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Romance Studies

Posted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 11:53 pm UTC
by The Handle
So, I've been paying attention to this topic for quite some time. From the academic study of the sociocultural and psychological underpinnings of the dating and relationship rituals, to the practical applications of "pick-up arts", to the "gossip communities and gravepines", to the huge body of fiction on the topic of different degrees of realism, there sure is a lot of cultural produce regarding dating, romance, and sex.

And yet, in the end, we're sort of left out to figure it out by ourselves, and we have to learn from our screw-ups. I think basic skills on how not to screw up one's romances should be as important and universally taught as how to keep a clean house or to cook or to fill tax forms. Yet even basic Home Economics are not a subject taught everywhere! Even the basics of not getting STD's, or the simple Bayesian calculations of chances of infection or pregnancy depending on measures taken and participant history, are not taught systematically. Awkwardness, confusion, fear, and, worst of all, I think, secrecy, pervade the world of romance, causing endless problems known as "drama". And I haven't even thrown alcohol into the mix.

I believe this could all be avoided, by teaching the ethics of it, and why violating them is a bad idea. So, how would one go about formulating a "Romance Studies" subject, that would be taught to kids as soon as they hit puberty, and at least gave them guidelines about different situations they're likely to encounter, and how to handle them with the least damage possible?

Re: Romance Studies

Posted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 1:05 pm UTC
by Jorpho
Any such class is likely to be so enormously charged politically that the chances of getting people to agree on the course material, let alone getting it integrated into any institutional curriculum, would be nil. Sex education is a minefield as it is.

Re: Romance Studies

Posted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 1:09 pm UTC
by Izawwlgood
I'd argue that college is basically one big dating lesson.

FWIW, I'm sure there are people who study the anthropological or sociological evolution of sex and love and dating, but that doesn't sound what you're talking about.

Re: Romance Studies

Posted: Sun Mar 23, 2014 11:38 pm UTC
by Bakemaster
I never dated in college. Many people don't.

Re: Romance Studies

Posted: Fri Jul 03, 2015 4:10 pm UTC
by The Handle

Re: Romance Studies

Posted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 8:16 pm UTC
by Tyndmyr
The Handle wrote:So, I've been paying attention to this topic for quite some time. From the academic study of the sociocultural and psychological underpinnings of the dating and relationship rituals, to the practical applications of "pick-up arts", to the "gossip communities and gravepines", to the huge body of fiction on the topic of different degrees of realism, there sure is a lot of cultural produce regarding dating, romance, and sex.

And yet, in the end, we're sort of left out to figure it out by ourselves, and we have to learn from our screw-ups. I think basic skills on how not to screw up one's romances should be as important and universally taught as how to keep a clean house or to cook or to fill tax forms. Yet even basic Home Economics are not a subject taught everywhere! Even the basics of not getting STD's, or the simple Bayesian calculations of chances of infection or pregnancy depending on measures taken and participant history, are not taught systematically. Awkwardness, confusion, fear, and, worst of all, I think, secrecy, pervade the world of romance, causing endless problems known as "drama". And I haven't even thrown alcohol into the mix.

I believe this could all be avoided, by teaching the ethics of it, and why violating them is a bad idea. So, how would one go about formulating a "Romance Studies" subject, that would be taught to kids as soon as they hit puberty, and at least gave them guidelines about different situations they're likely to encounter, and how to handle them with the least damage possible?


There used to be such a thing as "charm schools", which more or less filled this function in a socially acceptable manner. Pick up artists are...sadly, not a very good substitute. The former focused a little more on finding a significant relationship, and the latter, well..it's a low bar.

I think it might be at least slightly possible to provide the basics in a modern setting, but yeah...it'd be heavily politicized and controversial. Plus, social behavior changes significantly depending on context, etc. An appropriate way to get a date in one culture might be seen as rude elsewhere. Some of this does get covered in Cultural Studies(one of my endless list of minors), but it's certainly something you could go through college and not study. I mostly think that's fine, though.