I'll take romance

Romance seems to have almost vanished in American culture. Romantic Hollywood liaisons were everywhere in the '40s and '50s. Boy meets girl - boy loses girl - boy gets girl back was a common theme in many movies. The woman longed for the man who belonged to someone else. The beautiful woman refused the poignant overtures of a smitten young man who could think of little else than the woman of his dreams. All the man wanted was some attention from his lady love – a kiss, maybe. She had merely to walk into the room. All the woman wanted was one kiss or even a glance from the man who occupied her every waking thought.

In the 2004 film, “Shall We Dance?” -- Richard Gere and Susan Sarandon’s marriage is rocky when Jennifer Lopez, a ballroom dance teacher, gives him some tingly tango lessons. Sexy, sultry, and excruciatingly romantic, Gere sets about to win his wife back in ways reminiscent of the romances of Bogie and Bacall, Hepburn and Tracy, Gable and Leigh in "Gone With The Wind." Where is the romance in today’s movies? Frankly, no one gives a damn.

When we see relationships portrayed in many current American films, we can predict almost with certainty that it will contain breathless groping against a hallway wall, a kitchen sink, or on a desk, more breathless groping on the way to the bedroom (if they make it that far) while hurriedly stripping off belts, bras and everything else. Sex is shown as primal gratification utterly without romance. Most of the time, there is no deliberateness, no thoughtfulness, no gentleness, and no anticipation, the very fuel of romance.  Marriage and commitment are absent and the relationships are skin deep. It's risky raunch roulette watching streamed content in your living room.

Precious few modern films do have some romance. "Titanic" (ironically set at a time when romance was a thing), "Ghost," "Big Fish," and "Something's Gotta Give" have mercifully avoided the instant lustiness that characterizes so much of the debased American culture. But the majority of the rest is not so lucky. It is seen as quaint to delay sexual activity until marriage or to engage in abstinence if not married. That was for another time, a less enlightened time, they sniff. Meanwhile, full frontal and rear nudity is now de rigueur, which to my mind is a great example of too much information.

In romantic days past, just one kiss could sustain us until the next date. There was longing, and longing equals romance. In America now, the prize is given away at the outset at bargain-basement prices – free. Everyone is passing it out from a Pez dispenser. "Here, want one?" 

In a recent TV series, a wealthy young woman asks a handsome doctor out for dinner. He says, "Dinner is always just an interview for sex." She remarks, "Okay, then do you want to have sex with me?" which they do, complete with window-fogging hyperventilating.  It's a wonder they don't pass out. 

The 1952 film, “The Quiet Man” was a classic romantic comedy featuring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara.  She was a volatile, stunningly beautiful Irish lass, he was a macho retired American boxer. Their relationship is furiously steamy but not tactile. Most of the film was foreplay in the sense that tension between O’Hara and Wayne was so thick that the screen almost burst into flames at the end of the movie when he displayed swaggering toxic masculinity in The Kiss at the door, as the wind violently blew it open. The cliché was the climax; we waited a breathless two hours for that kiss. 

Then there is the 1953 iconic surf-pounding kiss on the beach between Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr in "From Here To Eternity." You didn't have to see explicit sex scenes to know that this was a smoldering, tempestuous assignation. And we didn't see them, which added to the tension.

Compare that to most modern films where the couple hooks up for a quickie in the supply closet, often not even exchanging names. No romance, no anticipation. Some may find this refreshing, believing that perhaps America has been too puritanical for too long, but it seems that when you lose the romance, you lose the depth, the sanctity.  God made "vessels for honor and vessels for dishonor" – us.  Our porn culture with loveless, marriage-less sex has created generations of dishonored vessels who are often left wondering if life is pointless.

Romance-less sex has become as ubiquitous as sanctuary cities in blue States, Leftists' child-grooming in kindergarten, looking at your cell phone while dining, and cat flatus. They all stink.

Image: Pixabay / Pixabay License

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