How Hopeless Romantics Can Change The Idea Of Love In The Digital Age

by Thomas Sanders

I am a fool for love.

I am a grand sentimentalist, and I am a quixotic dreamer.

I enjoy dates of formality and clichéd phrases. Yes, I even believe in having a soulmate and the pains of unrequited love.

And I am not ashamed of it.

Because why should I be ashamed of it?

I say yes to surprise dates.

I say yes to extensive flower arrangements.

I say yes to old-fashioned romances of Fitzgerald’s time.

After all, these stories of a day past are what women dream of, right?

But, these are all memories of love from an outdated time.

When thinking of romance today, we might think of a spontaneous text from our crush that contains some superfluous display of emotion. (You better not forget those five extra heart emojis on the end.)

We cannot forget, of course, those beautifully annoying Facebook declarations of adoration for our SOs.

Guys, that is not romance.

Ladies, don’t let a guy tell you that is the definition of romance.

In our rush to hide from anything that could be potentially embarrassing or ego-hazardous, we have turned to technology.

Yes, technology is changing romance, but not in the way we may want it to.

In response to this, we have begun to shun technology when it comes to romance.

However, I refuse to believe that something capable of storing all 1,475 songs I own can’t help me become more of a romantic.

And the more I think about what modern romance actually is, the more I realize that technology is inseparable from it, whether that's good or bad.

The rise of smartphones has brought about hook-up apps like Tinder and Bumble.

We can use a keyboard to approach a woman.

“Oh my God, do I say ‘hey’ with one ‘y,’ or two? Three is way too many, right? Maybe I’ll just use one. But what if she thinks that’s too casual?”

This string of thoughts is a pretty average stream of consciousness for any modern-day Millennial who is trying to digitally establish him- or herself with another person.

I admit that even I have had these thoughts.

For a hopeless romantic like me — someone who loves the idea of being in love — technology offered me another avenue to meet the perfect woman.

I gave Tinder a try first.

After a week on Tinder, I stumbled upon a woman I had seen around campus, but had never had the courage to walk up to.

I swiped right, and we matched.

After exchanging a few socially stigmatized messages, we agreed to meet up at my favorite coffee shop the next day.

I arrived 10 minutes early and sat there, nervously watching the door for my first ever Tinder date to enter.

She walked in and sat down, and immediately, it was awkward.

What do I say to this woman?

Besides the basic questions of music taste, favorite movies and major, what else could I say?

The whole affair was uncomfortable from the start.

The experience left me feeling underwhelmed.

Needless to say, I have since deleted Tinder from my phone.

As far as meeting people goes, maybe we should leave this to the old-fashioned hello.

With this first failed attempt at marrying the worlds of technology and romance, my cynicism for the quest increased.

But being a regular Gatsby myself, I refused to give up on the idea of romantic technology.

It was a few uninspiring first dates later when I met a woman who finally sparked my inspiration.

There were stupid texts until 3 am, random dates with the touch of a button and a newfound appreciation of the sheep emoji.

It felt like high school again.

And when you’re dating in college, feeling like you're 16 can be pretty freeing.

But, there were still no big romantic gestures when it came to technology.

There were simple "Good morning" texts, there were “I miss you” Snapchats and there were creative emoji uses.

That was it.

But, I loved all of it.

The relationship itself didn’t work out for other reasons, but it taught me what modern romance is really about.

For all those of you who claim that technology is killing our sense of romance, you wouldn’t be wrong, but you wouldn’t be correct, either.

It’s simply defined in the way we use it.

There doesn’t need to be a grandiose marriage of technology and love.

There doesn't have to be any opulent Facebook posts or extensive emoji habits.

We just need an appreciation for the more minimal side of it.

We need to stop expecting our own Shakespearean moments to arise from our phones.

We must learn to love the "Good morning" texts from 2,000 miles away, the 10-second snaps when we haven’t seen our SO in over a week and the 3 am conversations when we haven’t talked to him or her all day.

I am a hopeless romantic.

I am a sentimental dreamer, and I am a radical lover.

I am a Fitzgerald-esque romanticist. I am a grand fool.

I am living in a world where people claim I am a dying breed, and technology is what’s killing us.

But, that’s just what you might think.