I’m definitely no expert in love, sex or romance. After all, I’ve only ever been in a series of short, failed relationships and I’ve certainly never been “in love.”
But as someone who grew up watching Disney movies and maybe loves rom-coms just a little too much, I’ve always been infatuated with the idea of “romance.” Getting swept off your feet, falling in love at first sight—these are the kinds of moments I’ve always yearned for. Despite the desire for romance being so prevalent in my life, I never really thought about what that word truly meant until recently.
For so much of my life, I thought romance could only be acted out in the form of big heartfelt gestures—think Mr. Darcy’s proposal to Elizabeth in the pouring rain kind of big. I really believed that these big gestures were the standard of romance too and it would consistently leave me feeling disappointed and insecure when my romantic partners and situations wouldn’t live up to the expectations that I created in my head. Am I just not good enough for him? I’d think on so many occasions that it’s kind of embarrassing to admit.
And while some of my past relationships were certainly lacking in the romance department at times, as I’ve gotten older—and especially as I’ve worked on Love, Sex and Romance…? —I’ve come to see things differently. I’ve realized that my delusions, although sometimes valid, were standing in the way of all the little romantic moments that do exist in my life. It’s been beautiful to see that romance can be found in the small things, like a friend noticing that you’ve had an especially hard day and doing something sweet to help you out. Or it doesn’t have to include anyone else at all.
I’m a firm believer that “romanticizing your life” is not just a TikTok trend and that slowing down to enjoy the wonders of the little things, like making yourself your favourite coffee every morning, can be romantic.
And while working on this issue has helped me realize all the small ways in which romance can be expressed in our everyday lives, it still hasn’t given me a true definitive explanation as to what the word actually means—but that’s OK, I’ve come to the conclusion that getting the answer isn’t all that important.
I wanted to explore the idea of romance because it’s constantly evolving and the proliferation of hook-up culture, dating apps and even social media have certainly changed the way Generation Z thinks about the elusive feeling. Romance is a broad topic and what it means can vary from person to person, relationship to “situationship” and beyond—but that’s part of what makes it so rich and exciting to explore.
I believe there are a number of students who may also be wondering the same things as me about the phenomenon that is “modern romance.” Does it even exist today?
Sure, these are daunting topics and we’re asking questions that no one really has the answers to but figuring out what romance means to you is part of the fun—especially because it’s such a personal experience.
I hope this issue will make people smile, laugh and may even cause them to shed a (happy) tear or two.
But most of all, I want this issue to be a reminder that, while this generation’s stance on love can be difficult to navigate, romance is alive, well and isn’t dead after all.