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In danger of extinction Romance not seen as practicals

Sept. 25, 1996

In danger of extinction

Romance not seen as practical

The issue:

Americans no longer make time for romance.

Liberty

Lay

Lariat Staff Writer

Not long ago, a class discussion on romance presented us students with a most troubling question: Is romance in America dying?

Is it dying? you ask. My dear friends, I'm sorry; you must have missed the headlines. Romance in America is DEAD.

I realize that there are those (poor sentimentalists!) who might not agree that all evidence of old-fashioned fancifulness has disappeared, but they are a marginal portion of our total population. In the United States, the majority rules, and it's perfectly clear that the majority of Americans disdain romance.

The problem with romance, first of all, is that we just don't have time for it. Our society depends on instant communication, proved by the success of the fax and the Internet. Being so pressed for time, would we then squander valuable moments by comparing someone to a summer's day? I think not.

We rely on microwaves to nuke our single-serving meals in seconds flat. Can we then be expected to bake heart-shaped cookies for a special sweetheart? Forget it.

We're health-conscious enough to realize the advantages of 'peppy' walking and vigorous exercise. Why, then, should we waste our energy with slow, aerobically worthless strolls? Our advanced society has no place for such sentimental frivolities.

Yet, a number of starry-eyed dreamers believe that romance still exists in our great nation. In desperate attempts to prove their point, these pitiful individuals tend to distort reality now and then. By placing undue emphasis on insignificant events, they try to make a case for romance.

The flower idea, for example, is so ingrained in the psyche of romantics that they find a special meaning in even dead flowers.

When a sentimental friend of mine discovered rose petals pressed in the pages of my favorite book, she grew suspicious and demanded to know about them.

'Where are they from? Why did you save them? Were they from John?'

As usual, I had to set the record straight for the poor girl. I began with the assurance that I didn't remember anyone named John.

I explained that the flattened plant remains were my substitute for those expensive bookmarks and also an attempt to reduce the amount of garbage occupying much-needed landfill space. Alas, my friend refused to accept my logic.

But I am doing what I can to help my naive friend. Realizing that, as a romantic, she is likely to become a victim in our society, I have taken special care to warn her about that most ruthless, heartless and meaningless of holidays: Valentine's Day.

As you are well aware, February 14 is not an important date in history, but many misled romantics believe that the celebration of this day is vital. Sentimentalists like my friend are eager to send maudlin messages, often accompanied by unhealthy chocolate candy, to their loved ones. Little do they know that they are the victims of an elaborate plot conceived by Hallmark executives and enterprising dentists. It is a horrible abuse of the free enterprise system and a tragic victimization of the gullible members of our population.

We, the clear-thinking individuals of America, allow this abuse to continue because we are practical people. For us, the 15th of February provides an excellent opportunity to buy tasty confections at a bargain price. Although the glut of sugar bombs not purchased by Valentine victims is annoyingly imprinted with phrases like 'Be Mine' and 'Love Ya,' the discerning shopper can overlook these trivialities and save a lot of money. For us, it's just Halloween in February.

My friend, when I enumerated the proofs of her poor judgment and explained that romance is actually a thing of the past, was mortified. I am saddened by her inability to see that the truth is that Americans do not wish to involve them selves with mushiness and sentimentality. Perhaps she has already stopped to smell the roses one too many times.

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