One of the tropes I hate most in fiction is the romantic ‘grand gesture’, and here I shall endeavour to explain why. A dating website identifies a grand gesture thusly:
An act that is uncharacteristically demonstrative or spectacular, made
in order to prove one’s love or win back a lover’s affections.
And they give an example:
Schedule a hot air balloon ride for the two of you. Such an
unprecedented, gesture shows you’re crazy in love and willing to do
almost anything to prove it.
Which is nice I suppose. The trouble is that the kind of grand gestures we see in fiction I often find very creepy. The man (and in fiction it is almost always men who do the following things) might decide to wait outside the home of the one who has rejected him, basically placing her under siege, and employing terrible love songs and other psychological torture to lower her morale until she agrees to his demands. Or maybe something more extreme, like jumping onto a moving ferris wheel and climbing up to her, letting her know that he’s not only willing to kill himself, but place other peoples lives in danger too unless she goes on a date with him.
In real life, if the woman isn’t fearing for her life, she’d be calling the police to get this lunatic sectioned. But in fiction this threatening, emotionally abusive harassment is far too often rewarded and he does indeed get a date. I don’t think that ‘no’ is an ambiguous word at all, but in many romances we’re told that what it means is ‘leer, threaten, and throw tantrums until the answer is yes’.
And that’s why I don’t write romance.