Where Has All the Romance Gone?
With Valentine’s Day just a few days away and the release of a MUCH anticipated movie I could not help but ponder what it is about the 50 Shades of Gray series that has awakened such a passion in married women? Literary erotica and romance novels are not a new concept. They have been around for centuries but never before have I seen so many women fall head over heels for a series of books. This same type of mass hysteria took place with the Twilight series when thousands of married women in their 30’s and 40’s became captivated by the series brooding and heroic protagonist, Edward Cullen.
A friend recently asked me why I thought the 50 Shades books had received so much attention. I was a little stumped as to why since I did not feel the author was a great writer. But then I got the stomach bug (trust me I am going somewhere with this) and about an hour after I got it so did my four year old. So began one of those awful nights all of us moms have endured where we need to somehow overcome our own misery to take care of our children. My husband really stepped up and slept on the couch so he could get up with our daughter when she got sick, and in theory I could stay in bed. Of course I got up each time as well to help but I did not have to deal with it alone. He did four loads of laundry that night and let me stay in bed that morning for an extra two hours.
When the haze of the night began to clear I thought about how sweet it was that he had done that. What a great husband and father he is, how romantic… wait, is that really romance? Unfortunately these days that is about as much romance as I get. The toll of being married for 12 years and being parents above anything else, has definitely taken away from the romantic part of our marriage. But regardless of how long you are married or whether or not you have children, the definition of romance seems to have changed a great deal. I have written before about old fashioned romance being dead and how as women we need to look for the romance in every day gestures, such as staying up all night to take care of a sick child. But by accepting these as romantic gestures, we may have the set the bar too low.
Appreciating small gestures is important but has everyday romance been fictionalized so much that we no longer expect it in our real lives? In Twilight, Edward Cullen has searched the world over and no woman has captured his heart until he meets Bella Swan; a clumsy, self conscious, ordinary teenager who turns out to be the one person in the whole world that gives Edward a reason to live.
In 50 Shades of Grey we are introduced to a character who is so damaged he does not believe in love until he meets Anastasia Steele, an awkward, seemingly innocent young woman who somehow opens Grey’s heart to the possibility of true love. At the core of both these novels are two very desirable men who could have any woman they want but they choose women who are not glamorous super models, but rather ordinary and real. They see such beauty within these women that they become goddesses; beautiful, strong, and confident. Who among us would not enjoy being put on a pedestal like the women in these books?
When our idea of romance is staying up all night together taking care of sick children it becomes easier to see why women feel the need to escape into these stories and why they desire to feel the passion the characters in these books feel.
So how do we raise the standards of romance in our own lives and bring back passion? I wish I knew the answer to this but I do know that nothing will change unless someone takes the first step. Maybe finding passion within ourselves will help us become more passionate in our relationships. Take up a new hobby such as photography or cooking, try a new fitness trend like hot yoga or Crossfit, or learn another language. Feel sexy again by getting a new hair style, getting new makeup, or a new outfit that makes you feel beautiful. Find your inner confidence and let it shine!
Do something spontaneous to surprise your spouse; cook a romantic dinner, plan an overnight without kids, or set up a boudoir photo session and share the images with him. Stir up life, step away from the mundane and maybe romance and passion can find its way out of the pages of our books and off the big screen, and back into our lives.
To get started finding your inner passion we are giving away a $50 Gift Certificate to Bella Rouge Cosmetic and Skincare Boutique in Clifton Park!