At one time, romance was considered liberating

June 22, 2011

Even though it’s not officially been designated by the calendar as the summer season, all the signs of a lazy, hazy time are making their faces known.

You’ll notice an influx of tourists descending on the peninsula. Parking spots disappear on the weekends, and hotel rooms are booked up. There are waiting periods for dinner at your favorite local restaurant. And that’s a good thing.

Oh, sure, there are behavioral problems that surface too. Things like people taking off their shoes, not to walk barefoot through the sand, but to bash those dreaded parking meters. There is nothing like a grown man cursing and back talking to a metal pipe with a dome on it that has a red marker blinking the word “expired.”

And there are those strolling the Boardwalk in what surely must be some kind of mix-up in their attire before they left the house. Either that or they no longer are in possession of a mirror. How cool is it to see a person shopping in a bathing suit without enough material on it to even cut out a sample for a person’s DNA. Apparently the cover-up has gone the way of the contact paper we used to put up over the kitchen sink in our one-bedroom apartments. It was always fake brick or ivy.

Not that I am complaining, because there are plenty of faces of summer that spell the whole ambiance of relaxing and enjoyment.

My favorite is perhaps the summer romance. You know it has been regaled in songs and movies forever. Holding hands and walking along a moonlit beach are all part of the nostalgia of the promises of things to come. Check out the personals; it was the first thing on the favorite thing to do list.

The summer romance carried the thrill and mystery of knowing someone briefly while you were away on vacation. Many of these romances would die of natural causes when the summer ended. Some romances would flourish and go on to bigger commitments.

But there are no signs of a summer romance anymore. I don’t mean you have to get blotto and act like the cast of “Jersey Shore.” But please, just an arm around someone. I would settle for a couple even looking at each other. Oh, I did see one cute young couple holding fingers, but that turned out to be a gang sign. It used to be that romance was considered liberating. Couples sat on blankets, strumming guitars, wearing headbands and calling on the government to, well, not even they knew what they were protesting, once the song stopped.

I do know that eventually these same couples, once the medicinal tea wore off and their parents stopped payment on checks, went on to become successful lobbyists and yacht brokers.

Then there was the whole sexual revolution, which most of the country missed, since this was before the invention of Viagra. So no one knows what that means anyway; I seriously think it caused the emergence of the belly button. The belly button became the receptacle in young women for vodka to be poured into and drunk while celebrating happy hour in seaside bars.

But now, we have a new phase that could really crush the whole concept of a summer romance. And that is the new technology of never meeting each other in person. Men and women either fax the romance, or if you happen to be a senator or representative, tweet each other. I have no idea what that means either.

Physical contact has gone the way of the hula hoop, the poodle skirt, the Sony Walkman, the Pet Rock, good manners and other antiquated ideas. There are no longer any ears to whisper sweet nothings into either. They either have an iPod plugged into them or the hearing loss prevails from too many heavy metal concerts.

But there is hope. A summer romance will always make a comeback. I somehow suspect there cannot be a summer without Frank Sinatra’s “Summer Wind” in the near future.

  • 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.