Columns, Opinion, The Perfectly Imperfect Human Condition

Being a hopeless romantic in the age of hookup culture is devastating | The Perfectly Imperfect Human Condition

The current dating scene is not built for hopeless romantics. It even feels wrong to use the term “dating scene” because that doesn’t seem to be the reality. The harsh, depressing and soul-crushing reality is hookup culture. 

Hookup culture is based on accepting casual intimacy without emotional attachment or romantic commitment. 

Annika Morris | Senior Graphic Artist

I’ll preface this by saying, hookups are not a bad thing. In fact, there are certain aspects about them that I like, such as an increased sense of agency regarding one’s body, as one can do whatever they want with whomever they want as long as it’s consensual. 

If that’s what you’re into, then great. However, I feel that the downsides of hookups outweigh the benefits by a landslide. 

Hookups may give a sense of bodily autonomy, but that doesn’t cancel out the toll they can take on one’s emotional health — especially for women. 

According to the National Library of Medicine, approximately three-quarters of sexually active college students report regretting past hookup experiences, and women have expressed this feeling significantly more than men. 

What’s more, the source of this regret is different between men and women — regret from females is most likely traced back to feelings of shame or being used, whereas males are more likely to report regret from their partner choice or partner attractiveness.   

These differences in reasoning between men and women demonstrate that even the liberating nature of hookup culture cannot escape the confines of the patriarchy and the objectification of the female body. 

This is a devastating truth and the ultimate reason why I could never partake in hookup culture.

Another harrowing reality for hopeless romantics is the fear of rejection, which has especially sabotaged Generation Z. This isn’t just a problem for in-person encounters — it’s a problem with dating apps too. 

Hinge released a report on Feb. 6 that revealed the latest dating trends among Gen Z, and fear of rejection was at the top of their findings. 

According to the report, 56 percent of Gen Z Hinge users said their worries of rejection have stopped them from pursuing a romantic interest. Furthermore, 57 percent of Gen Z users said that they’ve refrained from telling someone their true feelings because they feared it would be a “turn-off.” 

It’s completely normal to fear rejection, as laying your heart on the line with someone face-to-face isn’t easy. However, if this kind of communication can’t even be done behind a screen, then long-term relationships are out of the question. 

This makes hookups seem like the easier choice because if two individuals cannot properly communicate their feelings to each other, then, naturally, there is no commitment.

However, is holding in your feelings until you feel like you’re gonna burst any way to live? If you were to die tomorrow, would you feel satisfied with the way you gave and received love? 

We hopeless romantics think about this quite often. 

I’m not going to hold anything back. In my almost 20 years on this earth, I have never been in a relationship. After many failed talking stages, my faith in being able to find a genuine connection has dwindled substantially. My efforts felt — and continue to feel — futile. 

And after all this time of trying and receiving nothing, you can’t help but wonder: Is it me? 

To answer my own question and probably the question of hundreds of thousands of individuals, no. It most likely has nothing to do with you as a person but everything to do with your intentions and the state of the world. 

I fail to understand how one can truly love if they never communicate. But it isn’t quite hopeless. After all, Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy experienced terrible miscommunication and still had one of the greatest love stories ever told.

With how dominant hookup culture is, it feels so wrong to want a love similar to what I read about and see in films. For many, the idea of receiving flowers, going on late-night drives and longing glances from across the room hasn’t been rocket science until now. 

And yet, we continue to hope for what could be because the idea of a great love is more tolerable than living without one.

Although being a romantic feels solitary, there are others who also look up at the moon longingly while listening to the “La La Land” soundtrack.

Indeed, you cannot make people think and feel as deeply as you do. But when you open your heart to others, it is a privilege to be loved by you.

More Articles

One Comment

  1. great article!!! plus you happened to mention two of my favorite pieces of media 😭😭