My day of watching US teen dramas including One Tree Hill, 90210, Glee, Gossip Girl and Hellcats (what can I say, it's been a long day...) has made me notice an area where real-life UK - and perhaps worldwide, although I couldn't be sure - youngsters are truly missing out.
'How's your love-life?' What a question. Whether it fills you with dread at the thought of having to post-mortem your most recent romantic failing, or instills selfish excitement at an opportunity to brag about quite how loved-up and sexually active you've been recently, it's likely that you are familiar with the cliche, or words to its effect.
So let me ask you this; tell me something romantic. Ah. Now you are stumped. Don't feel bad, I'm just trying to prove a point. Considering our screens are constantly dominated by rocks on a window pane, acoustic love songs in grimy bars and 'promise' rings, most young people are unlikely to be aware of anything more romantic than a tearful girl being accompanied to the pharmacy by the one-night-stand she pulled towards the end of the night after the condom he'd been carting around in his pocket for only God-knows-how-long didn't quite keep up its end of the bargain.
Don't get me wrong, I know that this doesn't apply to everybody out there, and it's the stories to the contrary that keep the romantic in me hopeful... But is it really too much to ask to meet a cute guy in the library who doesn't actually need five pints of snake-bite rotting his liver before he gets up the courage to ask what you're reading?
Recently, a friend of mine who was looking around a new house with his family couldn't help but notice just how pretty the girl was whose room he might end up moving into. She offered him a cup of tea, and they chatted about uni, smiling and flirting until the parents had satisfied their need to check every nook and cranny for damp etcetera. It was time to leave, so he left. Now, even he (who might well kill me for telling his story) couldn't help but tell me about her, admitting bashfully (which is quite becoming on said young man...) 'I can't get her out of my mind.'
Rather naively I suggested he go, knock on her door and tell her what he told me. Silly me, I seem to have forgotten that we don't live in a Hollywood chick-flick. 'Maybe I can pull her if she's out this weekend' was the response I got. Wow. And I was just about to believe in romance. Silly me indeed.
Then my friend went on to make a very valid point, 'I don't want her to think I'm some rapist-stalker, I couldn't just show up at her house even if I wanted to.' This struck me as so sad. I know that there are people out there who would fold their arms if a stranger approached them in a sober state. Heck, I know people who would do much worse than that, purely because it no longer seems to be the done thing to talk to strangers. Of course I understand being cautious, but one such companion of mine looked at me almost as if I'd come into her house on Christmas morning and urinated on her turkey when I greeted an unknown dog-walker with a kind, 'Hello' during an afternoon stroll. 'Do you know him? Who's he? Why did you say hi?' Once I'd explained that I didn't know or recognize the stranger, and that I was just being polite, the next bout of over-analysis began, 'Why did he say hi back? He must be weird. He'll probably follow us home now!' Oh, I wish I'd never bothered...
Obviously I am no enemy to the way in which technology has impacted communication; if I was, this blog wouldn't exist. However, I can't help but lament the ways in which some people seem to have donned it as a replacement rather than an enhancement to regular face-to-face interaction. The saddest thing is that this, along with the inability of so many to control their loins seems to have etched the message on Romance's tombstone. Romance Is No More.
I'm no prude, and I too can't help but hold a secret smile during a flirty text-fest. But I sometimes wish a guy would slide a note across my work desk, or expertly place a goodnight kiss which gives enough to leave me wanting more but not too much that my face could join my whites in the tumble dryer.
I totally am not trying to belittle those of you out there who love nothing more than assessing the quality of the zip on your PBD (Pulling Black Dress) as Drunken Hottie in a nightclub full of alcohol-fueled, sexually-charged males attempts to peel it off. In fact, at times I am sort of jealous about the fact that that's just not enough for me. Call me old-fashioned but I need a guy to prove he's worthy of my body before he can get his happy ending... and vice-versa.
Naturally, this means making a few sacrifices which would be far to much effort to euphamise in this blog, although I hope my readers are wise enough to understand what I mean. But for now, this kind of works for me...
Before you misunderstand me, I am not looking for a marriage contract, or even necessarily a relationship. Just an experience followed by no regrets and the thought that, 'Well, even if this goes no further, at least he showed some level of interest in me, some amount creativity and some element of not being a 'Would-Have-Settled-For-Anything-With-'Poon'-Toss-Pot' before the hot sex'.
So what's the message, the moral of the rant? Guys, next time you see a hot girl in the library, don't waste your time wondering if she is carrying mace in her colossal handbag. Don't avoid her front door in fear of being issued a restraining order. Don't add her to a list of hundreds of other girls on facebook then ignore her existence. Don't just text 'Hey :)' And before you think about it, don't even try to attempt to satiate your longing for the girl who caught your eye with the less-satisfying, vomit-covered, fake-tan-stained, broken-heeled wreck who no-one else wanted at two AM on your next night out.
Earn her body. Buy the roses. Write the poem. Play her favorite song. Ask what she's reading. I've always found libraries really sexy... who knows, you might get luckier than you ever expected. Plus isn't it a compelling challenge to walk the walk and, ahem, talk the talk without the aids of romance's two most evil slayers, technology and alcohol? Confidence is, after all, one of the greatest aphrodisiacs, so wear it proud.
I'll let you thank me when you're getting laid in the library stacks ;-)