A survey? How romantic!

Blah blah romance is dead, say The Express and The Mirror. Why?

Only nine per cent of those surveyed had ever sent a letter – and most of those were over 50 – while more than two-thirds prefer to say “I love you” by text.

An additional 24 per cent would rather send an email to express their feelings, while 14 per cent said they would post a message on their lover’s Facebook wall.

In further shocking news, very few couples surveyed courted via telegraph, and fewer still stood on hilltops furiously waving sweet nothings in semaphore. The Express quotes relationship expert Jo Barnett saying this shows that “[people] want an instant relationship with instant physical contact, they feel they’ve not got enough time to romance their partner” rather than the more immediately obvious conclusion that people are just sending fewer letters in general.

If the love letter is dead, then it seems male chivalry is also on its last legs as just four per cent of men said they would send flowers to their partner’s place of work. Only five per cent stand up when their partner stands from the dinner table, while only 12 per cent have booked a surprise weekend away.

This is the same rubbish that comes out every few months; pearl-clutching panic about how “chivalry is dead” (a phrase which appears 49 times on The Mail‘s site, incidentally) when it would be more accurate to say “society’s norms about how men should treat women are (slowly) changing to be less infantilising” (a less snappy headline, I’ll admit). After all, I’m pretty sure if I stood every time my girlfriend left the table, she wouldn’t find that chivalrous but instead rather creepy.

Anyway, I’m sure there was a perfectly valid, academic reason this survey was done, right?

The study was to mark the DVD release of romantic comedy Going the Distance.

Going the Distance is released on Blu-ray Triple Play and DVD today, from Warner Home Video.



  1. #1 by mm1145 on Tuesday, 1st February 2011 - 8:11 GMT+0100

    I find it intresting that at the same time we get bonbarded about sexisum and equal rights we get told men should treat women diffrently oftern by the same pepol
    personley I do not theink I would ever consider sending flowers to my girlfriends place of work but maby that is why I am still single

  2. #2 by Howe zat on Tuesday, 1st February 2011 - 10:13 GMT+0100

    I’ve just discovered your blog. Absolutely fantastic work, keep it up.

    I’m 20 and have never sent a letter to a love interest. Given that the written communication is going to be expressed in the same language, phrasing and emotion regardless of format, what exactly is romantic about letters again?

    Is it the stamp?

  3. #3 by knightofthedropdowntable on Tuesday, 1st February 2011 - 12:21 GMT+0100

    Two things struck me in this post – the first being that only 9% of those surveyed had ever sent letters is extremely low. If their survey had been fair and representative, then I would have expected most of those over 30 to have sent letters instead of emails and texts, because emails and texts barely existed more than 10-15 years ago! If it had said ‘in the last year’ or ‘the last decade’ that would make sense, but it actually says ‘ever’, and for most people the majority of their life happened before the mid-to-late-90s when emails and texts took off.

    The second is the absolute ignorance of the Express reporter, talking about how men don’t stand when their partner does at the table (although to be fair, I don’t know if he is quoting the report or just talking out of his own arse). Even putting aside the massive problems with male chivalry* which you (and others) have already covered, it shows how narrow his view of people in the world really is. It assumes the couple is heterosexual, it assumes there are only two people involved (in a poly relationship, does he think everyone else should stand if one person does, or just any men involved?), and finally, it assumes both partners can physically stand. This kind of ignorance would be unbelievable, if this kind of journalism didn’t happen so damned often…

    *I notice they use the phrase ‘male chivalry’, as if chivalry wasn’t archaic and mysogynist enough for them.

    • #4 by atomicspin on Tuesday, 1st February 2011 - 14:03 GMT+0100

      Good points. I think the survey only refers to people’s current relationships (so in other words, whether they’ve sent a letter to their current partner), but you’re right, it does still seem rather low.

  4. #5 by Howe zat on Tuesday, 1st February 2011 - 15:31 GMT+0100

    While I remember, do you have a Twitter or RSS feed I can follow?

  5. #6 by Howe zat on Tuesday, 1st February 2011 - 15:41 GMT+0100

    Never mind, found it!

  6. #7 by uksceptic on Wednesday, 2nd February 2011 - 14:03 GMT+0100

    Do you know what my girlfriend would do if I sent her flowers at work?

    Kill me.

    I hate the general assumption all these sorts of articles make that there is some prescribed way of being romantic and if we don’t fit into that pigeon hole them somehow romance is dead. Romance isn’t dead it’s just evolved, which is more than I can say for tabloid journalists. ;-)

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