How To Be Romantic

Are Boomer women the last witnesses of the Romantic Generation? Many of us had parents with real love stories. Our mothers worked and waited while our fathers were in the service. My parents wrote daily letters to each other for the four years my dad was stationed at a base and then sent overseas. They teased, flirted, and planned for the future. And when the men returned from war, they resumed being husbands, fathers, and breadwinners.They did not sit in front of a computer and masturbate their brains out. They may have had Playboy, which Hugh Hefner started in 1953, and they appreciated curves Marilyn Monroes of course, Ava Gardners, and Nellies in South Pacific but they didnt have the time or privacy to spend on porn.Coming of age in the 1960s and 1970s during the sexual revolution and free love, we had different courtships than our parents. Thanks to the pill, we had multiple partners. No one was romantic. But everyone said I love you, and then moved on. Still, when we married we thought it might be forever and that growing old with our partner would be kind of like tripping without the chemicals.Porn was prevalent, but it was on paper. I didnt like it, so I took the liberty of throwing it out when I found my husbands stashes. He just bought more and hid it better. Still, I didnt have to wonder where he was when we made love. He seemed to know who I was in bed until he began spending more time with his computer than with me. By the time we had to sleep in separate beds because of his snoring and my migraines, he no longer bothered with cuddling or even conversation in our big bed before taking off for his snoring room. What loyalty did he have for a wife when he could have any woman he wanted on the Internet?
A recent New York magazine issue was dedicated to porn and junior-high culture, the vanishing male libido, and the Google of smut. Articles describe several phenomena that are a result of todays easy access to porn and overexposure to smut. The average age at which kids see porn online is 11-years-old. By middle school, young girls are expected to replicate what young boys are seeing in x-rated videos on the Internet.By the time young men are seriously dating, in their mid-20s say, online porn viewing has become so habitual that it is difficult for them to keep their focus on having sex with an actual woman. Instead of sex being a step in a relationship, its almost an impediment to a relationship. Men are bored with real women and want to get back to their Internet female fantasies. And women are bored with men not being able to perform on the basis of feelings as well as chemistry, and with men expecting them to be super sluts. Time will tell if this will affect the youngest generation in terms of marriage and childbearing. But I feel concerned for my four granddaughters who are being raised on Cinderella and Disney princess fantasies. They are going to expect romance, but they're very unlikely to get it. The pornography industry already has larger revenues than Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo, Apple and Netflix combined. Is there a chance in hell that my granddaughters will be wooed and courted and be in a relationship where sex can be enjoyed as something a couple in love does, without it being a cue to go straight to the computer and masturbate?

Still, I can tell them about their great grandparents who were married for 66 years and show them the letters. In one of them, my father writes to my mother that he is disappointed by how stupid the men get after theyve been drinking. They start yelling out rude things about women and are downright disrespectful. He couldnt tolerate their behavior. But then he had the best gal in the world waiting at home for him.

My father, who died 4 years ago, was the first thing my mother, who died just weeks ago, thought about when she woke up and the last thing before going to bed. In her mind, they had just gotten married and he was in the service. It was frustrating that she didnt always remember that her husband loved her even more as they got older. He was such a romantic he sent flowers to school for his daughters on Valentines Day.

What would he make of cybersex addiction? He would not approve.

Judy Kirkwood thanks her parents for their long marriage.

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