This article was originally featured on Mode Media.
I'm just going to come right out and say it -- I'm a hopeless romantic. (First step: admitting the problem, right?) Of course, I wouldn't exactly call it a problem per se, but I'm sure the endless daydreams of being swept off my feet and finding my person don't exactly help my cause. And the lifelong stream of love songs and romantic comedies consumed are only to blame. But here's the real "problem."
What's become of the world we "date" and live in can be a scary place for a hopeless romantic. It seems that the days of drive-in movies, sappy professions of love and happily ever afters have been replaced by Netflix-and-chill, booty calls and keeping it "casual." And sure, we're all busy getting our s**t together and finding what works for us, but let me just say this: What happened to the damn magic?
What happened to putting it all on the line and trusting that someone will be there to catch us in the midst of the fall? We've all come to terms with the fact that life is no Disney fairy tale. (Besides, who really wants talking animals as wingmen, anyway?) But I have to believe there's something more to this so-called "hookup culture." (And yes, even one deemed "hopeless" can have hope for that.)
Is Tinder really to blame? Vanity Fair may think so. Yet we live in a world that ultimately revolves around technology. Take that as you may, but it was only a matter of time until our love lives caught onto the trend as well. Enter dating apps... which, above all, allow us to put ourselves out there. Though it may not be the romantic plot we had in mind, who's to say we can't find the happy ending we're looking for?
What we need to recognize is that not everyone is looking for the same "fairy tale." And there's nothing wrong with that. The fault comes from settling for that person who doesn't want the things we want, then turning right around and blaming the world we live in, wondering where all the "good ones" have gone. They're out there. We're just too busy barking up the emotionally unavailable trees.
The "hookup culture" has been around since the 1920s, according to evolutionary biologist Justin Garcia, and much to our enjoyment or dismay, it's here to stay. My advice? Embrace it. Put yourself out there. Find out what you like and don't like. Learn about yourself. Build character. Score a free drink or two while you're at it. And for the love of all that is hopeless and romantic, do not settle for one second.
In the end, this crazy thing we call life has a way of working itself out. But you can't sit around and wait for it to happen to you. Go out and meet it halfway. Trust in the timing of things, in new beginnings, in goodbyes. And always remember this: "Perfect people don't exist, but there's always one person who is perfect for you." (Told you I was a hopeless romantic...)
Now go get 'em, tiger.