The Evolution of Love.

The Evolution of Love.

Sabrina Dorronsoro

A single rose. A box of chocolates. A kiss on the cheek. Today: a fairytale. Twenty years ago: a reality.  In our fast-pace twentieth century it seems as though we are skipping quite a few steps on our fast tracks to love. Dates are almost non-existent, relationships have evolved into unspoken flings, and the art of chivalry has become something we only see in 50’s black and white films.

It’s a sad but true tale. In this day and age it is cooler to be mean to a girl than to sweep her off her feet. But, where does this twisted mindset come from? Has television’s stereotypical bad boy image seeped into our real lives? It seems as though now a days the only romantic role models we have to look to are jerks or mythical vampires. Regardless of how dreamy these pale immortal vampires may be their chivalry seems to be just as mythical as the characters themselves.

Bad boys, on the other hand, are crawling all over the place. Take the “romantic” comedy “Knocked Up” for example. The male protagonist (Seth Rogen) is a stoner-loser with a crudely sexual sense of humor while the female lead (Katherine Heigel) is a successful news anchor that is seemingly stuck with Rogen due to an unexpected pregnancy. This love story is not a love story at all but rather a story about how Rogen needs to and does grow up. In turn, these types of movies (and all of the movies like it) send a message to girls that all guys are immature idiots who need help to grow up. “Knocked Up” is not the only movie like this; there are a million movies with jerk, loser, lame [insert any other unflattering adjective here] male leads that take their “hero’s journey” to maturity on-screen and in the end usually end up with the girl. Does this mean that girls should fall for these losers and watch their storybook path to maturity pan out in front of them? Lamentably, this seems to be the mindset of women. Adam Sandler, in his new movie “Just Go With It”, pretending to have two kids just to get a super hot girl proves amusing on screen, but is it catapulting people into a twisted mindset? Girls’ acceptance of this type of behavior is just as bad as boys mirroring this movie behavior. Girls, now, are trained to love this stoner loser bad boy and girls make this clear by their choice in love interests. It’s far more interesting to take on a guy with a laundry list of issues than a good guy. So, the boys keep acting lame and girls continue to accept it and this cycle becomes self-perpetuating.

Movies and media aren’t the only thing to blame the 21st century has also subverted many of the traditional gender role expectations. There is no more obvious rigid separation between the two genders; girls are just as willing to burp in front of a guy as they are in front of another girl. Whether this new level of comfort is for the better is subjective however, it is undeniably there. There is no more tiptoeing around the opposite sex anymore. With this blurring of gender roles, the ideal foundation of a relationship seems to be shifting. This lack of propriety has obviously led to more relaxed romantic relationships, with no need for rigid labels such as “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” but rather a comfortable non-spoken agreement that they are more than friends. New box-office hit “No String Attached” depicts this casual relationship perfectly. Two best friends of the opposite gender decide to have casual sex with no labels, no stress, just sex. While this relationship seemingly works for stars Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman these non-official relationships can be troubled water for teens, blurring lines of what is wrong and right. Without a definitive label there is no set list of “social norms” for the relationship. It isn’t written anywhere that there needs to be a dinner with the parents, or a special present for your birthday; relationships take on a more go-with-the-flow attitude.

Love has changed. Who can define love as a clear entity anymore? Love in the 21st century can be between a man and a woman, a man and a man, and a woman and a woman. Love is not black and white. Love is purple and pink and yellow and everything in between. Marriage is no longer a huge ordeal, people often pull together spur-of-the-moment weddings and leave behind the traditional ballroom showcases. With divorce rates at over 50% who can tell anybody how love works? Love is an intricate game and every individual person needs to find his or her own strategy. From the glamorous and chivalrous romance of “Gone With The Wind” to the comedic crude comedy of “Knocked Up” it is clear that our definition of love has changed, however, at the end of the day love is love and in the wise words of The Beatles that should be all we need.