I am eighteen and a half years old; my sister, Sara, is sixteen. Naturally, even if we won’t admit it, we’re in love with the idea of being in love. That’s the curse and the blessing that comes with being a teenage girl.
I don’t know why God made most teenage girls completely and stupidly in love with boys, but it’s an obsession that completely define a student’s high school career. I might get some hate for this, but sometimes I think that high school is too early to actually date. A high school romance just isn’t worth anything when the relationship is doomed to end once college tears the two members apart. Of course, in high school (not long ago by anyone’s definition), I thought differently. I thought of being swept off my feet and going to high school dances and all of that other corny crap. It wasn’t until I was on the other side of graduation that I saw how short high school was and how fruitless it was to let yourself love anyone that you couldn’t follow.
Now that I’m in college, things have gotten even worse. The word “relationship” is basically erased from your vocabulary as soon as you enroll; it’s replaced with the word “hook-up”, or the dreaded “long-distance boyfriend.” The mission of a date changes, too. Many people are looking for sexual flings, but some are looking for the big M: Marriage. No joke. I know people who get married at age eighteen. They’ve got three kids and a minivan at age twenty-one.
So the concept of dating is screwy. We start to legitimately feel for people at a young age. I won’t deny that. I think that kids take themselves a bit too seriously sometimes, but I do believe that human beings under the age of eighteen can genuinely love and care for another. It’s a sheltered love, one of puppy dogs and rainbows and pretense, but it’s love.
But everyone is stuck in a bad spot when it comes to dating culture, no matter their age. Kids in high school are hormone-fueled and surrounded by this notion of true love. Turn on the local pop radio station; you won’t find more than a handful of songs that aren’t about pining for some boy or some girl. When my sister and I go somewhere in my little blue car, the music we listen to – either from the radio or Sara’s iPod – is chock-full of silly love songs. I can tell when Sara is really focused on a boy by the passion with which she sings along (sorry, friend). When college comes around, all romantic energy is devoured by a mass of horny, stressed out dorm dwellers. And by the time we graduate from college and we have to live like adults, we’re kind of forced to marry as soon as possible – because nobody wants to be the awkward single girl.
I don’t know, maybe I’m just bitter. In a world where 50% of marriages end in divorce, I see more and more “eternal couples” giving up. There are few marriages that I see work, and even fewer (obviously) young-adult relationships. I’ve lost hope. I’m not sure I believe in that “one person for everyone” thing anymore. I mean, what’s the best-case scenario? Death?
Despite my rather sour outlook, I find myself singing along to those silly love songs. Because even though I know how cruddy the world around me is, I still cling to the girlish notion that somewhere there is someone that was made just for me – and I was made just for him. I’m gonna be honest, I still like that cheesy first-love thing.
As I look at the words I’ve been writing, and at the confusing jumble of words and emotions that have clogged my brain, I’ve decided that I don’t really know what the heck I’m talking about. I don’t know the point I’m trying to make, and I don’t have a snappy moral-of-the-story. I’m not advocating for serious teenage dating, but I’m not not advocating for it either. I guess the best I have to say is that being a teenager is a unique experience. No matter how seriously you take life, no matter how often you deny liking that boy in your math class, and no matter how much you hate this type of talk, you’ll fall head-over-heels for someone before you can even file taxes. And as much as it’s a curse, it’s a blessing. Being in love is fun. That’s why those damn love songs are so popular: they remind us of some of the happiest (if not sappiest) moments of our lives.