despite consciously understanding the roots and processes of my socialization, I know that having a guy head over heels for me is at the top of my wish list, maybe even above being intellectually appraised. This isn't to say that I only want that. I'm a greedy woman. I want all the goodies on the wishlist from Santa i.e. life.

It is because i'm a romantic, the true blue kind, that makes me despise all the RED. But I do understand and want the RED for what it represents. What is cute about it is not dog, the heart or the 'I love you' but the extent that a guy will go for you i.e. in being petty himself, which is undeniably flattering. Like i said, the RED and romance has its place, only not a defining one.

Hi, I'm Makepeace Sitlhou and i'm a romantic.

Romance is dead *sigh*

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