Romance is, according to some, becoming a dying art. Where there once were tales of forbidden love conquering all else, soulmates finding each other in the most unlikely of places and couples remaining true to one another through years of marriage, there is now Tinder, friends with benefits, one-night stands, etc.
Of course, the idea of romance is still very much alive, and these stories certainly have not disappeared, but when the means to fulfil any imaginable desire become so readily available one would not be hard-pressed to find people, whose only purpose in their existence is to fulfil these desires.
Two such people are observed in the short story “Nightlight” by Hanif Kureishi from 1999. Their only relation is one of pleasure and the fulfilment of their most carnal needs, and so, what happens when one wishes for more?
The main character, a lonely man, is someone who at one point very much believed that love, true love, was out there for him (that also being the reason he probably left his wife), and has now given up on the idea that a person could actually find the one: “In the morning he'll talk to the kids and go, as so many men he knows have done, people who'd thought that leaving home was something you did only once.
Most of his friends, most of the people he knows, are on the move from wife to wife, husband to husband, lover to lover.
A city of love vampires, turning from person to person, hunting the one who will make the difference.” (p. 142 l. 20-27) In a way, these love vampires, by hunting the love they believe they are destined for, become the opposite of the ideal they desire to achieve.
They suck the love and meaning out of their relationships instead of relishing it; Never accepting it for what it is.