We asked six people, in different generations, for their take on romance and being in love.
If you’re romantically interested in someone, how do you let them know?
Glenn Best, 28: I’m fairly straightforward. I’m not afraid to tell somebody if I’m interested in them. I’ve been in enough relationships to date that I just go for what I want.
Rachel Remz, 31: I generally act like a crazy person and talk to them nonstop. I just start talking them nonstop about anything.
Alice Barlow, 29: I get really drunk and let them know in a really sloppy way.
Best: I wouldn’t be afraid to also become physical with someone I was into if I thought if they were open to it as well. I think it’s a nice way to let someone know.
Frank Marchesa, 45: I don’t know. It’s been too long, I’ve been married for 21 years.
John Killian, 61: Well, I’ve been married 40 years. I was Homecoming king for my high school, and I had to have a date. I was very shy, and I thought I’d ask the one girl who’d say no so I could get out of it. She said yes, and she’s my wife.
While you’re dating that person, how do you tell them you love them?
Marchesa: I guess I just said it. It’s nothing special.
George Haeberlein, 67: It just came out one time. I think it was unplanned, spontaneous.
Remz: It’s usually we’re drunk, and I’ll be like, “Oh my God, I love you” when were making out.
Barlow: I do the stupidest, cheesiest girl thing. It will be after we have sex, and I’ll be all cute and say “I love you.”
Killian: Well, for me it was probably to have sex. I had to say that before I could get it.
What’s the way you communicate most with a lover?
Killian: Still on the phone. I travel a lot. I don’t do the Facebook with her or anything like that.
Marchesa: Call and see her in person. A lot of phone calls, too.
Remz: I’m a texter. I text people all the time. Even my friends know if I’m into a dude, you will get 1 million texts from me. And now I’ll Instagram them all the time. I’ll Instagram at them.
Barlow: It’s in person for me. If I’m dating someone, all day, every day there’s a lot of texting going on, but then I try to hang out with them in person.
Best: I would say in person. I’m very much a face-to-face person. Texting would be a close second, I would say.
How do you know when you’re in love?
Haeberlein: We know each other so well, we can anticipate. You don’t have to say things at times: You just do it.
Marchesa: I guess it comes down to when you want to be around the person all the time. That’s pretty much it.
Killian: [It’s] knowing that you want to be with that person when you’re not with them and looking forward to seeing them when you’re not with them.
Best: It’s very emotional thing. I think that’s what love is. You can think and overthink it. I just listen to my emotions. It’s something you can feel.
Remz: For me it’s that sinking feeling. You know how I know? They are incredibly wrong; they do incredibly terrible things. It’s just awful — and I will just go for it.
Barlow: I know when I stop calling my friends.
How does texting affect romance?
Remz: I think [texting] has made it less romantic. I think, “This is a guy who I could be interested in,” and then we text all the time. Then, in person there’s just no … textual chemistry.
Barlow: It’s made it way too controlled. Before you would say things and then you’d say, “Oh s—-, did I say something weird? Did I mess it up?” Now like everything is so planned and controlled because of text messages. It’s made it a lot more safe and not as fun. The fun is in the risk.
Best: I think that it changes the face-to-face interaction because you can actually be in touch with someone anytime you want constantly.
Killian: It’s opened up new horizons, but it’s very impersonal.
Haeberlein: You don’t have that much contact.
Best: Constantly being able to connect with people anytime kind of lowers the pressure that exists in the moment in person.
Is romance dead?
Barlow: Hell to the yes.
Remz: I am weirdly, outwardly the least hopelessly romantic person you will ever meet, but I do believe romance is alive. I think people do sweet things for you. It’s unbelievable when somebody does it.
Marchesa: It just doesn’t seem the same. The technology kills it. Facebook killed it all. Spontaneity is the most important thing in a relationship. Going out to dinner, just jumping in a car and going on vacation. Just something, going away for a weekend. I don’t think that happens anymore.
Do you think older people are more or less romantic than your generation?
Remz: Kind of both, because there’s a certain level of our generation where everything’s temporary because of the Internet.
Best: I think they’re different times, different explanations. It was a different type of courtship, and I do think it was more romantic.
Remz: [In] our parent’s generation, people stayed together and they went through the hard times together. Now if there’s a hard time you bail.
Do you think young people are more or less romantic than your generation?
Killian: I think it was more about the courting and dating [in my day] than about meeting people with groups.
Haeberlein: It’s much more difficult than it used to be — well not difficult, but different. You don’t form a bond.
Marchesa: I don’t think they get it, to be honest with you. They don’t get the whole thing.