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Is Romantic Love an Illusion?
Romantic Love: Is it Just Hype?
‘I clothed him in the colour of my longings’.—Anonymous
We have been programmed by our culture as well as love on the screen and in love songs to view love as the major solution to our problems. Once we find it, we will gain the ultimate happiness.
The eyes of women all over the world are filled with longings of misty romance that never fades. Not even the female favourite ‘Mills and Boon’ books offer the kind of men women really long for. The formula male in these novels is gruff and rude and arrogant before he falls for the charms of the heroine.
The Takarazuka Revue – Feeding the Illusion of Romantic Love
So where do women find Mr. Right except in their dreams?
Japanese women find it in the much celebrated Takarazuka revue in Japan.
The revue is a group of women who play male roles as well as female roles. Being female, they clothe the men they play in the colour of their longings. These men are the romantic ideals of the predominantly female audience who sit enraptured through the performance.
“It’s really a very stylish and glittering affair” says Mrs. Chizuru Yamada. “The most popular productions are those that feature Cleopatra and Marie Antoinette. Women love to watch these shows because here their romantic dreams come true. That’s because women know what they want from a man and so bring to the portrayals these very qualities. Gentleness, sensitivity, reliability are some of them.Reality is very different. And the curious thing is that these women don’t marry. If they did their female fans would feel very let down. It’s like when a favourite male movie star gets married.”
How to Avoid the Trap of Romance
Perhaps we all harbour unrealistic expectations about romance, idealizing it till the bubble bursts. This is usually because we see what we want to see in the opposite sex. We clothe them in the colour of our longings. Best-selling author Dr. Alan Loy McGinnis suggests the following criteria in the choice of a mate who won’t eventually let you down.
Love and compatibility are different things. Compatibility implies that we share something in common to build the relationship upon. You may be fascinated by your mates’s exotic appeal. He may be so different from you,or from such a different background that you are attracted by it.
But these very differences could turn you off him later on.
Sometimes it’s the challenge of a stranger. A stranger always seems more like Mr. Right than someone who is a childhood friend. Yet it is usually the latter that is a safer bet. You can always clothe a stranger in the colour of your longings. You don’t know him enough not to.
Secondly, don’t expect your mate to make up for your own shortcomings. If you’re an alcoholic,marrying an abstainer won’t cure you. If you’re the weak, dependent sort, marrying the strong one won’t cure you either.
Watch out for fascination with evil. We all know the appeal of Samson and Delilah, Catherine and Heathcliff , Oedipus and Jocasta in literature. We also know that some women find arrogant and charming men attractive.
Both good and evil are possible when a man and a woman come together. And whereas evil is always a little interesting, good can sometimes become boring.
Look for a happy person. The surest way to doom a marriage is to marry a miserable wretch out of pity. Beware of the person whose life centres
around you and who is happy only when he is with you. It can be a heady feeling to be thus wanted,but it will become suffocating and restricting later on.
It is time then to stop projecting our romantic ideals on our mates. It is time to take a new look at romantic love and break the mould. Unrealistic expectations almost always suffer realistic falls.