Have you ever watched a teen drama on television? Shows like Pretty Little Liars, 90210 (the original, of course), the Fosters (one of my recent Netflix addictions) all have a particular thing in common when it comes to portraying romance. I’m talking about the grand gesture. Teenagers feel everything very deeply and intensely, and that’s very much portrayed in their actions, especially when it comes to dating. From artfully planned prom proposals, to elaborate first date excursions, and grand declarations of love, these teenagers are killing it in the dating game, and frankly making the rest of us look bad.
When was the last time you embarked on a grand gesture when it came to romance? Or the last time you were on the receiving end of one? In the time of Tinder, ghosting, sexting and keeping things casual, the art of the grand gesture has become a relic, found only in dating stories of days gone by, sweet romantic comedies usually featuring British actors, or in teen drama binge watching sessions. These days people are barely giving each other second dates, let alone running into each other’s arms in the pouring rain, chasing each other through airports for one final goodbye, or planning an extravagant rooftop, twinkle lit and rose petal covered dinner for a first date. Frankly, I find it depressing.
I may not be the most romantic soul around, but I think there’s a lot to be said for going the distance for the sake, or even just the potential, of love. A grand gesture doesn’t always have to be big and flashy, or mind bogglingly sweet and romantic. What it should be is meaningful, effort filled and with the intention of making that special someone feel, well, special. Half the time, we don’t even know if the person we are dating is even all that into us, so devoid of depth their actions can be. That’s not necessarily an intentional slight – I don’t think people are going out into the world meaning to be tepid in their affections, and as a result, their actions. I think that in this day and age, with the amount of choice we have when it comes to how we met people, and the ease of which we can meet new person after new person, results in a natural inclination to the superficial. If you’re dating someone, but know that so many more people are not only out there, but potentially more compatible, and most of all, easily accessible, then why would to spend the time and energy necessary to execute a grand gesture of romance. Why also, in the culture of selfishness that we currently exist in, would we enact a grand gesture for another person, without knowing with one 100% certainty that those efforts will be reciprocated?
It would appear that in 2016, we have been trained to cut and run when things get too hard, and to only stay in a relationship that makes us happy 100% of the time (because THAT’S realistic). As a result, we are barely giving our relationships a chance to truly mature, let alone reach a level where the idea of making a grand gesture could take hold and come to fruition. Making a grand gesture means taking a chance, and usually a big one. These days, that’s not something that people are willing to do. I definitely considered myself one of those people, but recently I decided to take a chance, without knowing where it would lead, but just for the sake of doing it. I made what was a pretty grand gesture for me, and I’m so happy to have done it. What was it you ask? Maybe I’ll tell you the story sometime…
In the meantime, look for opportunities in your own life to bring back the concept of the grand gesture. Start small, maybe by asking someone out if you’ve never done it before, or planning a thoughtful date, or, if you’re brave enough, making a spectacular public display. The worst that can happen is it’s not reciprocated, but it the end, is that really so bad? We need to stop worrying about our own selfish fears; they’re only holding us back. Step outside yourself and do something you wouldn’t normally do. You’d be surprised what can happen.