Romance: a love affair, esp. an intense and happy but short-lived affair involving young people
Dating: an appointment for a particular time, esp. with a person to whom one is sexually or romantically attached.
Advertising: the act or practice of calling public attention to one’s product, service,need, etc., especially by paid announcements in newspapers and magazines, over radio or television, on billboards, etc.
Now that we’ve got the definitions out there, allow me to explain.
Commercialized content surrounds and influences us – be it print, billboards or digital – all of which are highly influential.
Look around and you may notice a continuous pattern of the usual “insert hot chick to sell this product” to “happy couples who ____ together, STAY together.” This all plays a major role in our media consumption, but this isn’t new. Commercially, dating and relationships have always been a ‘brand’ of their own.
Marketers are Listening
If you type dating and marketing into the Google search engine, the results are beyond impressive. Marketers are well aware of how profitable the dating ‘industry’ is, so looking for love online is just another way these marketers can formulate takeaways from top online dating sites.
There is an interesting contrast between the commercialized use of dating, and our over-abundance in access to dating and technology. No matter where we are, we can creep on strangers from the convenience of our mobile devices, and we are served with continuous reminders that this is what we should be doing with our spare time.
We are living in an era which glorifies the idea of romance and sexuality, as much as it demeans it.
This glorification is not limited to brands, advertisers and their lack of unique content or creative direction. From the music that we listen to, to the food we eat, every consumable (in one way or another) is linked to sexuality and romance. Why? Because sex sells!
It could be said that this ‘drive’ also encourages us to seek out that ‘perfect’ individual (or perhaps some gal or fella for the evening), yet when we work more than 40 hours a week and have actual lives to lead beyond the office – these efforts become futile.
Tinder and of other GPS hook-up apps are designed to bring you closer to people you otherwise might not meet (and honestly, you’re probably better off without). However, when excess opportunity presents itself, you are more likely to ‘abuse it’ rather than use it for that purpose – or encounter someone who would.
So are we better off today, with the dating world (literally) at our fingertips, working like sheep, drifting through the interwebs, Tindering like drones and ‘creeping’ into the wee-hours when we should be sleeping?
You Don’t Know What You’ve Got T’ill It’s Gone
There’s no way to predict the future. I’m certain that 20+ years ago (hell, even 10!) before Tinder was nothing more than a useful stick that you brought on camping trips, we would have jumped stupidly with joy at the concept of electronic dating on a mobile device (see: NOT a car phone) which used GPS (even the acronym would have confused us) to find romance (or a fling).
Remember the chills you got from listening to classic love ballads? The feeling of genuine longing for that ‘one that got away’, while playing U2 (anything) in the background?
Do we even allow ourselves to ‘feel’ anymore?
What I’m saying is: we have gone from ‘With or Without You” to “With or Without my iPhone”.
Everything today is replaceable and easily disposable – material objects and otherwise. Our fast-paced society has evolved in a way that we can keep up (an not with those Kardashians) because we are SO busy with our lives, that we don’t allow ourselves time to eat a decent meal, let alone recover from heart-break.
Like frogs jumping from lily pad to lily pad, we tend to do the same with partners, because self-gratification and denial are prevalent. In reality, we need to feel what it’s like to have our hearts broken, just as much as we need to experience the recovery process.
In short: Love is real. Romance as we have been taught is a figment of our imagination – a result of what we have been fed and what we have been taught since before we could even pronounce the word.
Does this mean that we need to lower our expectations?
Do we need to re-evaluate our expectations in dating as far as romance is concerned?
Perhaps. Yes. Of course!
When we read a love story, watch a movie or find ourselves a devotee to a love-struck TV series, we imprint these ‘feelings’ and increase our expectations to replicate the same emotions as transmitted by actors. We uphold a value to romance, love and dating based on what we see, and when it falls short of our expectations, we are filled with doubt.
LOVE is real. The butterflies are real. Romance is superficial.
Romance: a baseless, made-up story, usually full of exaggeration or fanciful invention.
If there’s anything you can takeaway from this thought piece, it’s my advice to stop pining away over fabricated love stories, filter out the B.S from advertising, take break from Tinder/Scruff/Grindr (etc) and start living in the moment.