Redefining Romance In A Digital Age

I have a confession to make, I am on the fence with how I feel about this one, which is what prompted me to blog about this.  I have given this notion a good part of two weeks of sleepless night contemplation, and this really is a thing, not just in the depths of my manic mind!  When I say I am on the fence it is because for one thing, progress and evolution are the fabric of a civilized society, but I am nostalgic for the way things use to be, and I live for poetic prose, among other things.

In Elementary school, now when I say Elementary school I am talking about upper class, in the town where I grew up we didn’t have a middle school.  We attended K-8th grade in the same school.  I wouldn’t have traded that for anything, it was our modern-day one room school-house.  Anyway, my first glimpse at poetry was Robert Frost’s poem, Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening.  I tear up recalling that poem because I was so moved by that poem at 12 years old.  In the last line which goes like this:

The Woods are lovely, dark and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep. 

I remember being so moved because I felt with all this beauty that he saw before him, the snow, the farmhouse, the frozen lake, he was taking it all in, but the restlessness and isolation of his soul would not let him rest.  Trust me, I was dark and deep even at 12.  It was at that moment that I felt the power of words and how carefully placed between the spaces could convey so poignantly, so eloquently, what the heart-felt. It is then as a 12-year-old that I fell in love with poetry and prose.  I remember for a time, how the boys in our class use to create poems to try to woo us girls, well mostly dirty limericks, but once in a while one of them would come across with something that felt so breathtakingly moving, we were all but giddy when we heard them.  Little by little I began to appreciate poetry and I began to recognize that with the right lines I could become spellbound and putty in the hands of the right wordsmith.  Ok, I didn’t fall that easy, but I will say this, you combine some lusty words with a sexy brain, and I could really crumble.
I can recall many times I took to my pen and paper to write my affections and pen a heartfelt, lustful, poem meant to entice and excite a lover.   

As I got into high school and I studied poetry in greater depth, and then to college, I was a Journalism Major after all, I began to see the connection between words, romance, and yes, sex.  Stunningly brilliant innuendos and double entendres written on the pages before me, it was a dizzying array of brilliantly placed words.  For example, in his sexually poignant poem, which illustrates my point perfectly, Putting in the Seed, Robert Frost, tells his reader of his lust filled evening being drawn away from work by his wanton wife, who is ready to have him take her, or at least that’s my lustful observation.  You decide your interpretation, now just keep in mind this was written in the 1920’s I believe, so to write such prose was undoubtedly wickedly bold,                                   240px-RobertFrost

You come to fetch me from my work to-night,

When supper’s on the table and we’ll see,

If I can leave off burying the white,                                            

Soft petals from the apple tree. 

The title lures you in, well if you have a dirty mind like I do it did, come on I can’t be the only one, and then you begin to feel the intensity of the allure, the dance that lover’s dare to dance when seeking intimacy, oneness, the unique way in which it awakens the senses and makes your body come alive with the promise of a lover’s touch. “What?” “You didn’t get that from those lines?”

Now that I have lived 5 decades, I know, I am as shocked as you!  I see that there is a paradigm shift from romanticism to eroticism and the two are now merged and used almost interchangeably, to woo, date, or hookup!  In the age of cell phone nudes, and tinder, words are lost in the context of dick picks and boob shots.  There is a whole generation coming of age, who truly believe that getting a nude from a girl is not only hot for obvious reasons, remember your first glimpse of nudes on library day, glancing at National Geographic?   But these teens believe this is the way romance looks!  Teens today, have access to porn in a whole different era of availability, and have become so desensitized to sex and nudity, it isn’t hard to see why with some begging and gentle prodding how a guy can get even the most modest of females, to expose a glimpse of nip and send it off in a jpeg quicker than I can give the finger in traffic!  To a teen in love, this is an attempt at being romantic, this is how to solidify a relationship and show affection, to win someone’s heart, and keep a guy interested.

Now I am not saying the days of the Poet Laureate are dead, what I am saying is, that where once a lover would choose to profess his or her undying love in the form of a poem spoken so eloquently, it is no longer necessary to do so now, when there are cell phone cameras.  Some how a whole new generation decided that sending off a racy pic is tantamount to words, once used to convey how the heart feels.  I know I am stretching this a bit, but I see in my teens, especially my boys, how dating is not really dating, and how they have to pursue a girl with very little, if any, effort since girls are usually coming in hot, excuse the pun, and setting their sights on them.  Some very aggressively I might add.  Very little wooing is going on these days, at least for guys.  Now this can be seen as a definite shift in the attitudes of women who are feeling more in control, more self-confident to pursue men, but it also signals the end for the male who’s in pursuit.  I think there is much to be said about a man who isn’t afraid to speak his affections and pursue his attraction.  There’s something primal about the male who is setting his sights on his affection and giving his all to impress and captivate her.  That to me is poetic, beautiful, sheer romance.

I recognize that in an age of technology that is ever-changing and progressing at rapid speed, some things will be lost and some antiquated ideals will have had their day.  It’s inevitable in a progressive society.  I would like to think however, that some things will never go out of style or lose favor, and that romance will be as much the fabric of our lives today as it was when poets and dreamers made us weak in the knees with lusty promises of starry nights, endless kisses, and wild abandon.

Sinfully and proudly, a hopeless romantic,

Susan xoxo

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