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February 2013 / Bronx/​Riverdale Family / Brooklyn Family / Long Island Family / Manhattan Family / Queens Family / Staten Island Family

Why romance is dead

It was a fitful night at best. Colds and runny noses were running rampant among my brood and my youngest couldn’t sleep.

So together, we retreated to the living room couches at 4 am hoping to rest while watching TV. As he settled onto the sofa and pulled his Super Mario blankie up to his face, I knew he had dozed off, so I grabbed the remote as fast as I could because those Cartoon Network voices were grating on my clogged ears.

Switching to the OWN Network, I’d hoped to catch a good Dr. Phil repeat or something else that would distract me before my day would officially begin an hour later. I tuned into “The Nate Berkus Show” with his guest “Millionaire Matchmaker” Patti Stanger.

Stanger dished out dating advice at a moment’s notice, but grew visibly sullen when she was asked why she wasn’t married and where her millionaire was. Interesting. If I were single, that would probably be a clue that I shouldn’t follow her advice.

I noticed her tone and instructions were harsh. For example, one woman in the audience had been out on a first date and it apparently went well until the guy said he was interested in bird-watching. The woman was evidently so horrified that she didn’t know how to respond so she let him ramble about his sightings. Stanger’s advice: “Get up and say, ‘I can tell this won’t work, but if I find a friend who may be interested, I’ll give them your number,’ and then run away.” Stanger said the young lady was “too hot and single” to listen about bird-watching.

Yikes.

Was I in bizarro land? What happened to meeting someone you found interesting and sharing a quick bite to eat or a coffee? Now, it’s turned into abandon a person mid-meal if you don’t like his hobby. If you met a friend, a colleague, hell, even an acquaintance for a meal, you’d give him more courtesy than what she was advising.

Speaking of “hot,” in a mock-date improvement segment, one young man began his would-be date by telling her she was “hot” (after creepily staring her up and down). Mind you, this was the first thing he did and said.

I let out a quiet “eeew” in my darkened living room, but Stanger said, “Hot means sex, so he is looking at you sexually.” Then the woman replied, “Thank you.”

I couldn’t watch much after that, as I scratched my head wondering if this is really the advice that young people are getting now. I will accept neither my daughter saying “thank you” for being called hot, nor my son using the word “hot” in the first sentence he utters to a girl (unless it’s something like, “watch out, that pan is hot!”).

People wonder why romance is dead, and maybe it’s because so many of us have allowed common courtesy and decency to go by the wayside. Also, the fact remains that we teach people how to treat us, so if we settle for less, that is what we will get.

It reminds me of recent memo making the Internet rounds that says, “I often wonder if more girls were willing to be ladies, more guys would be challenged to be gentlemen.”

The challenge lies for both genders, and I hope it’s a challenge that we teach our next generation to take.

Danielle Sullivan, a mom of three, has worked as a writer and editor in the parenting world for more than 10 years. Sullivan also writes about pets and parenting for Disney’s Babble.com. Find her on Facebook and Twitter @DanniSullWriter, or on her blog, www.justwritemom.com.

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