It only took Romeo one look at Juliet to fall for her. Darcy straight up told Elizabeth Bennett how much he “ardently admires and loves her.” Hell, even Noah wrote Allie a letter every day for a year. So, naturally when I receive texts saying “haha okay :)” I assume they really mean “I want all of you forever—you and me, everyday.” Whoops.
I’m a hopeless romantic, through and through. Even though I’m only 20, I believe that every guy I lock eyes with goes on my long list of Starbucks lovers and could be “the one.” I idealize love and can’t help but search for it. When I like someone, I cling to every compliment and romantic notion. I’m consumed by that gaze I snag when we study together, and am constantly envisioning our next encounter. After all, the title “hopeless romantic” traditionally refers to someone who wants to love and be loved in the simplest and purest of ways.
Unfortunately for me, in 2015 “hopeless romantic” translates to “crazy.” If I’m being honest, it’s people like me who perpetuate that unfortunate stereotype.
About a year and a half ago, I was into this guy. He’s confident, good looking and fun to be around. Long story short, his “playing hard to get” turned out to be genuine disinterest (whaaat?). Imagine his shock when he returned to his dorm (to which I had no key) late one night and found me in there creepily waiting for him. In retrospect, his reaction, which I interpreted to be excited surprise, was something much more along the lines of uncomfortable disbelief. Not my proudest moment.
After that chip in the snowpack came the avalanche. For a while I’ve been trying to embody the phrase “tomorrow isn’t guaranteed” when it comes to my love life. I quickly meet guy after guy, hope for the best, wear my heart on my sleeve, and profess my infatuation before the guy seems to know my last name. I’ve engaged with teammates, coworkers, friend-turned-flings and everything in between. I’ve bought them presents, written them notes and texted ten times in a row without reply.
Once, I even drove 12 hours to visit someone I’d only been dating for a month and a half. I justified it by reminding myself driving 688 miles is reasonable considering the things fictional characters do for love. Ariel gave up her voice, Jack Dawson let go and Gatsby built a mansion. My choices didn’t seem drastic.
Embarrassments, disappointments and mistakes have ensued time and time again. And yet, my hopes and attempts don’t fade. I still approach each relationship with the future in mind and my heart on my sleeve.
Recently, I asked myself why. This approach has clearly yet to work, and all I have to show for it is a slew of mortifying stories, a long list of exes and a reputation that doesn’t reflect my intentions or feelings. So why don’t I try and transform into the “cool girl?” Why don’t I wait days to text back, or blow guys off? Why can’t I just take things as they come and not be so invested in a future? Why must I insist on expecting more out of college’s infamous hookup culture?
Embarrassingly enough (and quite appropriate considering I’m embarrassing myself by writing this piece to begin with) it hit me while I was watching “He’s Just Not That Into You.” I don’t change my ways because I’m not hopeless. I’m hopeful. Hopeless applies to predicaments that cause despair or feats that are impossible to accomplish. Devoted love is certainly possible. Thanks for the reminder, Ginnifer Goodwin.
Surely not everyone has experienced being in love, but I believe I have. To people who do not know or desire the possibility of that kind of love, hopefulness does in fact seem hopeless. And it does in fact seem crazy. But for those of us who have known it, it makes perfect sense to keep looking.
This isn’t to belittle the virtue of independence and individual aspirations. Being single and content with oneself is vital to happiness in life. Hell, I like being alone a lot more than I like being around people a lot of the time.
Still, being a hopeful romantic is different. It’s the desire to share that independent contentment with someone else and letting that happiness grow as it conjoins. It’s sitting next to someone in utter silence and feeling a perfect calmness and comfort in the still air. It’s being 100 percent yourself and knowing that no matter what, the two of you are a team. It’s the look that says it all without speaking a word. It’s a beautiful thing, and I’ll continue to make a fool out of myself to find it.