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Summer romance may be an outdated concept

July 2, 2017

One of the great experiences of the summer, besides extricating gigantic metal fishing hooks from the bottom of your feet, is the summer romance. We know from the music industry that Patti Page and Frank Sinatra got it, something to do with sand dunes, salty air, and summer breezes.

Quite frankly, I don’t know what constitutes romance today. I know it used to be easily spotted just by seeing a couple holding hands, walking along the beach. However short-lived, everyone knew that eventually the summer romance went the way of Page and Sinatra, and the young couple would say their goodbyes as they went off to their opposite hometowns.

Usually they never reconnect, having come to their senses, “How in the world could I have dated....”; well, you get the idea. The couple has obviously matured beyond the ID bracelet and the duck tail hairstyle. Well, that, and a sudden look at those photos where both of them look like a remake of the Frankie and Annette movies. Today, with all the high-tech devices, you can find yourself falling in love by fax, and pretty soon I wouldn’t be surprised if the summer romance is outsourced to places like India or Vietnam.

So I recently watched young people strolling along the boardwalk, looking for signs of that summer romance. Believe me, this wasn’t easy, since most of them were exercising, which meant walking at 180 miles an hour, knocking over wheelchairs and walkers along their way. If they walked any faster, they would be air-borne and qualify for a pilot’s license. I think the way it works today is not by holding hands, though. Instead, those hands are wrapped around their back and shoved into each other’s back pocket. And then they don’t so much as stroll as hobble and sway side to side, sometimes obscuring the catchy sayings declared across their rear end.

See, this would never work for me. For one thing, my rear end is so large, the guy would need the reach of someone like NBA star LeBron James to reach around into my back pocket. And my height has shrunk to the point where you would need a metal detector to find me; I have a lot of metal replacement parts, so that part is pretty easy, although expensive. Plus I don’t really stroll, since I am now in that phase of my life where I tip over faster than a spinning top at any moment. I spend a great deal of time facing the asphalt. I just depend on momentum to keep me upright.

OK, maybe those people are too young to use as an example. Yes, I’ve seen older (but still considered young) adults display a much more mature attitude of probably what their idea of commitment and romance holds to be true for them.

They’ve learned to grasp the concept that you really have to take the time to get to know a person. They’ve come to the conclusion that the concept would best be expressed by lying on a bar and having shots poured into their belly button. And then, a lot of the young ones are forgoing the bar scene and using the internet for romance, after having woken up one morning in bed with the coat rack they had been dancing with the night before.

It seems the internet has its risky side too. With any social media, you really have to read between the lines. Things often sound great, “Saw your photo on Facebook and am very interested in young women of your type. No rush to meet. I’m considered rather good-looking, like to socialize and am currently studying law. Please respond to Cellblock D, San Quentin Penitentiary page.”

Perhaps we can look to the older generation to define romance. I’ve seen them sitting on the boardwalk bench, no words are spoken. Actually, that may be because even though it’s their spouse, they are not sure who the person really is; hey, it’s been 50 years, give them a break.

OK, I’m still not feeling the love, but I know it’s out there, and it is still summer. So go for those sand dunes, salty air and ... something else ... I just can’t remember.

  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.