One of the most romantic things that has ever happened to me happened last week. I was getting off the train, and a lad asked me for directions. I couldn’t give them to him, but he also told me I was very beautiful. Sincerely. I spent the entirety of our brief conversation laughing awkwardly, and as we parted ways he told me to have a good day.

This sounds completely creepy, right? What I didn’t mention is that he also happened to be Welsh, gorgeous, and my age. But the expectations of young love nowadays have gone so downhill that anyone would automatically jump to the conclusion that the guy was a weirdo. Perhaps ten or fifteen years back, that story would have had a different reaction from you all. Yet the perception of little gestures, loyalty, and even something as basic as flirting have all been changed nowadays, and have different expectations slapped on them.

Have I ever had a guy buy me dinner? Yes, yes I have. Have I ever had a guy make me dinner? Somehow I have managed that as well. How many young people would be able to say that, though? Jobs for young people are scarce nowadays, so it’s not expected for someone to wine and dine their respective other half. But it’s not the price tag that matters, it’s the effort of the romance, and the moment. ‘Dates’ aren’t really a popular thing, it’s just ‘hanging out’ at whatever place is the most convenient. Young people’s expectations aren’t all that raised currently, because everything’s just a little bit too much effort.

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The expectation of having someone stay loyal has changed a lot too, as the definition of ‘loyal’ in a relationship has been warped by social media. It’s easy to have a flirt with someone over Facebook or whatnot. Even when I was dating someone, it would kill me a bit inside to see them messaging another girl when they thought I wasn’t looking. How many break ups do you know caused by someone sending whatnot to whoever? It has changed the dating game completely, and it means young love can’t ever really have that constant reassurance of a perfectly loyal counterpart.

Flirting itself has changed, too. You don’t whisper sweet nothings into someone’s ear (with your fingers crossed) nowadays. That’s done online. Some person will just ‘slide into your DMs’ as the saying goes, and hope that their winky faces and ‘u are so beautiful in ur dp bby’ will suffice. There’s no longer the expectation of someone going up to someone they like the look of in person and starting up a real conversation. Why do that when you can get to know them over the Internet? But then, why skip the romance and the thrill of the chase?

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I can’t stop people from flirting over the Internet, or change the economy so every young person can have a frivolous romance. You can even call me old-fashioned and a fan of Pride and Prejudice (…which I am, but that’s besides the point). Take this as a mourning for the simplicity of how young love used to be, and hopefully a message that, with a little bit of faith and trust (and pixie dust!), young love can be memorable and meaningful for the people involved.

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