The overwhelming success of Fifty Shades of Grey has sparked a revolution in female writers and readers joining the bandwagon of exploit novels. There is no doubt women today are much more free to discuss the intricacies of desire and relationships more than ever before and in some ways this is a great thing. But the incredible rise to the heights of a novel based on the physical is a great source of objective thinking and does it reflect the sign of our times?
Over the years the greatest romantic novels and films have touched our hearts, brought tears to our eyes and most of the time led to a fairy tale ending. Gone with the Wind, Dr Zhivago, Wuthering Heights, Love Story are all past successful epics of their time and beyond. They all have been threaded with the same colour cotton, beautiful and sometimes sad or eventful stories intertwined with heroines, heroes and a love line which beats up and down and round and round. Centred around love and passion, they have brought to screen or book the feeling that love is the defiant warrior and that it will survive somehow and in some way. They also have been reflective of our way of thinking and society at the time and how men and women view relationships. So is the romance of partnerships something we do not get excited about anymore?
Deep down most women want the same and few do not want the romance to go with the good guy. Of course physical playtime and attraction are part of it but there is also a great queue of women awaiting the rose on Valentine’s Day or the poem filled card ,.And over time the male hero in stories has always been shown as a little of the swashbuckling hero or the knight in shining armour. Films and books where the man has whisked his girl from the depths of her poor life and existence or have been portrayed as strong and ready to fight for her honour, have captured the hearts of most with wistful sighs. The strangest thing is not all women nowadays wish to admit it. In a world of powerful women rising in all career and society areas, few women cite romance as the big attraction and yet will ooze excitement over romantic extravaganzas such as George Clooney's wedding, but not the olden day Romeo, who will let nothing stand between him and his love .
Has it resulted in confused men that they no longer know which direction to go? They are surrounded in the media with women who have successful careers, who earn fortunes and can easily fund their own shopping sprees and home ownership and in the work place are shown to be powerful and equal in many places. We are shown many more men taking on roles in society of house husbands and Mannie’s (male nannies) more and more frequently? Are the men now thinking with a more “equal” head got in their minds that women do not want to be treated like princesses and showered with a wave of impetuous and spontaneous gestures?
Have they now become slightly hesitant and therefore they hang back and wait or cast the thought aside that their partner would not enjoy such efforts or even worse criticise their wayward thinking? Some romance and especially around wedding planning is of course prevalent, but the confusion in how far it goes still remains blurred.
Romance is part of the courtship procedure, very often it is the little things which become memorable in the later years and part of the growth together. It is something to be celebrated and shared in every relationship. The evidence is there as Scarlett O'Hara may have come across as a bit of a bossy boots, and free and independent thinking woman, soon melts when her handsome suitor showed his feelings openly. It is of course part of our world that women have thankfully found a voice and are able to succeed and a lesson to be learnt and treasured, but as in everything the balance between two people and understanding what each other wants is just as important. There are very few women on the planet who will discard the gift of a surprise bouquet or even a bunch of flowers from the supermarket, there are few women who do not wish to be treated with respect and kindness and few who wish their partner to shy away from opening a door, or arranging an unexpected trip away. It can always be said that partnerships should grow together and be equal in many ways and if the guys get the romance right, they may find they have become the hero of ages past and that their princess in the tower will actually let her hair down much more often than he has ever dreamt !