I’ve just experienced another baneful text exchange with a boy I’ve never met. I can thank app-based dating for this request. Do you know what he asked me to do at the hour of 12:30 AM? He asked, “Hey ;) Wanna come over?”! He wrote it just like that, winky face included. Mind you, I had begun communicating with him just a few days prior. He was a new person in my life and one that I was hoping was a good one, ideally a mesmerizing one that I could become addicted to and fall in love with. But no, he proved himself to be neither of those things in a pathetically brief period of time.
I wish this wasn’t an aberrant request of southern California bachelors, but I know all too well how common requests like these are. It should be a shocking, shouldn’t it? It would have been shocking in the 1950s, 60s, 70s, 80s, likely even the 90s. Yet, here we are in 2017 and everyone in Generation Y and older generation Z’ers knows what that question implies. I know not all men on dating apps are interested in this same (in my eyes) abhorrent motive of momentarily pleasurable but equally insipid, and potentially awkward, sex. Yet when situations like this find me over and over again resembling a constantly rotating Ferris wheel of dating hell, I can’t help but feel temporarily forlorn.
My hope always returns because it must in order for me to eventually find real, heart-enveloping love, but I can’t say these little repeated hits don’t affect me or my life. I know girls who have come to not only accept, but to expect, the “atrocity” of the hook-up culture. Anything that leaves you feeling empty is an atrocity, and I stand by this word choice. I know some girls have even asked men to hook up at late hours, too. My male friends have told me so, and I believe it. Sure, people have desires. We can even call them “needs.” I understand that. I understand why people do this, but I understand even more that hook-ups aren’t for me.
Perhaps some men would disagree and some women would claim that they also enjoy the ephemeral nature of a hook-up, but if we all really thought about it, it’s glaringly apparent that any pleasurable physical sensation is not, in the long run, all that pleasurable. Beautiful people are common; beautiful souls that you can fall in love with are rare. Anything worth anything in this life takes effort, time, and patience to find. In my opinion, hooking up is the ultimate form of settling.
Temporary dopamine hits to the primal part of my brain will never exist in the same realm of bliss as falling in love with someone I’ve slowly weaved a unique, strong emotional connection with. Sex may feel like relishing apple pie à la mode, and an orgasm may very well be like sinking your teeth into the best cupcake this planet has to offer, but none of it lasts terribly long and soon afterward, you are left back where you started.
The bottom line is that a purely hedonistic, ephemeral sensation will never be able to compete with the best experience and emotions of your entire life: the euphoria of ardent, passionate, timeless, lifelong love with another person whose well-being has become as important, if not more important, than your own. I am certain that loving someone else is one of the most powerful ways to create a meaningful life of no regrets. It’s so simple and basic, but it is a classic truth.
Love is enjoying every single second of every single day because you are either with the person you love or you get to daydream about him or her and all of the reasons why you two are so right for each other. You know you are in love when you want to share the best experiences of your life and proudest parts of yourself while exposing your deepest, almost buried secrets, naked thoughts, and previously hidden feelings. No matter what you share of the realest, most vulnerable parts of your exposed mind, you know they not only won’t run away, but they will make you feel understood and connected in a manner you never dreamed possible until it actually happens to you. It feels as close to magical as any experience ever will.
Love is the only intangible possession worth more than any amount of money. Why would anyone settle for anything less? If you know you will never be able to fall in love with the person you are dating or hooking up with, why spend any time with them at all? Why waste their time and yours when you could be using that time to search for the one you really could fall stunningly head-over-heels for? If you continue to see someone you know you could never fall deeply for, it is likely you will face the problem of one person being substantially more interested and emotionally invested than the other. Potentially hurting another person while you experience transient physical pleasure seems pretty vapid, and even morally wrong. Meeting people you cannot truly love with all of your heart is bound to happen, but the mistake is fooling yourself into trying to love them or lying to yourself or them about the actual nature of the situation. And I don’t think there is anything attractive about a guy who can sleep with as many women as possible for the least amount of effort.
The bottom line could not be more simplistic. Strong intimacy first, sex second. Who is the right person for me? I know he will know everything about me and I will know everything about him and the strength of our love will be fueled by the epicenter of who we both are and exposing all of it. It will be fueled by months and years of life experience and the stunning depth of understanding that results from this. This may be the riskier path, but often the greatest risks result in the most sensational rewards. I certainly don’t need love from another person to save me, but as most of us do, I yearn for the extra dose of exquisite beauty that come from a life in which the deepest and purest of loves was found and savored, something truly timeless in its joy.