As I lazed on my bed on a typical weekday night, I noticed my roommate staring at her phone intently. Unblinking, unmoving – like a hawk watching its prey. Naturally, I was curious, so I asked. She tossed her phone to me with a grimace, and I saw the picture of a man smiling suggestively. I raised my eyebrows, quickly realizing that this was the app they’re all talking about: Tinder. My roommate, maintaining her irritation, complained that all anyone wants, nowadays, is a ‘quick fling, and to be done with it.’
I’ve heard people saying, ‘That’s exactly what it’s meant for!’ Like everything else, we want it quick and easy, and more often than not, we don’t want to get emotional. There are people who deride the hook-up culture, and people who take pride in casual dating. These, of course, are the extremes. All these different types and labels – I don’t have time to get through it all. Today, apps like Tinder seem to describe our attitudes towards relationships in general.
I think being in these undefined relationships has its pros and cons. On the one hand, we’re not required to take time or effort to build a rapport, and establish comfort and trust. The simplicity of a quick fix is instant gratification without the struggle. There’s an upside to not committing: You’re free to do what you like. You don’t have to deal with someone else’s expectations or flaws and you don’t have to set yourself up for scrutiny. We escape the sting of rejection – sometimes, the only result of genuine affection.
But, wait. There might be trouble lurking in the corner, when you substitute a real human connection with fleeting moments of passion and watered-down conversations. Our generation excels in mind games: articles about ‘what he really meant’ and ‘what she’s really saying when she touches your arm’ (Thought Catalog, anybody?). When asked to give our all and trust in another person, more likely than not, we’re out the door. The thought of laying your feelings out is considered too risky; what if they don’t feel the same, or worse, laugh in your face? Instead, we choose to brush those people off who aren’t afraid to show their feelings as ‘weak’. Personally, it’s a terrifying thought, one I’ve struggled with myself, but the chances of it being worth it are fairly high.
In an article regarding vulnerability, Manson states vulnerability is ‘consciously choosing to NOT hide your emotions or desires from others.’ He doesn’t mean sharing them to an absurd extent or using them to manipulate others. I agree with him that honesty IS sexy. It creates trust and intimacy, and gets rid of everyone’s worst enemy: ambiguity. Let’s leave the ego clashes and power play for the office. When it comes to relationships, it’s probably your best bet to be… real.
I’m in no way advocating that people who prefer casual relationships should be treated as inferior to people who invest themselves for the long haul. Obviously, not everyone’s rushing for the altar, or looking for a soul mate. However, the day you find yourself thinking you want your ‘friends with benefits’ or even just your friend to be the one you wake up next to everyday – whoever you are, guy or girl, old or young – take the leap. I don’t mean serenade them at 2 am (cheese police), but have a mature discussion about it with not just your heart but also your head. Ideally it would end up like Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman (‘No Strings Attached’), but again, that’s Hollywood. However, even the blow of being rebuffed can’t match the never-ending circle of retrospective ‘what ifs’.
As Ed Sheeran sings, ‘Tell her that I love her, tell her that I need her, tell her that she’s more than a one night stand.’