The Death of the Romantic


April 17, 2012 by Manny Wordsmith

The importance of expressed words fall on deaf ears.

There was once a time when bards and poets tantalized the ears of young ladies. Their views and stories of far off places and adventures corralled the hearts of the masses, who hadn’t yet left the boundaries of their towns. These men and their dashing personalities hypnotized people with words. Whether it was for pleasure or profit, the words made a strong and lasting difference in the ears of the fairer sex.

But today, words do not have the same effect.

The mistreatment of women extends back centuries. At one point, they were just property to be exchanged by the ones in power. I’m no psychologist, but I’d like to assume this had a lasting effect on the psyche of women. Not even 50 years ago, rape was still considered something that was sexual driven and triggered by girls who were “asking for it”! It’s unbelievable that the countless misunderstandings and social inequalities have gone on as long as they have. These actions may never be forgiving, which brings me to my point. At one time, when men were all women had for a foothold, a man’s words were gold.

To be a romantic meant to win hearts. It was a prize. But in the past, it also was a tool of control. And because of this, and women’s’ pursuit of equal rights in the workplace and social platform, romantics are nearly obsolete.

I don’t say this to be cynical. But in my personal experience, the etiquette of wooing a girl is archaic and almost an insult to most women. They love to read about it in Nicholas Sparks novels and watch it in old Aubrey Hepburn films, but to open themselves up to the same thing, for them to actually take a chance just on a strong stare and some flowery promise of eternal love, a woman needs to lay down her weapons and fall, hoping to be caught.

But since the dependence on men is almost the same as emotional slavery for some girls, it’s foolhardy for them to relinquish their defenses on a hope or a wish. Actions, now more than ever, speak louder to these women.

Love is a treacherous thing. And in the past, that was all some women had to look forward to. This is because love usually meant a husband and that meant family, kids, security and sometimes even wealth. Now, that many have gathered their own tools, their own wealth, security and even their own families, love is sometimes the most trivial thing in a woman’s life. Poetry is now presented in the form of great actors and musicians, standing on pedestals, far close enough to be praised, but far enough away that they can’t cause any woman true pain. On the ground, in pubs and at parties, poetry is dumbed down into pick-up lines and cheap tricks, aiming for a prize far lower than where the woman’s heart is.

Most men twist the art form just for the chance of dessert, missing out on the fulfilling meal that could bring joy for longer than a night. Our words, that used to hold so much weight, are just jokes. We’re fools with fake confidence. We’re careless Cinderellas, hoping we can charm a girl before she figures out that all that glitters isn’t gold. We break hearts on a whim and move on to the next. The term “romantic” used to be revered. Now, were just known as “players”, people who hope to sustain the old ways and keep women in some sort of clutch that allows a man to continue control of mind, body and soul. No wonder it’s hard for any woman to take a compliment anymore. This is a battle they have lost more than they’ve won, and not many are willing to continue losing.

I write this essay saddened, because for the longest time I thought there was something wrong with a girl if she wasn’t affected by poetry. Growing up reading Shakespeare, Hemingway and Fitzgerald, I thought I had manuals that made up for my older siblings lack of tutoring. I wasn’t trying to use the prose I swore by to ensnare anyone that didn’t want to feel the way I felt. It was that these authors made love seem like the most important thing in the universe. I was willing to put my weapons down just as fast as any woman allured by the weightlessness of love.

There are happy couples all over the world, who’ve had fairy tale endings. People have met and fallen in love without misdirection and lies. There have been experiences in people’s lives where power waved to both sides and compromises were an everyday thing. I just see these as special cases; the last remnants of women who take chances on a fall and men willing to catch them, scattered. The reality is that the romantic is dead. Softened hearts are now hardened and some women have become “players” themselves, if anything, to protect themselves from the others who threaten what they hold dear…their hearts.


3 thoughts on “The Death of the Romantic

  1. A says:

    Cannot I correct this by saying that woman still fight today because society still believes that a woman brings sexual assults and rape on herself by flirting or dressing revealing… that’s why there have been SLUTwalk’s all across the country. Also, in some areas of the US, woman are raped by their neighbors and friends and their community expects that they remain silent and act as if it never happened.

    • I’m aware of these atrocities. I consider myself a feminist in many aspects and hope that society changes for equalities. This post itself is just showing how as the strength of women grow, no matter the pace, the effect of certain type of words are lessened. Women are asking for more out of a mate than just promises and pretty things and how I was ill-prepared for this in my younger years. When I mentioned rape, I was only commenting on how society has seen something. Maybe the stigma isn’t completely gone, but things have improved since the 70s. Thanks for your comment.

  2. Such saddness that fills me now can only come from reading something so somber, so dispearing and so absolutely true.

    I can only mourn the great passing of something so wonderful, and hope, and pray that perhaps, one day, such can be reborn again.

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