My all time favorite line from a movie comes from Love Jones the African American romance of the year 2000. Darius the male lead says
“Romance is about the possibility of the thing. You see, it’s about the time between when you first meet the woman, and when you first make love to her; When you first ask a woman to marry you, and when she says I do. When people who been together a long time say that the romance is gone, hmm hmm…what they’re really saying is they’ve exhausted the possibility.
When a girl-friend recently asked “how does one learn to be romantic” I immediately thought of all the terrible attempts guys make at it. And how she would probably be trying to get some romance out her man.
The African man has always copied (and generally unsuccessfully) most of the Western trends. Romance is just one of the many trial and error cases.
One would think that with globalization and the rate at which western movies flock our markets, the guys would be getting intensive training; one would be wrong! It seems they see but don’t feel, defying the possibility of romance.
They would see the fact that the guy in the movie bought the girl a card, however, they don’t get that it was the message written in it and not the gift itself that won the girl. Result: You’ll probably see a guy buying you a valentine’s card for your birthday and when you ask? “Dear its valentine for us every day na!” Or worse… they buy a card with some banal or inappropriate message that reads like a stereotypical message.
Worst case to date: If God could tell you how much I love you, then you would know how much I love you.
Now tell me, how is a reasoning gal supposed to respond to that?
Well we could always pretend the “love” has addled their brains, leaving them unable to communicate properly!
But no, the African form of romance could be seen best portrayed in a Nollywood movie’s love scene. Here you see the hero feeding his beloved ice cream (be the weather sunny or not), taking the girl to dress shop and buying her a complete wardrobe ( with accessories of course), taking her to the pool and doing more kissing than swimming!
You would notice however that in all these scenes there is little or no communication (apart from “I love you’s” and pet names like “honey boo” and “sweetheart” of course).
And isn’t that what romance is all about? *In a drawn out sarcastic voice*
If you missed the Sarcasm, NO that is not what romance is about. Those things could be romantic depending however on how, when and why they are done.
You see romance or the art of courtship is an attempt to express what mere words cannot say, how you feel what the other person means to you. Most often one is romantic unintentionally, it’s not something you can copy. For of course we are all unique the ways we express ourselves too.
As much as buying her a new wardrobe would get a girl to like you, it doesn’t necessarily say “I love you”, I simply say’s I have money to spend on you!
And rather than spewing out I love you, I love You and I love you all the time, let your actions show it, Or try telling her why you think you love her… it would be easier to believe something is when you know why!
This may seem one-sided, like I’m preaching only to the guys, but the fact is I am. Most women don’t have this problem. Not only do they communicate more (sometimes to the point of too much) most of us have been socialized to care more, while the way we express how we care for someone may differ we mostly set the tone for romance.
The fact is I’m preaching to the African men in particular because our own case goes beyond “Men are from Mars Women are from Venus”. Perhaps it is because Western history has the tradition of men receiving dowry from their wives while Africa has that of men paying brideprice before getting their wives. Maybe that explains why the men across the equator have had more practice in romance/wooing the ladies, while the men here feel giving materially is as romantic as it gets? Just a theory! But whatever the reason may be there is a need for the African man to understand that being romantic is not a formula or a one act thing. It is not the number of sms you send to her phone but probably what is written in them. It is not merely taking her out and talking, but mostly what you talk about, It is not in the buying but what you buy, your gift shows just how much you know her…It is a reflection of how you feel.
That is why true romance never dies, as long as you still appreciate, love and care for that person, such romantic gestures as breakfast in bed come naturally.
But if the feeling is not there you can’t be Jack to her Rose or Romeo to her Juliet. But then maybe that is our problem? Maybe the real feelings are not there…