Note to St. Valentine: the media says love is dead

Read all about it…everywhere

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It’s Valentine’s Day again, and what better way to celebrate then by reading dozens of articles about why love is probably dead. The reason, according to silver-haired columnists around the world, is because of today’s youth and their unholy reliance on technology. Why is there so much texting, they all ask, and so little staring into the soulful abysses of your lover’s eyes?

In 2009, David Brooks at the New York Times may have well started the trend for curmudgeonly Valentine’s griping when he wrote this article. According to Brooks, Facebook, Twitter, online dating–even cellphones themselves–are to blame for sucking all the rose-tinted, candle-lit romance out of life and leaving only the cold, tasteless husks of a casual relationship in their place. Brooks suggests a return to the “Happy Days era” when “courtship was governed by a set of guardrails”. While Brooks seems to appreciate that Happy Days is a fictional television show set in a pre-feminist era, he still thinks it’s better than whatever young people are up to now: instagraming their love into oblivion, probably.

This year, the New York Times celebrated Valentine’s season by publishing this article about how technology and “group hangs” are ruining dating. For some reason, the author posits, young people who are strapped for cash and time are hesitant to go on expensive dates with strangers, and it’s a social nightmare. The author says that online dating and texting is also increasingly making dating complicated for the twentysomethings of today, whereas the twentysomethings of the past were totally romantically uncomplicated and knew exactly what they wanted all the time.

This article from the Huffington Post discusses how texting not only ruins romance, but romantic movies as well. Take An Affair to Remember, for instance. I mean, if Deborah Kerr could have sent Cary Grant a text message saying “srry, got hit by car, meet @ ESB tmrrw?” would those lovers have even been miserable? Beautifully, romantically miserable?

The National Post is so upset by the way you are communicating with your loved ones, that they’ve made “The Death of the Love Letter” their cover story. In the article, the author looks at love letters from the turn of the century and the Second World War – the Golden Age of love, apparently, when a woman could receive heartfelt letters to cherish while her lover was far away from her, dodging bombs and going to jazz clubs to dance with those loose European gals. This is far more romantic then an email because, according to the author, there is nothing seductive about sitting behind your desk typing. Your lover could be playing mindsweeper, or eating Cheetos while meditating on your beauty and charm, and that’s far less romantic than in 1905, when your lover would be writing with an ink pot and artfully dying of gangrene.

CNN has kindly wrapped up all the best talking points articles across the web that are ruining your Valentine’s Day. What these article all have in common, besides excessive metaphor and clumsy romantic allusions, is that every writer seems to feel profoundly sorry for the women of today.

As an unmarried twentysomething woman (a.k.a, a 21st century spinster, doomed to forever drink my own tears at casual “group-hangs”) let me ease your mind a little: we’re fine. Men still write women love letters, take them out on dates, buy them flowers and all that stuff, because they know that some women are into that. The only difference is that now, there are more choices. Choices about how to communicate, how to date and how to be in a relationship… and that is a modern advancement worth celebrating.




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Note to St. Valentine: the media says love is dead

  1. Couldn’t have said it better myself! If anything I think Pinterest is one giant romantic gesture, fully of advice about how best to execute your own, smaller, romantic gestures. I personally think romance was more dead before everyone knew how to make their own simple valentines day marshmallow pops. Thanks Mika. You rule!

  2. Yup, every generation thinks the generations following them are somehow headed for disaster in one way or another, predicting tragedies of all sorts. It’s so cliche that it’s, uh, cliche! LOL

    I think this 2300 year old quote makes the point too:

    “…Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers…” ~attributed to Socrates by Plato

  3. Mika,

    Old debate partner and new reader of your columns (whenever they come up on facebook). THANK YOU for finally saying in print what I yell at my computer every time I read another one of these articles. Romance is alive and well and no amount of texting, group hangouts or online dating is going to make it any less awkward, heartbreaking or real. Now can we go back to worrying about how the internet has ruined children’s attention spans and ability to learn or something?

  4. Great summary, but arrgh I’m going to be a wee grammar nazi:”that’s far less romantic then in 1905..”, should be than not then. Otherwise, I agree that all this fogey handwringing over dating norms is silly!

    • Thanks Derek! Fixed now.

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