Romance Is Dead. Come, Let’s Dance on Its Grave.
Alas, romance is dead.
No doubt you have heard it said many a time, usually with a wistful sigh behind thinly veiled cynicism. Romance, a fantastical notion born in the bygone days, has died a long and malingering death. And now its time has passed.
Gone are the days of star-crossed lovers, with the kiss of poison upon their sweet lips and the cold bite of steel pressed into their shattered hearts.
Gone are the dark and brooding homes upon wind-swept moors where ghosts knock upon windows. Wretched souls of the dead haunting the tragic souls of the living.
Gone are the fearless knights and chaste damsels of once-upon-a-time. Days of yore where flowing swathes of hair and an unblemished reputation were a woman’s crowning glory. Her pure and virginal flower a thing to be won by chivalry, possessed and then spoiled — before he rides off to die in battle.
Yes, my friend, romance is truly dead and buried. That poor and sickly notion is now lifeless and slack-jawed. Black-fleshed and rotting. Yet we mourn its passing, poor fools that we are! We still look to it as a measure of how things could be. How they should be.
So I challenge you to join me! For it is not a dirge I shall sing at its funeral but an exultation. I shall dance upon its grave, crushing the dirt beneath bare heels. I shall laugh at its demise — not with deep cynicism, bitterness or heartbreak, you understand. Not with bile in my belly nor hopelessness in my heart. But with joy! For love can now be liberated from the gilded coffin we have formed for it.
As we grind romance beneath our heels, we also emancipate Love.
For romance was never real. Never true. It should never have been mixed up with the stunning simplicity nor the aching complexity that is Love. Romance was always a charming pretender. A rose-scented wolf in sheep’s clothing. A handsomely clad charlatan. A deceiver. An imposter. A fake!
Love has always been so much more than romance, and yet we have allowed ourselves to be duped. To be deceived by Love’s poor imitation. To play by a set of rigid rules in a game that could never be won.
So, when I hear that romance is dead, I shout at the top my lungs, “Yes! So come, let’s dance upon its grave.”
I am done with it.
Because Love is so much more than something we fall helplessly and hopelessly into. It is more than a churning belly and trembling limbs. More than a racing pulse and dizzying thoughts swirling around our love-sick and euphoric minds. Love reaches far beyond such inadequate limits. Real Love should never be mixed up with infatuation or obsession. With possession or ownership. It is not blind.
And let’s be clear, Love is so much more than finding the one who will make us happy for the rest of our days.
That, my friend, has never been right or fair: to expect one other person in the world to do that; to be that.
For Love is a choice, and it is found within each and every one of us. It is not an abyss we fall into, but a breathtaking vista. And its landscape is made up of actions. Random acts of kindness to strangers. Conscious acts of courage to help those who need it. It is a landscape of light and dark places that only some will intimately know.
Ah, but those people? They will surpass that which we search for in our endless quest for romance. They are Love — those who have come face to face with our ugliest demons without seeking to tame, cage or shun them.
Those who have braved our darkness when we are lost within it, holding our hands for as long as it takes. Leading us back to the light or allowing us time to linger in the shadowlands. Shining their own light upon our murky corners and revealing to us that our worst fears are an illusion that can be chased away. Those who, even when they go, leave their light with us, so we know we never have to be alone.
Those who choose to be there for us. Because they want to be. Because they give a damn!
Who needs romance when true Love is has no rules?
As for making Love? It is so much more than fucking. More than the gorgeously obscene melding of hot bodies in raw lust and passion. It is not simply a ritual of carnal craving. Flesh to flesh. Lip to lip. Breath to breath. It should never be mixed up with the mere desire to find pleasure and satisfaction in the flesh of another.
It is not the fast and frenzied climb to ultimate climax. Ejaculation. The cry of each small death. Nor is it solely the need to lose oneself within the delicious sensuality of someone else, even if just for a minute. Just one perfect moment.
That, my friend, is only one expression of Love. One small phrase in Love’s rich and varied language.
Because making Love is an act that comes in many forms. Love is made in many ways. It is made by holding space as well as holding a body in a tender embrace. Love is made by a heart that cherishes us from afar as well as arms that hold us close when we can no longer hold ourselves. Love is made by taking time to listen.
Love is made with words as well as deeds — soft words of support, strong words of encouragement, or gentle words of compassion. Love is made by infusing tears with laughter. Love is made with late night chats and early morning naps. With crazy adventures and velvet-edged moments of comfortable silence. With sentimental sweetness and wanton wickedness shared together with one. Or many.
Companions, friends, family or lovers — we make Love with those who make time for us and we for them.
Who needs romance when true Love has no labels?
And Love is so much more than the all-consuming fire of physical attraction and intense chemistry. More than addiction and emotional dependency. It is not to be mixed up with something vain and self-serving. With something self-gratifying or arrogant. It is neither boastful nor proud. But don’t be fooled! Nor is it pretty or nice.
No, my friend! Love is not as insipid or banal as that. It is worthy of so much more. It is a multi-faceted jewel, radiant with the many faces of divinity.
For Love is also a raging power like water. It is a fluid force. A non-binary energy. It carves itself through the hard rock of our personal walls. Over time, it shapes and smooths the rough edges of our egos. It carves itself indelibly into our hearts while also flowing out through us. Its ripples are far-reaching. Love is not something we feel, but something we live. Day in and day out.
It is something we thirst for and are sated by. We are its vessel, and when we are filled with Love, it pours forth from us. It is messy and exhilarating and it overflows.
But Love is also earthy. It is found within the marrow of our bones. It is twisted within the carbon strands of our DNA. Love is the foundation upon which life was built. It is a constant state in which we live. A way of life. Love is sometimes hard, holding up a mirror to the Truth. Making us face harsh reality, asking to take a long look at ourselves and how we are. What we do.
Love may take work, but it is always fair. Always compassionate. Love may be hard, but it is also respectful. It asks no more of us than we can give. Love is something we do. Love is something we create and something we act upon. It is something that grows when it is nurtured and blossoms into ripe fruition.
And Love is difficult to define. It has no edges and no form, like air. We cannot grasp it in our hands. We cannot own or possess it. It will not be controlled. Love is not something that bends to our mortal will. Ah, but if we allow it, Love will lift us up upon its wings, carrying us to heights we never believed possible. Love is a feat that we accomplish with each and every breath.
Love is absolutely ordinary and completely extraordinary. Love is beautifully perfect and utterly flawed. Love is absolutely mundane and entirely sacred.
Yes, my friend, romance is dead. So I say it again, “Come, let’s dance on its grave!” For I am done with it. And when romance died, so too did the spurious notion that Love died with it.
Romance is dead. Long live the Love!
Verity Louisa is a weaver of words, a spinner of stories, and a forger of fantasy. She is a fabricator of fables, a maker of magic, and a lover of legend. She is a creator of mess and of laughter, a crafter of tears and of tantrums. She is a mystic mama. She is a woman-child who loves fiercely and drinks deeply from the cup that bears the sweet nectar of the profound. She lives in a beautiful British Celtic county, and embraces life here with open arms, because its ancient rhythms pulsate and resonate through her. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter or via her website.