Atop his mother’s noble mini van, the young knight valiantly wields his golden iPhone 6s in the face of danger, and in an awe-inspiring show, he deftly double clicks the screen, pauses for the barest of moments, and then slides into the DM’s of the maiden for whose heart he was fighting. His courage and strong will, needless to say, elicited the most wonderful of heart-eye emojis from the maiden, followed by her hand in a Netflix and Chill date. Our hero had found love.
Ah, modern fairy tales.
That story really pulled at the heartstrings, didn’t it? Maybe it even evoked a sense of admiration, of inspiration to go out and find your own true love through the meanderings of the modern technological world.
Unless, of course, you’re like me, and your thoughts while reading the excerpt read something along the lines of “That’s got to the saddest piece of romantic literature I’ve ever read and if Byron were alive he’d spit on the screen.”
Because it is sad. What happened to bravery? What happened to face-to-face honesty, to sappy love songs outside windows, to freaking poetry?
My generation has condemned the old way of creating relationships— not out of malice, but out of fear. It’s always been an experience and a half to go up to someone you like and strike a conversation without making yourself look stupid, but people used to puff their chests out and take risks and start that conversation anyway, because they understood that the possibility of reward was worth the possibility of embarrassment. Older generations hoped, however, that operating with the opposite sex would get easier with time, but instead of a love potion or a smooth talking robot gadget, they got Tinder: “It’s like real life, but better.”
Are you kidding me? Nothing is better than real life unless you’re a VR or drug addict, which I’m betting that most people reading this article are not, and to those people I would like to say something.
The fear is never going to go away. It’s always going to be scary to approach someone, to tell someone you love them, or god forbid to commit and utilize the ever-ominous “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” labels. But the solution to overcome that fear is not to run away from it or avoid it within the realm of social media and the technological cloud. Think of what the knights and romantics of old would say to your dating mechanisms. Sending that risky text you’ve spent the last half hour mulling over is not bravery. Liking a series of Instagram posts and Tweets of your crush and praying to the god of irrationality that somehow they’ll deduce that you like them is not honest communication. Texting your friend and helping her decide which emoji gives off the right “vibe” is not romantic poetry.
Love is one heck of a scary dragon, but we have to stop trying to conquer it from behind the safety of a screen. Because the courage it takes to approach love face-to-face, the scars you might get when it bites you or burns you, the adrenaline rush that will fill you as you realize you’re getting closer and closer to winning, and finally, the pride of fulfillment as you stand on top of the dragon with your non-iPhone-6s sword raised high- all these things will make the success of love so much more meaningful, so much more fulfilling than if you were to send a remote-controlled robot into the dragon pit.
So I’m not saying to return to the medieval age, but let’s start to take risks again. Let’s cry, let’s fail, let’s make fools of ourselves. Let’s open ourselves to pain, but because we know scars heal with newer, smarter skin. Let’s make intimate walks through the park less of a luxury and more of a pastime, let’s argue face-to-face and kiss when we’re done, let’s learn to trust in letting go.
If you’re still reading this, let’s work together to take love head on and rewrite the modern fairy tale into something that future generations won’t want to spit on.