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A Beginner’s Guide to Hopeless Romanticism

The concept of being a hopeless romantic seems to get lost in high school. I for one, am capable of exuding disgusting amounts of hopeless romanticism. The Dictionary defines a hopeless romantic as “a person who holds sentimental and idealistic views on love, especially in spite of experience, evidence, or exhortations otherwise.”

Is it so wrong to want John Cusack outside your window with a boombox? Or to want Heath Ledger to serenade you in front of the whole soccer team? Or to buy the person you have a crush on an original Chagall painting?

In my mind, the word “courting” is still used to describe asking a person on a date—I have been told that only 80-year-old women say that in the 21st century. But I cannot be the only one confused by how high schoolers go about dating . . . right?

I’m leaning into my 80-year-old-aesthetic when I say that technology and social media has changed the way people, not just teenagers, connect. When you are actively involved and have a flair for social media, it seems like you can strike up a conversation with anyone anywhere—as long as it is digital. Some people are old-school face-to-face conversationalists, I am one of them, and for those of us unable to spark a natural connection over technology, especially with a crush, we are left ill-equipped for whatever this “modern courting system” entails.

The ability to communicate digitally says little to nothing about who you are as a person (that is unless you send texts or messages saying “I’m sorry, this is who I am as a person,” which often is an admission of defeat). Teachers, parents, and maybe even friends will tell you how valuable these face-to-face conversations are and with the innate awkwardness of high school, failed flirting attempts should come as no surprise. So why do we feel stupid when it happens? Because being direct with your feelings makes talking to people so difficult, and no one wants to say, “Hey, I like you,” because the fear of rejection and embarrassment is palpable.

High schoolers posting on their SnapChat story in hopes one person sees it could be compared to Jay Gatsby throwing lavish parties just so Daisy Buchanan might show up.

Between the 1980s and the 2010s, teenagers lost some of their confidence in face-to-face experiences simply because the means of communication has changed. That means those of us not skilled in this field are trying to catch up and are often failing miserably in our attempts to express feelings. It is okay to want grand romantic gestures—it is the staple of being a hopeless romantic—but it is important to understand that while John Cusack might have stood outside your window with a boombox in 1989, he’s more likely to send you a song link over text in 2019.

As high schoolers, we often crave some kind of relationship because isn’t that what’s supposed to happen in high school? Aren’t I supposed to have a boy/girlfriend at least once before graduating?

If that’s a graduation requirement, then a boy better ask me out real soon.

In all seriousness, it is natural to want those experiences, to have someone to slow dance with at prom who isn’t your best friend since fifth grade. There is no easy answer to developing relationships because they, like everything, take time and sometimes the scariest part of life is the waiting game.

So if you are a hopeless romantic who is drowning in the proper etiquette for texting your crush—you are not alone. I am the queen of terrible texting, but I’ve stopped dwelling on it. I always preferred to write angst-ridden, horrible poems, about my middle school broken heart, so that is what I will leave you with:

“I Only Write Haikus for You Pt. 1”

Written January 2014 by Kendra Olson

Seems Shakespeare was right:

Music is the food of love,

So I must be deaf.

Photo Credit: Word Swag

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