Classic Romance is Dead
Katherine Veloso, Division 2, 12th grade #ws18e-s2d2

You’re biting your lip. You’re smiling so wide that the people sitting next to you on the bus have noticed. You’re fantasizing about what he’s going to say next. The butterflies are fluttering – beating through your stomach and towards the arm you have wrapped around yourself. You’re buzzing with excitement and it’s showing in the way you can’t keep still. You look back down at your phone, hopeful and similar to a love struck puppy… only to find an empty lock screen.

No new messages. But it’s been 15 minutes, and that’s not that long in the overall scope of the universe, but an absolute eternity in the age of technology and instant gratification. Maybe you read the situation all wrong. Maybe he wasn’t flirting in the first place and your eagerness to text back and your overuse of smiley faces and laughing emojis scared him off. And now it’s been 30 minutes. It’s been 30 minutes and there is still no reply.

So what’s wrong with you? What’s so wrong with you that this boy won’t text you back? What’s so wrong with you that he isn’t reciprocating your feelings of eagerness and attraction? What’s so wrong with you that your happiness depends on a few words hastily strung together by an altogether mediocre teenage boy you certainly won’t remember 20 years from now?

The blame, as per usual, can be placed on the ever-changing, confusing aspects of modern society. Nothing is wrong with you. That’s just the way it is nowadays. It’s 2017 and gone are the fantasies of boys looking up to you and only you on your balcony, serenading you with boom boxes on their shoulders. It’s 2017 and the only romantic gestures we spend all too much time fantasizing about are lackluster promposals being creative enough to get the most likes on Instagram and the most retweets on Twitter. It’s 2017, and the romance in our lives is limited to 10-second snaps and confessions of our love in 140 characters or fewer.

That’s what qualifies as romance nowadays — because nothing screams “romantic” more than “sliding into someone’s DMs” or hitting them up with that “tbh you’re cute” followed by a heart eyes emoji. Move out of the way, Romeo and Juliet! Your star-struck romance will never live up to the couple that live 6,000 miles apart and have never met in person but have messaged their declarations of love to each other every day for the past 2 weeks.

You can blame it on technology. You can blame it on social media or those dating websites that specifically cater to certain groups of people like Farmers Only or Christian Mingle. You can blame it on the increasing divorce rates or the fact that A$AP Rocky “looks for ways to say ‘I love you’ but ain’t into makin’ love songs.” You can blame today’s lack of romance on virtually anything in our modern society, but the truth is right before our eyes. The truth is in our Instagram Bios and the Facebook showcasing our relationship statuses.

Romance is dead.

Because we know longer know the difference between longing looks of adoration and the looks of “hey, be a real one, is the correct answer to number eight, ‘A’ or ‘C’?” Because we’re left looking at the empty red triangles on Snapchat and the “Read 11:52” receipt on iMessage, rather than confronting each other face-to-face and having a legitimate, personal conversation.

One thing however, remains consistent: the waiting game of romance is still the same as it was three decades ago. Eighties movies consisted of lovestruck girls sitting by their landlines, waiting for that one particular call from that one special boy. Fast forward to 2017, and we’re still waiting for that call, and that text back, and that like on our Instagram selfie, and that retweet on Twitter and that view of our Snapchat story.

Romance is no longer writing each other love letters and waiting for the mailman to come by and hand you another set of beautifully scrawled professions of love, with his scent lingering in the paragraphs, or expecting enthusiastic declarations of love in the middle of a crowded high school hallway. Instead, it’s keeping track of the time passed since he sent that last text because you need to make him wait just as long — if not longer — than he did before you respond.

We grew up watching love stories expounding the importance of open communication and depicting plot twists in the social hierarchy wherein the “popular” kids fall in love with their shy, nerdy compliments. We were brought up with these unrealistic, idealistic expectations of what love is and now we’re all grown up and disappointed to find love little more than the fluorescent lights shining through our phone screens in the middle of the night, taunting us as we anxiously await a text that will likely never arrive.

And if I could go back, I'd change that. I'd change the outlook and stereotypical beliefs of what love is. I would do what ever it takes to eliminate the attitude that love and happiness is the final destination and not just pit stops on the journey of life. I would teach children that while love is important, it's not something that we should let take over our lives. I would go back in time to change the beliefs of all those who believe that they're not good enough or those who believe they are nothing without the attention and affection of someone around them. But most of all, I'd show love to all those who need it, so that they know what appropriate and and honest affection is before someone else can take advantage of and ruin the feeling for them.
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