Culture Critique: Romance Just Isn’t What it Used to Be

Call me old-fashioned, but I’m against today’s standards of romance and dating. 

Every now and then, I see couples around acting really cute, and as I watch them I long for that picture perfect kind of companionship, wondering why I don’t have that. Then I think about how most people are when it comes to dating and realize the biggest reason why I’m not in a relationship is because I refuse to accept today’s norms. 

As a hopeless romantic, I fall in love with the gestures I see onscreen, read in books or hear stories about from older generations. I love stories about people who work hard to be in a relationship and fight for it. I crave a mutual partnership that is full of love and respect. 

I’m not saying that today’s couples don’t fight for their relationships or love each other. How they get there, however, is different from the way it used to be. 

Society hardly courts anymore. While flowers and other materialistic expressions are appreciated, I’m not even talking about that. What I mean is, I want the old school kind of dating. I want someone to pick me up at my house and come to the door to meet my parents. I want someone to hold the door open for me, or even just hold my hand. I want communication and shy, sweet flirting. 

This isn’t me saying I expect one person to put in all the effort in the beginning of a relationship. But I don’t think it’s that much to ask for to be taken on a date before expecting the physical escalations that have become and are expected after merely a few interactions. 

It’s so easy to dismiss a relationship today because of hookup culture. A like on Instagram equals flirting, a Snapchat that says “wyd” equals let’s hangout, and leaving the bar with someone equals … you get my point. 

Why is it that people today seem to be afraid of dating and commitment? Instead of going steady with someone, most people have accepted a culture where we go on for months just having a “thing” with someone. I’ve heard the term since I was in middle school, and I’ve come to define it as two people who are talking and hanging out but are not in an official partnership. Since there is no title of a relationship, when one person decides they want out, there isn’t an official breakup. I’ve seen people who have had a “thing” for months, to just go their separate ways like nothing happened at all. 

I get the concept behind having a “thing’” with someone, but sometimes when those end it’s worse than a real breakup because you don’t always get closure. 

At least these have been my own personal experiences. It makes me feel like I’m doing something very wrong when I express I want more than a thing with someone and I get dropped for it. I just don’t understand why people don’t want to put effort into turning a spark into a flame. Shouldn’t you be trying to get me to smile before you try to take my shirt off? 

You can “ok boomer” me, it’s okay, I don’t mind. I just feel like the bar really is on the floor, and I don’t know what to do about it. We’re all a part of the problem sometimes, even me, when I bother to answer a Tinder message with the eyes emoji. 

Nothing’s going to get better unless we start doing better. If you’re reading this and feel the way I do, I challenge you to stand your ground. Respect yourself and know you’re worth more than a “wyd” snap. It’s okay to want a little old school romance and flirting. 

On the other hand, if you’re reading this and feel a connection to the other people I’m describing, I ask you to take what I’m writing to heart. Relationships are so much better after taking the time to build a foundation for something special.

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About Emily O'Neil 114 Articles
Emily O’Neil is a third-year public relations major with a minor in creative writing, originating from Clifton Park, NY. This is her sixth semester on the Oracle and second as Sports Editor. Her favorite team is the New York Yankees even though they keep disappointing her. You can reach her by emailing