Welcome to the most unromantic time in human history.
I never knew Edward, personally.
But, I imagine what he felt was something close to love at first sight when he laid eyes on the woman that would one day become his wife, Wallis.
At the time, Edward was known for being a playboy.
Women found his blonde hair, blue eyes and boyish face to be damn good looking and he got the most out of this infatuation.
That is until he met Wallis Simpson, a chic, charismatic American woman that looked like a character out of a Hemingway novel.
There was only one problem, though.
Well, I suppose two problems…
Wallis Simpson was a married woman.
And, Edward VIII was the prince (and soon to be king) of the British Monarchy.
For the future king and eventual head of the Church of England, it wasn’t just frowned upon but forbidden for Edward to marry a woman that would be seeking her second divorce.
So, initially, the lovers dabbled in a casual affair that the royal family certainly didn’t approve of but tolerated.
However, as feelings developed, Prince Edward began entertaining the impossible –– marrying Wallis Simpson.
After massive pushback from the monarchy, the Church of England, the press and the nation as the whole, Edward VIII shook the world when on December 10th, 1936… he chose to give up the throne to marry what would become the love of his life, Wallis Simpson.
Once upon a time…
I’m a helpless romantic and a writer, which is a horrendous combination for someone living in twenty-nineteen.
Just the other day, I was having dinner by myself at a Vietnamese haunt and two tables from me sat a young couple.
I couldn’t tell you if they were good looking because I couldn’t see their faces. They were starring down unblinkingly at their glowing screens, their eyes taking on a bluish sheen.
A part of me wanted to shrug it off, telling myself that it is just the world we live in.
Another part of me wanted to get up, kick over their table and tell them to wake the fuck up and be present with the person sitting directly in front of them.
I found a middle ground and decided to write this article instead.
This experience and a handful of other ones have lead me to a profound but glaringly obvious realization… and that’s that we are currently living in the most unromantic time in human history.
Once upon a time, a king would give up a throne for a woman he was in love with… fast-forward nearly a century, and we’re having trouble getting our lovers to give up their phones for 60-minutes over a bowl of pho.
I, to a certain extent, believe in unconditional love.
But, this has become something of a deal breaker for me where it concerns both love interests and friends.
I’ve cut things off with a few women for being glued to their phones.
And, I’ve cut things off with friends for this very reason, too.
Some might argue this is a bit over-zealous but I’m an old soul born in the wrong era that only has so much time on this Earth and I’d rather read a book or listen to Bon Iver or write than sit with someone that is more interested in the glowing screen in their pocket, than the living breathing human being existing in front of them.
That last long-winded run-on sentence was real –– it was the realest line in this article.
It presents a fucking tragic reality that we are currently living.
But, it’s a reality that can be solved if we as a society take a step back and understand what’s really at play.
Our daily battle between the shallow and the deep.
Today, we are constantly at war between what I refer to as the shallow and the deep.
This battle, in my opinion, is what’s plaguing our relationships, getting in the way of our happiness and preventing us from pursuing our life's work.
The shallow can be defined as quick, easy and addictive hits that feel good initially but ultimately lead to feelings of dissatisfaction and unhappiness.
The deep, on the other hand, can be defined as a very intentional and thoughtful act that might be uncomfortable initially but will ultimately lead to great fulfillment and even happiness in the future.
Allow me to give some examples to portray the stark contrasts between the two…
The shallow is taking a picture of your food for the third time that day, not truly tasting it nor experiencing it but instead uploading it to Snapchat so others can see what you’re eating and perhaps applaud you for it.
The deep is leaving your phone in the car, battling the initial separation anxiety and being okay that you and the person across from you are the only ones sharing the meal.
The shallow is scrolling mindlessly through Instagram for thirty minutes, absorbing endless addictive garbage as mini-jolts of dopamine flood your brain with each passing cat video, celebrity update and ass shot.
The deep is placing the phone face down for an hour, battling the initial uncomfortable feeling of boredom as you slowly delve into a book that just might change your life.
The shallow is opening up Pornhub and rubbing one out to some busty blonde having something that doesn’t even remotely resemble sex.
The deep is giving your dick a rest for a little while, being okay with not ejaculating for an afternoon and finally addressing the elephant in the room that you and your girlfriend have been ignoring for the past month.
99% of the time, we collectively choose the shallow over the deep.
It’s a tragedy.
But, an understandable one.
The shallow is highly addictive. It’s like a drug. When we do the shallow we get an instant hit.
The deep, on the other hand, takes great (but tremendously difficult) work that is uncomfortable at first and doesn’t always see an immediate payoff.
I don’t fault anyone for choosing the shallow.
I’m constantly choosing the shallow.
It feels fucking good to choose the shallow.
It feels good to eat an ass ton of fried foods when you’re feeling depressed. It feels good to get high as fuck when you don’t want to face your demons. It feels good (in the moment) to cheat on your significant other when things aren’t going well.
But, you know what feels better?
Feeling pride in how your body looks and feels because you’ve been doing the deep work of killing yourself in the gym. Facing your demons with a clear mind because you decided to put away the prescriptions or the drugs or the alcohol for an afternoon. Waking up to someone that you love much deeper than a one night stand because you had the courage to put in the uncomfortable work of fighting for what you had versus running away between someone else’s legs.
That, in my opinion, is the difference between the shallow and the deep.
One feels really good today but leaves us feeling empty tomorrow, while the other feels challenging today but leaves us feeling fulfilled tomorrow.
However, since as a collective population we aren’t choosing the latter, we’ve created a world that is terribly unromantic. Not just intimately, but in all facets of our lives.
We’ve created a world that lacks depth.
We lose something when we choose the shallow.
For me, as a writer, I’m not entirely sure what change I am trying to make in this world.
I’m certainly hoping to leave this place better than I found it.
But, more than this, I think I am trying to help both myself and my readers rediscover this romance we’ve lost somewhere along the way.
I’m not anti-drugs, anti-alcohol, anti-Netflix, anti-fried-foods, anti-masturbation, anti-phones…
God knows I’m not. If you read my book, you will know for certain I am not.
Nor am I promoting abstinence from life’s pleasures. Fuck abstinence.
What I am promoting, however, is a greater sense of awareness around what too much of the shallow is costing us.
Since our phones and technology have allowed us to have such instant access to so much of the shallow all of the time, it has made it nearly impossible for us to say no.
And, as a result, we are losing the romance of living.
We are losing warm conversations over coffee with our best friends.
We are losing the beauty of laying in bed naked with our lover, silently, without a screen playing in the background.
We are losing the highness and drunkenness life itself gives us when we are present versus running away with drugs or alcohol or scrolling feeds.
As we’re choosing the shallow, time and time again, I think we’re losing something deeper. I think we’re losing the beautiful moments and romances that make us human.
However, to experience this romance, like Edward I think we need to be willing to give up our warm, comfortable, pleasurable thrones from time to time.
But, I digress.
By Cole Schafer.
She had a pair of breasts on her that looked like they were sculpted by Michelangelo and I wanted to lay on them but I was a bit concerned they were hard and fake like marble. But, sometimes hard and fake feels good, you know? And, I’m not for certain where I am going with this narrative but you should really consider signing up for my fucking newsletter.