When I was a little girl, my Grandad would walk me home in the winter, when the sun disappeared at 4 p.m. and snow would cover the ground, and every time, he would tell me the same story of how he used to walk an hour from the neighbouring town to spend an evening with my Grandma. No matter the weather, he had to see her, every day. I always hoped for a love like that. A high-school-sweetheart kind of love. Something reliable and faultless. But at 26, I realize that what we have now is world’s away from battling through the snow just for an evening in someone else’s company.
What we have now is modern dating. And it effing sucks.
Because modern dating takes away everything beautiful about finding someone and falling in love. It gives people a constant stream of better options and a million ways to hide it. It enables men to make you feel as if you are the only girl in the world whilst they’re messaging 10 others behind your back.
It is drowning in loop holes, all giving men both the chance and the ability to see, kiss and fuck another girl all while telling you you’re heading somewhere serious. It’s a hot-spot for all those men who want to have their cake and eat it too. Who revel in having a gorgeous woman ask about their day and make them fresh coffee but who also need that thrill of tit pics and 3 a.m. hookups. Who, for some unknown reason, will never be satisfied with just one girl.
It allows men to lie about this stream of other girls, to make excuses about why they haven’t texted back in a few days or why they’re always busy when you make plans. It somehow gives them an imagined right to treat women as if they’re replaceable, disposable and never good enough. It destroys all of those old-fashioned hearts which still crave serendipity; those moments you only get to see on a big screen, where the guy bumps into the girl at a coffee shop or walking their dogs in the park, who have an instant spark which develops into something wild and chaotic and beautiful.
It shatters this notion that when you’re first dating someone, they are only interested in you. It takes away the idea that movies and books have fed us, that courting is a phase which A. Exists and B. Happens mutually between two people.
It makes our stomachs do a little anxiety somersault whenever the guy’s phone vibrates or he receives a call or the room lights up at night because his cell is forever going off. It puts us in a constant state of limbo but refusing to believe that’s where we are.
It tapes our mouth shut when we want to ask “Where is this heading?” or “What do I mean to you?” Because we know we will only get the same vague response about going slow or casualness or somewhere serious, which at this point seems like a fictional destination.
It turns us into people we never used to be- confused and needy and pointlessly hopeful.
It denies that little girl who still lives inside all of us, the right to a beautiful story. It takes away that excitement which was born through romantic films and the books we used to fall asleep holding against our chests, of the handsome guy who looked at us if seeing for the first time, who would hold us as if their life depended on it and would stop flights and trains and run through a storm just to confess their love to us. It has replaced the sound of their voice with emoticons and one word answers. With sometimes, no reply at all, just three little dots which stop and start again. Which disappear all together, just like him.
And the worst part is, we still know we deserve more. We still know what is possible. We can still listen to the stories our grandparents tell us. But what will we tell our grandchildren? What kind of magic will we give them to dream about? What will they hope for?
Because I want it to be more than this.
It has to be more than this.