For as long as I can remember, I have been a hopeless romantic. Whether this was the result of my innately optimistic personality or the steady diet of romantic comedies I watched as a teenager is something yet to be determined.
However, as I have grown older and entered the dating scene myself, I often feel like the today’s dating scene goes completely against the grand notions of romance as popularized by the generations before us.
Social media has made life a lot simpler for us. There are multiple ways of keeping touch with friends even if they are oceans away. It also provides a great outlet for creativity in terms of uploading picturesque photographs on Instagram, reflective posts on Tumblr and Facebook, and witty jokes on Twitter.
However, in terms of dating, social media has made the entire process of courtship a lot more procedural and a lot less romantic.
For example, my own mother and father met in medical school. There were no cellphones or social media, so the only way they could interact was not through the generic “you up?” texts, but rather by waiting for each other’s classes to get done and walking home together.
Once they reached home, they’d wait in giddy anticipation to meet each other, the next day. My father would also write poems on the college bulletin board anonymously as a sweet romantic gesture, a secret between my mother and him.
However, nowadays, it’s more about exchanging numbers and social media. Once you do so, there are certain unspoken rules that need to be followed.
Now since I had a late start in the dating arena, my friends often act as my relationship gurus.Here’s some things I have learnt.
One: if a person is prone to using too many emojis, they are more likely to be creeps. Do not ask me the logic behind that, I could not tell you even if I wanted to!
Two: It is considered proper social etiquette to wait a while before texting somebody since if you do it immediately, you are perceived to be overly keen!
Three: Using a winky face is always flirty, hence use it with caution! And the list of such rules goes on.
In my opinion, all of this takes the spontaneity away from dating. It takes away the giddy anticipation of waiting to see someone since contact with the person of interest is just underneath our finger tips.
The other problem with the modern dating scene is the ambiguity of it all. No one can say with certainty whether they are “hanging out” or “seeing each other” or “dating exclusively” or “in a relationship.”
To label the relationship means to have a lengthy anxiety-inducing talk about exclusivity and the future and a whole hodge-podge of issues that our generation would rather not deal with.
Earlier, when two people went out, it was just assumed that they were dating and exclusive. Now it is a whole lot more complicated than that!
I might be a little biased, because as realistic as I have become over the years about my perception of dating and relationships, the romantic part of me lives on.
That part of me still hopes for a meet-cute, of bumping into a handsome stranger, of experiencing that same giddy anticipation that my parents did all those years ago.
However, I am coming to terms with the fact that I am a product of a generation where social media and relationship ambiguity is there to stay.
And at the end of the day, I suppose getting a cute snap of the person you like, and having lengthy conversations with your friends, and deciphering the texts sent and the status of your relationship has its own fun perks!