Wednesday, 6 January 2010

The Dearth of Romance

So, I have not written in awhile and as time rolled on, it became increasingly difficult to reign in the pull to different directions and other interests, however, here I am.

I would wish you a happy new year but I'm sure that everyone you know, down to their comatose great-grandmother has wished you one, even those that hope you do not have one, which makes me reluctant to add my voice to the chorus.

It took a few minutes for me to decide on the title to this post – 'death' or 'dearth', 'death' or 'dearth', 'death' or 'dearth' – and I settled for 'dearth' because I believe romance exists, not as much as it should, not as pure as it used to be, not as sweet as it can be, but it does. Besides, I do not want those hidden blog warriors to have a fit, after all, its a new year and I have to conform to convention in some form or another.

Years ago (and by that I mean many, many moons ago) and growing up, one could go out and end up in a romantic encounter. Boy meets girl or vice versa. They exchange telephone numbers. They spend countless hours on the telephone just chatting, day dreaming, exchanging slum books, always hanging around their houses or those of their friends in order to catch a glimpse of one the other with hearts ready to jump out the throat and it usually did, even though the girl or boy lives just a street or two away. Juvenile? I think not. The reality was just different then.

Today, boy meets girl or vice versa. They exchange telephone numbers. They spend countless hours on the telephone just chatting, that is after the girl 'flashed' the boy, they have lunch at Tantalizers where boy foots the bill, girl asks for some money to recharge her card, and then for some more to catch a taxi home (this is the girl who alighted from an okada an hour ago).

Or you take an evening out. You see a red hot girl and you dance with her. Its going all too well and you realise you're on the wrong path after you buy her the second drink and she asks if she would be going home with you. While we're on the topic, does anyone know of any place in Lagos where you can have a nice evening out and you don't have to be wary of your dancing partner?

Before you say it is a Naija thing I do believe its not local to Nigeria. I have been out to dinner many times and seen my companions make no move to pay. Of those that have offered and I accepted, one looked like she was going to cry.

But (yes, I know, never start a sentence with 'but') romance is not dead. There are still people who look each other in the eye and smile without uttering a word. There are those you go out with who will fill you with comfort and display old fashioned consideration. The smile in their eyes and the softness of their voice. Their self-consciousness just because you're looking at them. The text messages that make you smile. The time they have for you and your thoughts. The longing for the voice of the other. The exchange of songs, mostly meaningful. Voices that have a special melody to them. Peculiarities, idiosyncratic ways that are cute. No, they do not ask for recharge cards but rather purchase one for you when you run out of credit. They sometimes take you out and buy you lunch.

There is a dearth, however, it is not dead.