In the imaginations of many, religion is the enemy of romance since the climax of romance is literal climaxing for most of them. For those who have religion, religion is not a constituent in the emotions of their affections. Yet, romance, to me, is impossible in the positivist, materialist, and secular universe. Religion is many things to me but one of them is as the source of literal magic. The quarks and leptons of the physical world are dry and only made wet by the juice of spirituality. Life tastes like grey carboard without the existence of real magic. I consider angels to be the fairies of the real world and without them there are no fairy tales in the real world. If ever I should court a maid, without the ether of the incorperal, it would just be dating a girl which sounds far, far, worse than courting a maid. Even among my fellow old-timey romantics, the incorperation of religion is not often a part of the flowy, orante, romance they long for.
Jane Austen, the apotheosis of many old-timey romantics, lacks much religion. Austen is, almost literally, a series of fairy tales devoid of magic. In a sense, they are also devoid of passion and intensity which are the best parts of religion and why, in part, Georgian English high society frowned upon religious piety. I sometimes describe my romantic tastes as Austenesque but that is a very rough and inexact description. If I were in the Regency Era in England, myself, I’d have been a groupie of Henry Hunt and William Wilberforce fighting to oppose slavery, expand suffrage, and repeal the corn laws at events like Peterloo while joining the religious revival that characterized what would become the Oxford Movement. Mr. Darcy was, for all that became him, ultimately bland and uninteresting. Bland and uninteresting men whose primary asset is wealth is what women, for the most part, have always wanted. Fitzwilliam Darcy and Christian Grey are very different but they are both milquetoast and boring men of immense affluence.
In recent years, many a Regency romance has been put to film but a gentleman who is a dashing young aristocrat or member of the gentry at the ball and in the gardens, organizer of the factory workers and lobbyist of parliament for social justice, and religious devotee is unlikely to be a combination that would make it to screen. As Bridgerton rose in the rankings, a movie about the the 1968 of Regency England; Peterloo, was produced. Easily, the ever popular genre of Regency romance could have been syncretized into it but while Pride & Prejudice got a zombie adaptation, giving analgous characters or even the same characters (it’s far out of copyright) any moral ideological beliefs they care about has not been considered. Among the reasons I have never had a first kiss, myself, this far into my life is not a lack of social skills but the fact that I am too eccentric, passionate, and energetic. Women, since time immemorial, have desired men who do not care. While there are men who look worse than me and who disrespect women in ways I would never come close to; they succeed where I could never, largely, because the women want a man who doesn’t care.
It is not just religion that I feel is the wetness of existence but what religion is which are the intabgible and etheral elements of the universe. That includes morality and the practice of morality which means energetically and passionately fighting and moving for the abstract substrate of reality. What is not material or positivist is literally magic and doing things for that abstract morality is doing magical rituals. Politics is religion for me as is every social cause and if I courted a maid, I would infuse that relationship with the same ethereal passion that drives me in politics and religion. In the current age of hypersensitvity to any discomfort and of paranoia of weirdness due to the addictions to horror, true crime, and the like, eccentricity and passion is not only unappealing but also scary and prone to get one in trouble. I have gotten in lots of trouble for nonviolent, nonsexual, nonromantic, non-property related offenses because while sexual harassment gets more press, platonic harassment is a thing I got in significant amounts of trouble for in college.
On a slight tangent, my getting in trouble for platonic harassment in college is the result, partially, of rules that were made under the assumption that it was still, like, the 1990s and student lifes was a hot, sweaty, world of dating and parties where complaints about “creeps” did not describe socially awkward people who were unpopular with their peers but warranted a heavy and immediate response without much mercy. Their response to me made sense in the world of Euphoria and 13 Reasons Why, it did not make sense in the social tundra that I lived in. There was no dating, there were no drugs, there was no alcohol, there were no parties. What did happen was occasional coffee and lunch meet-ups, sometimes spaced apart months, often by weeks. I lived in perpetual terrified hypervigilance of the metaphorical SWAT team with the red lights flashing and the sirens going off. No one was safer and it made my life a living hell. I never graduated, in large part, because of that hypervigilance in my prefrontal cortex.
It is only a slight tangent because it relates to why I have never asked a woman on a romantic date. The common narrative is that our current era is less tolerant of sexual misconduct and that may be true but it is not the #metoo movement, per se, that has made me unable to date anyone. The liberalization of the definition of and concept of “creep” and “creepiness” is much more why. I have just had to make people uncomfortable and be eccentric to get the label, myself. The lasting popularity of Regency romance and its especial popularity in the current era is a testament to the current era’s emphasis on reticence and fear of passion and eccentricity. The feeling that it is immoral to make people uncomfortable and enforcing that moré is very Victorian and Regency. Honestly, Jane Austen would hate me for, if transported to her time, being a Jacobin and an evangelical. Not for the specific beliefs but for the passion with which they were held and acted upon. There were no fairies in any of Austen’s works but on the bloody ground of Saint Peter’s Field in Manchester, there were fairies. There was magic because of a powerful belief in and practice of a living and abstract morality which is the existence of God.