This morning I was eating breakfast in the kitchen of the Cat’s Pajamas Hostel (wtf? right?) in Berlin. Tired and groggy, I was in my own little world about to log into my phone as I begrudgingly put away another shitty German breakfast when the guy across from me unexpectedly introduced himself. We got to talking and I was struck by a certain idea of his. It went something like this:
True Love, he mused, or at least the first experience of True Love, must be unexpected – it must take you by surprise. If this is indeed true, then in today’s dating environment, where no one ever relinquishes control, it must therefore be an impossibility for True Love to take root and grow.
This got me thinking.
The way I see it today is no one is caught off guard by Love anymore. No one ever has to sacrifice studies or work for that beckoning “what if” of Love’s call. No, the way I see it, we all have our dating lives preplanned and managed by an app. Whether its Tinder, Grindr, OkCupid, or even ChristianMingle when we want that special sort of attention we can simply log in start searching and get noticed. It is in this way that we remain in the driver’s seat for the entire experience, but we never really let go, do we?
As I thought about this, I glanced around the lobby of the hostel and noticed a bunch of twenty-somethings all staring at their phones; only glancing up when a stranger would walk by, and then, taking note that they weren’t invited into some magical moment right then and there, they quickly plugged themselves back into cyberspace.
Whatever happened to a bunch of young people getting together and seeing what could happen? Whatever happened to reaching for the same red shiny apple at the grocery store and brushing hands with that unexpected beauty? Whatever happened to that barista who would write her number on your coffee cup? Whatever happened to that feeling in your stomach when you decided you would ask that girl out from class? Whatever happened to getting absolutely nothing done because you couldn’t get that boy’s smile out of your head? Didn’t that happen at the most inconvenient time? Weren’t you completely unprepared for such feelings?
If it is really the case that True Love is born out of such moments, then I fear my new friend may be right. I fear True Love has been sentenced to distant memory of generations past; a mere relic from our parent’s and grandparent’s ways of life. A relic wrapped up in fairy tales, ridiculous traditions, and binary gender norms, which we look back upon and say how silly, how unenlightened, how stupid. Unfortunately, I can see True Love looking back at us and the saying the exact same thing…