The Decadence of Romance

An article by Munizeh Zuberi, 'Gone with the wind?' came in this week's The Review (of Dawn newspaper) about the decadence of romance in our society, and its replacement with a more physical version of relationships. It is an excellent article, and voices my own sentiments to a great degree as well.
You can read the complete article at this link:

And here are some extracts:

"Romance needs time and thought, two things that most people do not seem to have enough of in this day and age of ‘attention deficit’. Just like young people are not afraid to change jobs every time they get a slightly better offer –– in fact it is said to raise their ‘market value’ –– they do not want to commit to a romantic relationship in case there is ‘something better out there’ waiting for them.

The sensitivities needed for romance are no longer present in the average person; to stop and smell the roses is an awkward, alien concept. For the young, romance and love are merely euphemisms for sex and infatuation."

"But romance doesn’t have to be expensive or full of grand gestures! Little things like a handwritten note on the dresser saying ‘I love you’ or taking time out for the occasional picnic or dinner (with mobile phones switched off!) can go a long way in keeping the flame alive."

"Valentines Day is ‘celebrated’ with unprecedented fervour and extravagance now but genuine romantic gestures, even amongst the idealistic youth, seem to be increasingly waning. The shallow, single-dimension of gift-giving might be more ‘easy’ and practical, but can it ever compare with a poem such as Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s How do I love thee? Let me count the ways, which she wrote for her husband Robert Browning?

From the arts, to literature, to movies and music, the connotations of romance have been redefined. The natural affinity described between a man and woman in the poetry of Ghalib, Majaz and Faiz or the novels of the Bronte sisters was pristine, unpolluted, decent and innocent. It did not have the ugly, lewd undertone that is the norm in fiction, movies and music of the 21th century.

“It’s all about sex and the clich├ęd argument is that sex sells,” says 53-year old Shazia, mother of two. Anyone who seems to resist this tendency is labelled ultra-conservative and even frowned upon. “It’s all physical and tangible now,” adds her husband.

Till two to three decades ago, romance was all about the emotional attachment. Songs like Mausam haseen hai lekin tumsa haseen nahin described the emotional and the abstract which have been replaced by the crude vulgarity of Choli kay pechay kiya hai."

"Love and romance have become mundane emotions. The youth of today belong to the ‘cut out the crap’ generation. For most, romance begins and ends with physical relations.

They no longer wait for natural attraction to flourish. Instead, they actively pursue ‘lovers’ because of the stigma that society now attaches to single people. As a result, most relationships stem from the need to have rather than love, per se.

Both men and women routinely gloat and boast about their ‘romantic’ escapades and conquests to their mates and take great pride in doing so. In the days when romance was still alive, people were highly protective of their lovers and took immense pains to prevent any shame coming on them. They respected each other’s privacy and honour, but now each romantic enterprise is yet another feather in the cap."

I believe that a healthy romance is an expression of a person's fine sensibilities, because after all, what is romance but loving a person with elegance, grace, decency and refined manners?


[Kay] said…
Very true. This is what what we lack in relationships today. The sanctity of love being replaced by superficialities, wanna be coolsters trying to sound ultracool by 'babe' and 'yo' and the likes. Seniorita to me is a more applealing way of adressing, but then very very few people are left who even appreciate these things.
gaya. said…
So true,the extract speaks of true,sacred concept of love.I'll definitely read the whole article.
dure said…
I so don't agree. The article was, besides being mediocre in expression and cohesion, full of exxagerated generalisations. Things have changed, but not at all as badly and drastically as the writer puts. Its more about looking at the right places. :)
F. said…
I agree with Dure.