In an age where dating apps and online match making are more popular than ever, the pure undying romance that we see in old movies and hear about from our grandparents is dying out. You know the kind where one person does some grand gesture of their love and the couple rides off into the sunset to live happily ever after?
I know what you’re thinking, we live in the real world where grand displays of love are only in the movies. But why can’t the cheesy-mushy love stories make their way into our everyday lives, even just a little bit? The other day I actually found myself writing my phone number on a napkin because that felt more sincere and real than exchanging Snapchats.
Being in college and a part of our generation we are expected to become accustomed to hook-up apps and essentially meaningless hook-up culture, void of any chance of catching feelings and, God forbid, any meaningful romantic gestures. I don’t mean to come across as bitter or anything, but I am not asking for much. Would it really be the end of the world if we went out on a real date with dinner instead of the modern first date where you pretend to watch a movie?
Hook-up culture is made out to be something that is empowering, but why do I find that it brings me nothing but embarrassment when the person I thought was interested ghosts me without a second glance? Sometimes I feel like the odd man out in a sea of my peers who are so accepting of this hook-up culture, and I have to wonder if I am really the only person that thinks this way.
After COVID-19 and massive stretches of being forced into isolation, I feel like I am willing to do anything to make meaningful connections, and it seems no one else is on the same page as me. It seems like everyone is more interested in meeting up with a stranger they met online for one night only, armed with the ability to never respond again and avoid a second meeting.
Don’t get me wrong here, online dating is nothing to be looked down on. A massive amount of amazing, long-lasting and meaningful relationships have blossomed from matchmaking platforms. What I am talking about here is the apps like Tinder or Bumble where hook-up culture flourishes. In a report from Statista, in 2019 Tinder had almost 8 million users, Bumble close behind with 5 million, and these user databases only continue to grow.
The culture of young people engaging in one-night stands isn’t new, but it has changed since our parents were our age. The sexual revolution of our generation has empowered many, particularly women and the LGBTQIA+ community, to live freely and make their own choices, which is a great thing.
With that said, there are also negatives that come along with this. The double standard for men and women partaking in hook-up culture still exists, even after all of the progress we have made. For men, the more one night stands they have, the more manly they are perceived by their peers. For women, however, that behavior is seen as being “slutty.” While this difference between the genders subsides with each generation, it is still a reality that exists.
Another downside to our modern hook-up culture is the context in which it happens. Rarely does the one-night stand get initiated when both parties are sober, whether it be a random stranger from the bar or a random stranger from Tinder. The liquor induced state paired with the randomness of our partner choices is a recipe for a night that never needs to be relived. The bar scene has evolved into a hot mess of sloppy drunks trying to smooth talk other sloppy drunks.
How are we still accepting of seeking out someone who is equally or more drunk than us as a partner for the night as reasonable behavior? I find myself wanting to hang out with someone totally sober just for a change in pace, who cares if it's awkward anymore right?
Our modern hook-up culture is fine, if that’s what you’re looking for, which it feels like most students and college-age people are. If I am going to be honest, I’m over it, and am a little embarrassed to say so but I am saying it anyway for all of you out there that are feeling the same way.
Lack of communication or a meaningful connection of any sort isn’t a sustainable romantic routine for everyone. If you’re tired of the disappointment and feelings of being let down when they simply didn’t even text you back, join the club. This is my informal petition to reinstate just a shred of romance and effort in our relationships and leave pretending we have no feelings behind us.
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Lauren (she/her) is a political science major from Baltimore.