Is romance dead? Valentine’s Day seems merely a commercial holiday designed to make the lonely feel lonelier and the involved feel inadequate; as it looms ever-closer, many an estranged partner and forlorn singleton will be asking themselves this question.
In a way, romance has been doomed since the dawn of time. I would hardly call prehistoric men Casanovas, and Casanova himself used “romance” for his own womanising ways. Brought up on diets of Disney, students today have been taught to believe in a “happily ever after” that scarcely reveals itself in today’s sex-crazed, hedonistic and fragmented culture of personal gain. We have a warped, idealised version of what we want love to be, so we rush into relationships and when our high expectations are not realised, panic and depression often ensue. Divorce rates are at their highest; increasingly people cannot meet organically and have to resort to contrived, premeditated encounters on the internet, and the closest some get to intimacy is a quick fondle in the dark with a drunk and horny stranger.
Never before were the odds stacked so highly against romance. Yet, I believe romance will always pull through. For every tacky “horny devil” bear purchased on Valentine’s Day, there is a candle lit dinner. For every disingenuous endeavour at chat roulette, someone will meet their future sweet heart during an awkward, but ultimately rewarding venture into the wrong toilets at a restaurant. For every time someone is dumped via facebook, someone is proposed to during a meticulous game of scrabble. People will never stop falling in love, because this is what makes us human after all. We will never stop trying to sweep our loved ones off their feet, for when you love someone, you want to show them in every way you can – and in this manner, romance will never die! As my favourite Disney character, Jack Sparrow, said, “Where do you think all the stories come from?”
It’s all very well to have romantic ideals but how can one be romantic on Valentine’s Day as a penniless and frazzled student I hear you cry! Actions speak louder than words apparently, so much depends on the Valentines activities… Instead of going to the cinema to see Hollywood’s answer for 2010’s perfect romantic date – “Valentine’s Day”, then out to an overpriced restaurant packed with couples not talking to each other whilst eating overcooked food, why not take your favourite film to the Hallward Screening room and bolt yourselves in with a picnic and some wine? Why not bring a tent to Wollaton Park and purposely get locked in for the night and stargaze with your loved one and some deer? Be adventurous and check out the cheap flights with Ryanair from East Midlands Airport, (currently there are £5 flights, taxes included, to Barcelona, Dublin, Milan and Wroclaw).
What if you don’t have a loved one to spend Valentine’s with? University friends should be more important than passing boyfriends and girlfriends, for they come and go, but the mates we make now will last forever – so why don’t you let your bessies know that? So, to love and to laughter and to a happily ever after, I wish you all a romantic Valentine’s Day.