Is There A Time Limit On Romantic Gestures?


If we’re going by the lives panned out in my favourite movies and TV shows, love always has some form of happy ending.

Whether it’s Ross and Rachel finally getting together at the close of the F.R.I.E.N.D.S. series or Heath Ledger pacing up and down the steps, whilst breathlessly singing ‘I Love You, Baby,‘ to Julia Styles in 10 Things I Hate About You. Love, or so it seems, always finds a way.

No matter the length of time passed, time and time again Rom Com’s demonstrate love as a  rather straightforward picture. That two people who adore one another, and cannot live without one another, must somehow make their way back to it all at some point in their lives, but I’d like to debunk this theory, if only for my own sanity.

Romantic films paint the picture that somehow, and often even in difficult predicaments, love always prevails. However, in reality, an outlandish gesture of love is just that, a gesture. While running halfway across town in an attempt to woe your lover and confess your undying love may work in the movies, it’s almost creepy when acted out in real life. Take my word for it. A hopeless romantic and a cynic wrapped tightly like an uneaten burrito, I struggle tremendously with relationship social cues. The whole ‘do I or don’t I?’ scenarios play in my head a thousand times over, until I’ve convinced myself that acting on it would be a terrible idea for everyone involved. That is until I reach a point where faking it doesn’t quite do the trick anymore, and I’m forced to act out the great scenes presented to me in my favourite romance movies.

A wise woman once told me, “You’ve got to shoot your shot, even if the ball comes hurling back at your head.” And while I agree that sure, you should take any opportunity you see fit, I don’t know that I agree wholly. Desperate and finally sure of what I wanted, I did the stupidest thing I’ve ever done in this life, ‘for love’. Yuck. Taking a page out of Carrie Bradshaw’s book, I journeyed half across London at stupid’o’clock to see if there was even a morsel of love left for me. Unsure of what I’d even say when I reached said destination, I knew that I had to make some sort of impact to prove that I did care and I wasn’t just an inconsiderate asshole. But looking back, though I won his heart and the battle was successful, the war was long lost as a result of my terrible timing. Had I realised what I realised that night just one month earlier, I imagine things would have been readily fixed and the pieces to our puzzle, fitting together nicely.

Timing is a concept that has always fascinated me. Whether it be racing to get a task done before the microwave beeps thrice or asking someone where their dress is from, before they exit the train doors of the underground. Timing is an interesting construct. Missing the mark and or not hitting your window will probably always be the thing that I mull over in situations, where I could have repaired relationships sooner. Timing comes with a few pitfalls and while they say that it is the greatest healer, we often bypass the fact that some wounds heal quickly, while others continue to bleed out.

As always, I had a group discussion whereby I brought up the topic of relationships and how they tend to begin. The results while rather humourous left me with more to mull over. In the case of hetero relationships, becoming ‘official’ is usually initiated by the male party and we’re led to believe this because when a man makes his mind up about the woman he wishes to be with, then it’s a done deal. Though most women may be ready and open to being a part of his world, it’s never truly her decision. Not really. If asked prematurely, she risks being told that things are simply moving too fast or that the pair hasn’t quite reached that peak yet. Sad, but true. Being a woman and cocksure of your love for someone, mean little to nothing if the male counterpart is still working his way through the early stages of a not-really-a-relationship. Take my beloved Carrie Bradshaw for example, when she realised that she still loved and missed Aidan, she shot her shot in a way that taught us everything we need to know about women and unsuccessfully shooting a shot. Turning up at his apartment with stones and a mini-speech prepared, Carrie was met with disdain and her efforts to win back the man she loved, shattered to pieces. Why? Because it’s only romantic when you’re hitting the exact right moment in the lover’s timeline.

Evidently, my mind plays on the assumption that everyone in the world has seen Sex and The City, so for those of you who haven’t the foggiest what I’m on about:


Stubborn as I am, it always takes me that little bit longer to divulge into how I’m really feeling about situations and I’m routinely late to parties I should have RSVP’d to months prior. It’s a tricky concept to grasp and sure I may tell my counterparts to speak their minds freely and without fear of judgement, I can never quite take the same advice. It’s difficult dammit.

Carrie’s romantic gesture, much like my own can also backfire. While contacting an old love to reconnect and refuel the flame may seem a good idea at the time, texting someone to accompany you on a midnight walk is rarely the good idea that you go with. Because the reality of romantic gestures wears off rather quickly when the other party isn’t quite on the same page. Something that trips me up every. single. time. I mean, sure, no two people can be expected to be on the exact same page when starting afresh, but the novels make it seem so. As though adoration conquers all, and everything is immediately fixable following this grand gesture.

Having binge-watched YOU, I wasn’t at all flabbergasted when the main character Joe’s attempt to win back Beck worked. Why wouldn’t it? Every TV show tells us that while women can make the effort and attempt to win someone back, it doesn’t always work. But with men, the green light to continue, rebuild and unpause where you left off, is almost always on.

Perhaps there is a time limit of romantic gestures and their validity, perhaps we’ll always have to make idiots of ourselves before we get our answer and perhaps the train has just left the station on all the scenarios you wish to mend; be they friendships or relationships. But one thing is for sure, I’ve certainly hit my peak for grand gestures…

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