Whenever anyone asks what my relationship status is these days, I answer that I'm on long-service leave. I'm taking a leave of absence from romance, a sabbatical to take stock, because through the eyes of an old-fashioned romantic like me, dating has become impersonal and impervious, little to do with relating and far too much to do with mating.
Watching friends bent over their smartphone swiping left or right on Tinder (left being a profile rejection), checking if anyone has "kissed" them lately on RSVP and sending racy Snapchat photos with flirty captions has left me thinking that romance is dead, buried beside respect in the poetic graveyard. Last week these very same friends were riveted to the final episodes of Channel 10's The Bachelor, all the while dismissing their own potential suitors at a glance on their phones during the ad breaks. I was watching too – often through splayed fingers – and agree it was riveting TV, albeit in an end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it way.
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