As Valentine’s day approaches, two writers give their opinions on love from vastly different stances and try and encapsulate the modern attitude towards love.
I’m a pessimist towards love by Grace Robinson
Like every child, I watched many Disney films when I was growing up, Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid were some of the favourites, but they always ended the same way, with a wedding. As I got older, I started to appreciate films like Treasure Planet because it was a fun film and not focused on love, Moana is a movie I wish was released as a child because she’s a strong princess who is valued for her independence. As I grew up like many people I imagine, I thought I had to marry someone to show that I love them. In general, family and people, would always say “when you get married” or “that’s one for the wedding” and every time they said it, it made me want to not get married even more.
Weddings, for me, are a waste of money and time. People have told me there are benefits to it, but I struggle to agree with them. Plus, as a feminist, the idea of being “given away” and legally bound to someone for my entire life doesn’t sit right with me. Divorce is a significant deterrent which can cause heartache, it just doesn’t seem worth it.
As a Gen Z, the digital age can make it harder to connect with people. I always hear of modern love stories where people fall in love because someone slid into their DMs or they both met in a comment section. I’m someone who gets weirded out if a stranger wants to DM me and start a conversation because my profile is private, and I struggle to text compared to talking usually. In school, people would talk about who was dating, which always made me curious about how people could get into relationships quickly. I was just a kid who enjoyed school (Yes, I was that kid.), love was simply not my priority.
The weird thing about all of this is that I still enjoy the occasional romance plot despite being a “pessimist” towards love. Don’t get me wrong, I prefer the main story to be focussed on other themes but if there’s a side plot with characters falling in love I’ll enjoy it. One of my favourite tropes in books when it comes to romance is the enemies to lover’s trope. There’s something about people who hate each other falling for one another that I really enjoy.
My general feeling to love is that I don’t really want to force anything because when it is, that’s how the worst relationships start out. Still, there’s something about the feeling of infatuation being confused with love that terrifies me because I don’t want to get the feeling wrong.
Love is the answer by Georgia Hilton-Buckley
“There is nothing more Sir than to love, and be loved in return”, this quote from Sebastian Faulks novel Birdsong inspired me so much I wrote a 4000-word piece of coursework on it. Contrasting Grace, I’m a crazy optimist about love. It’s one of the few things I believe wholeheartedly in.
I’m a cynic and a pessimist in every other aspect of my life, but love is something I can never give up on and don’t want to ever give up on. My friends would say I’ve read too many novels or that I’m just an old romantic who gets sentimental over roses and long speeches, but I know why I believe in love. Love has transcended the generations and remained a force that can build careers, destroy countries and create the greatest stories ever told. In Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116, love is described as the most powerful thing in the universe, and there is little worth in life if love does not exist.
Personally, I’ve never defined myself by a relationship, and while some might say I fall head over heels for anyone who smiles at me, I’m happy being single. I don’t want to waste myself on someone who isn’t worth my time, although I frequently do. I want that maddening, soul-crushing electric love we are told doesn’t exist in real life. I want the love where you look at the person, and everything just feels right, and the world can be seen in a soft sunset glow, and I believe it exists. As cringy as that sounds, love is cringy.
I’m not going to be evasive because love is hard, if it was easy there wouldn’t be books and heart-breaking songs about it. If love was easy, I doubt I’d get teary-eyed every time I listen to the Twilight soundtrack, as much as that’s a tell about my character. Sometimes I convince myself that I’ll never be bowled over by love because my standards are too high; however, I always return to optimism.
I don’t want to be in a world without love, a world where we are just waiting for the next bad thing to happen and the next person to leave our lives, no matter how many times we get burned it still worth imagining because without it what is there to comfort us. Things don’t always work out, and we get hurt, but we’ve got to keep hope that soon it will change
Funnily enough, Georgia and Grace both have a very similar cynical outlook to life. However, Georgia is immensely hopeful and that she isn’t afraid of love, whilst Grace is. Perfectionism makes us scared of getting things wrong, especially if we’ve been hurt before. Both sides are varying and valid and seem to encompass modern feelings on love.
Grace Robinson is a first-year English Student. She is passionate about feminism, politics and society. You can find her on instagram: @grace.lizz12
Georgia Hilton-Buckley is a third-year Politics student at the University of Leicester with an infatuation for books, particularly the classics. She is interested in feminism, philosophy, and music.
Images from CANVA