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Modern romance

by: Stacey Waterman - Last updated: 2003-11-24

Being romantic

Time for romance

In the 21st century world we are governed by industry and innovation, life is lived very much in the fast lane. Entrepreneurs are at every corner creating money spinning ventures in a quest to make our lives easier, the 9-5 has lengthened to more of a grind and dating is becoming an interactive shopping experience.

In the merry-go-round of life we live in - where has all the romance gone?

If we're not working, we're sleeping. If we're not seeing family and friends then we're busy being body beautiful and house beautiful. On Saturday's we'll rush around getting our errands done with enough time to get home to see Pop Idol before embarking on yet another fun-filled Saturday night, where us thirtyish, single and happy souls brush shoulders with our married and nearly married friends in the hope that our eyes may meet that of another thirtyish, single and happy soul across a crowded room. What happens next? In true black and white Hollywood movie style, we'll meet halfway, have a chat, start dating, exchange family stories and secret love notes and the rest will become history!

Not so! Sadly we live in an environment where talking to a stranger face to face is as rare as talking to a stranger on the tube. Perhaps it's the Anglo-Jewish way of us Londoners? Seemingly we are hesitant to engage in conversation with unknown members of the opposite sex, quite different in comparison to the social behaviour of Americans, Australians and South Africans. Perhaps it's a London attitude appropriate to the cold environment that we live in.  The fact that we would rather wait for an "introduction" through a mutual friend before embarking on polite chit chat with a stranger is evidence enough.

Is it because we can't be bothered to shout above the music trying to be heard, or simply because we can't be bothered?

Have the days of eyes locking across a crowded room been replaced with the convenience of internet dating?

Is internet dating more of a hindrance than a convenience?

You know the score. You walk into a friend's party at a swanky London club, lots of thirtyish, single and happy people hanging out with their married and nearly married friends.  Your first thought is that it you recognise most of the faces in the room. Of course you do. Mostly from the party you went to last week and plenty from the popular internet dating sites you frequent in your spare time (i.e. your lunch hour). Half of those you've shared random e-mails with and the other half you've been on one date with and realised "nice guy/girl but not for me". That's not to mention those you've chatted with, haven't a clue what they look like, but they know who you are! Fear not, because as much you think you recognise everyone in the room, have a little hope, there could be a potential mate lurking in every corner.

Once upon a time we would do things the old fashioned way. We'd be attracted to someone's physical features, conduct a conversation face to face and then make a date to get to know them better. Remember how romantic it was going on that first date with someone you briefly met and "clicked" with last weekend?

Nowadays, due to technology and our hectic lifestyles, we spend endless hours chatting online, engaging in a level of conversation that keeps our facial expressions and true thoughts hidden behind emails. We'll generally "click" (pardon the pun) with lots of suitable candidates only to finally meet and realise there is unfortunately no physical chemistry. Internet dating however does have its benefits. As well as  discovering people not seen since 1988 it can be a great confidence builder when getting back into the driving seat if having been in coupledom for a while.

We all wish for a great romance to come along and knock us sideways, yet putting ourselves out there has never been so premeditated. By buying into the conveniences of internet dating, we have allowed all romance to simply fly out the window and our quest for love has become a numbers game. That's not to say that it isn't good fun and well worth doing but let's still use our animal instincts and depend upon the initial powers of physical attraction as a tried and trusted old fashioned method of finding love!

We need to remember that finding love is also about romance. It's about passion and fun and being fearless. If we see an inspiring face across a crowded room let's be 16 again and go and say hello. Let's be bothered to shout across the music and be fearless enough to see if there is a spark, take a number and take it from there. We all need to believe in old-fashioned romance a bit more and rely on our instincts as well as our PCs.

To quote from a truly romantic film, Breakfast at Tiffany's ..

"People do fall in love, people do belong to each other. Because that's the only chance anybody's got for real happiness"

Finally with Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard in mind let's increase our chances of finding love and romance by giving our keyboards a rest, getting out more and letting our personalities do the talking.