So for the longest time I have been Dictator of Cynical Island. I gave up the title when I was happily (and even for quite a good bit of the time when I was unhappily) in love. However, if you know me well, you know that I am a hopeless romantic. I believe in love at my very core… probably more than I believe in anything else in this world.
Recently, I’ve become slightly obsessed with reading the Modern Love column in the New York Times. I think it’s some form of masochism because more than anything it makes me sad to read about so much of modern dating. I know I can’t possibly be the only person in her 20’s that is tired of the push and pull of modern dating and the various forms of commitment phobia that manifest themselves in our social interactions these days.
I have to say I’ve been lucky. I mean my ex and I are obviously not together. However, at least she had the decency to actually date me. In fact, all of my actual exes have been good like that. But I’ve found that it’s increasingly difficult to find anyone that actually wants to date anymore and I simply don’t understand this concept. Or even better ones who think that dating consists of “hanging out” but “not defining” the relationship. Personally I call that “fucking around”. But hey, what do I know? I mean I am “romantically challenged” after all. Perhaps I’m too demanding or it’s just intimidating to meet a girl who knows what she wants. But if I’m into you, don’t expect anything less than to be truly courted and I will not be ok with just “fucking around”. However, meeting someone that I’m actually into is excruciatingly difficult. So I’ll be honest, I don’t often meet anyone I’m interested in more than just sex with. And it’s not like I won’t tell you if I don’t want the same things as you do (as nicely as possible, I hate hurting people’s feelings but I hate leading them on more). And don’t try and convince me that it’s ok to just continually float from person to person “hooking up”. Been there, done that, have the postcard. It’s honestly, not that satisfying. Sure it does pass the time but if you’re looking for a real connection, hooking up is not the way to go. Perhaps taking a chance that love might exist and going on a real date is the way to go.
Maybe it’s just that the “hooking up” culture was in its nascent form when I hit high school and college so out of my friends group a significant number are either married or in a very stable couple or at the very least in some way want that someday. We believe in dating. We believe in love. And we believe in forever. Ok, maybe not *all* of my friends do but I’d say there’s a large majority of us that do.
Having said that, I’m still confused why so many young people are addicted to this culture of no-strings when that’s not what I think anyone is actually looking for. While I was reading Modern Love, I stumbled upon this series they did a while ago about how college students feel about love. There are two pieces that break my heart. One is written by a woman who is talking about how even though she tries to keep herself detached what she really wants is something more permanent. The other is written by a young man who talks about how insecurity keeps so many people from finding something more real but how in the back of your mind you still want that real connection.
scratch any cynic and you’ll find a disappointed idealist