A long time ago I read the Gloria Steinem book Revolution From Within (secretly; my mom thought that me reading about feminism would be "too upsetting." True story), her book about self-esteem. The book was kind of mocked at the time beause self-esteem was such a flaky phrase, but one thing stuck with me.

Romance, Steinem argued, was actually a toxic perversion of love. What we consider romantic is often a series of tropes that keep us from getting real love.

I'm thinking about this in terms of the prom murder. I grew up being told some things that I realize are now very wrong: women love "bad boys." Guys have to "win" women. And even "No means maybe." This was just what guys were supposed to do. (When Anita Hill reported her harrassment, there was a new trope of "it's not harrassment if you're attractive enough.")

This isn't meant to absolve guys of blame for their actions, and it's not as simple as a spectrum from Lloyd Dobler to a creepy stalker, but we need to examine these things and figure out what we should just plain jettison. For the moment, I'm giving up on romance.