Struggling to be a hopeless romantic in an era of hookup culture

Breaking down why we participate in hook-up culture over romance

Please, bring back a love like Noah’s and Ally’s.

Sex-craving, emotionless human beings who have no ability or desire to stay with one person for a long period of time—it sounds like a weird, erotic plot in a futuristic movie. Welcome to
the year 2022.

In an era when hook-up culture so normalized, being a hopeless romantic who wants the love stories you see in media is feeling more and more unrealistic.

Hook-up culture is the acceptance and encouragement of no-strings-attached casual sex. It basically means people hook up without the emotional intimacy, bond, commitment, etc.—basically, all the chivalrous and sweet parts of relationships.

Why are 1 a.m. “you up” texts the standard?

Movies like The Notebook, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Me Before You, and Love, Actually are reminders of how love should be. In these movies, the protagonists fall for the love interest based on their character, not for casual sex.

Noah hung off a Ferris wheel until Allie agreed to go out with him, and then years after they hadn’t spoken, he built her dream house. He stayed with her while she had dementia. David took one look at Natalie and you could see his world stop. God, I love “the look when they know she’s the one” trope. 

My point is these movies bring back real romance. They teach us what romance should look like and how beautiful and passionate it can be. They remind you of what love should feel like—what it could look like. This should be the standard.

I can’t fathom how the best parts of love—the emotional connection and friendship—could possibly be taken out of the picture in favour of emotionless sex.

For all my cynics out there, who don’t like romance movies: the door is open, you may leave. Yes, there are aspects of some films that are unrealistic or extreme, but that doesn’t mean those movies don’t make you feel happy and hopeful.

Nowadays, people prefer hook-up culture so they can avoid getting hurt—like they’ve been in past relationships. Casual sex may be easier but, at least for me, it’s definitely not better.

My take: getting hurt is a part of the process, and it’s worth all the rest. Giving your everything to another person and receiving it in return is one of the best feelings in the world. Sure, it doesn’t always work out in the end, but that just means it will work out with someone better down the road.

Pushing away your ability to feel emotions for casual sex won’t make you feel better and, honestly, it won’t work. Human beings have emotions—for those of you who forgot, that’s normal. But casual sex can only take you so far before your emotions creep in again.

Take it from one of my favourite films, Friends with Benefits.

The film shows Dylan Harper and Jamie Rellis, friends who, after managing difficult relationships, decide they should strictly participate in casual sex with each other. Over time, they fall in love.

I love this movie because it shows the flaws in hook-up culture. The two are best friends; they don’t rely on each other, but they enjoy each other’s company. While they think they’re unconnected emotionally, that isn’t the case. They make an emotional connection, whether they know it or not.

For a while, Dylan denies his feelings and pushes them, and Jaimie, away—exactly what a lot of people do now.

Hook-up culture reflects how much our ideas and values surrounding relationship values have changed. We don’t value chivalry or kindness. Many people prefer sex and nothing more.

Romance films offer an alternative option. They remind people of how relationships were thought of in yesteryears. The sweet, caring, emotionally attached relationships are ones we should cherish, not push away. True romance should be brought back, and booty calls left behind. 

Take the risk of getting hurt to enjoy all that’s to come before then. It’s worth it. After all, who wouldn’t want a man to hang off a Ferris wheel for them?

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