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Teen Romance | Aerin Flaharty

How do we define teenage romance nowadays? Is it a double snap back? An add by search instead of quick add? Maybe the occasional awkward eye contact at school that lasts for 0.5 seconds at most, but in its entirety will give you butterflies for days. Oh, I know, it's the “wyd” text at 2 am from the musty dude on your bestfriends list. He only knows how to yell at his mom, drive like a maniac, and repeat the same two outfits every week, but let’s face it, he’s the only amount of attention you’re going to get right now. In this day and age, as a girl, these are the unfortunate standards I’ve come to meet and desperately bid to diss in the disappointing world of teenage love.

“Back in the day” as one would say, people were wooed and swept off their feet by potential love interests. Or at least that’s what pop culture has shown me. Call me a hopeless romantic, but whatever happened to getting asked out in-person (key word person) and making real connections with a person rather than a person on a screen. I know these expectations aren’t unrealistic; unfortunately, they're just nonexistent at the moment. Don’t get me wrong, new technology is wonderful in allowing us to be able to reach anyone at any time. But ever since it came into the picture, something has definitely been missing. History shows us that there once was potential to have such a thing as a fairytale ending. Now, we’re considered lucky if we can get past the talking stage.

Okay, so you’ve started talking to a guy or girl. You consistently send snaps back and forth because well, we all know this generation lacks one thing and one thing only: face to face confrontation. Maybe you even have a streak. You feel electrified and your adrenaline spikes with every Snapchat notification you hear, crossing your fingers it's them. Your heart sinks when it’s not. Better luck next time. But sooner or later, after getting left on delivered for what could be hours, you’ll get that Snapchat you’ve been waiting for; either to be severely underwhelmed by the infamous side eye picture or to be sparked with delight by a full face photo. And every now and then, just to keep you the slightest bit interested, you’ll carry on a conversation little by little. If you’re fortunate enough, you’ll be added to their private story, which is basically just Gen Z’s way of shooting their shot. And as this goes on and on, you begin to wonder: will this ever really work out? Potentially is the answer, that is if you ever build up the confidence to see them in-person.

For some, social media has been a blessing when it comes to the dating world. For adults, Tinder, Hinge, and OkCupid have been the reason people find their soulmate. For teenagers … it's a different story. Maybe people don’t have the confidence to talk to someone in-person in public or at school. And sometimes these online encounters push people to make an effort in the real world. Maybe I’m crazy, but sometimes I just wish we could go back to the old days.

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