Hinge, Hedonism and Hook-up Culture – Is the 21st Century Putting Romance in its Grave? | Simone Hanna
We are living in a time of romantic ambivalence. A time where people are far less likely to meet organically, and one where people fear loyalty, commitment, settling down; all the things once valued so highly in previous eras.
As I have stated before, I think sexual liberation and so-called feminist movements have played their part in contributing to this, and because of that, I will use this piece for the more ‘everyday aspects’ of society that have nailed the coffin of our love lives.
Today, people seek excitement; short, casual flings; momentary satisfaction. Too many in this era fear settling down, seeing marriage as a dead end rather than the end goal. This generation are engrossed in technology, to the point where one can enter on a series of dates from a few phone swipes.
Maybe it is just a personal thing, but there is something that just seems ridiculously distasteful and incredibly degrading about being able to ‘find love’ based on a momentary glance at a picture followed by a split-second decision. It is cheap, real romance is not superficial; we fall in love with souls, not faces. Love is not an act of transaction, we use these apps and try and sell the best versions of ourselves, this may even mean lying or skimming over aspects of ourselves that would be more than noticeable in real life, but that is the point of the real world; its raw, genuine, imperfect. In the real world there are no practices; we have conversation, civility; there are no ‘delete’ buttons, no backwards interpretations. That is the beauty of real life.
We no longer foster true communications; we have become more cowardly, no longer connecting on the same level we used to. So little of us seek long-term love, many simply becoming more hedonistic, valuing momentary pleasure over a potential lifetime of happiness or content.
To make matters worse, marriage is not what it used to be. The sacramental bond becomes more idle with each passing year. Recent legislation of ‘No-Fault Divorce’ from the ‘Conservative’ Party has not been much help either – this generation could not be more put off by the idea of marriage – our society is more self-focused and individualistic than they have ever been, many putting all of their time into wage-work rather than wedding – dismissing the great value it can bring to a life.
Not only are fewer people attracted to the idea of marriage, but it is also easier than it has ever been to end a marriage. People will stand at an altar and promise to God that they will ‘love and cherish’ their significant other for the rest of their being, only to divorce and say the line three more times in their lifetime to a new partner; the words of the wedding vow are simply dying out.
Part of this can be blamed on celebrity culture and the media. I can name countless public marriages that died as quickly as they sprouted, sending a terrible message to our youth who are easily influenced by this backwards culture they ingrain themselves in.
I would also like to blame the growth of ‘hook-up culture’ on the media and television, often emphasising the already bizarre culture of endless clubbing and partying that attracts many youths, or glorifying casual relationships between television couples, casual sex becoming the equivalent of what a kiss was so many years ago – western culture has done us no favours in preserving romance, simply draining it any pure aspect of it.
This generation seems to be in a furious rush for temporary pleasure. We are individuals, no longer looking for someone to complete us and show us the beauty of sharing a livelihood, we are impatient, eager to acquire what we want as quickly and simply as possible – never reaping in the true benefits of waiting. It is a little sad, but a part of me would like to believe that love can be as wonderous and pure as it was in another time. I would like to believe that love takes effort, care, time, sacrifices, and that the right person will always wait for you; but maybe I’m simply a young fool with a flawed idea of true love, maybe life is just a draining reality.
Maybe romantics really are the hopeless ones.
Photo by Ivan on Flickr.