I’m a sucker for romance. I recently binge–watched the entire Modern Love series on Amazon in one sitting. I have Dinah Washington, Ann Peebles, and Patsy Cline records looming over my dresser. I tear up nearly every time I read a John Keats poem. And I love romantic comedies.

Maybe (undoubtedly) it’s the white suburban girl in me—the one who also loves Panera, seasonal coffee, and American malls—but especially during this time of year, I can’t get enough rom–coms. As much as I now take issue with the amount of heteronormativity and predominantly white casts in these genres, there are times when I simply can’t resist a rotation of my high school favorites like 10 Things I Hate About You, Before Sunrise, Notting Hill, and, yes, The Princess Diaries. Because beyond their limited scope in representation is another common thread, the one scene that always brings me back to even the most mediocre movies: the meet–cute.

I live for those totally unrealistic spontaneous moments that are almost laughable in their contrived nature, and I’m not ashamed to say I still spend way too much time daydreaming about my own versions of them. Embarrassing as it is, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve dropped my pen in class near a hot guy. Strangely enough, they never ask me out, let alone pick it up. 

I’m not afraid of talking to strangers or asking people out, but somehow my own efforts to forge connections at concerts or coffee shops or parties never go as smoothly as they do in the movies. Usually, I meet someone, have a slight interest, go on a couple dates with them, and realize it’s a dud. 

As of late however, these attempts at a meet–cute feel even more few and far between than they did before. Call it my washed–up senioritis or a refusal to spend my nights sifting through Tinder, but the opportunity for these meet–cutes seems to have evaporated from my life. Am I becoming too lazy? Too picky? Or has the modern meet–cute simply changed?

It’s a question I’m afraid to answer. In a world that’s shifting more towards digital communication, is face–to–face romance dead? I hope not. I’ve had a few success stories with online dating apps, but frankly, it makes me more tired than meeting someone organically. When I meet someone in person, I feel more committed to keep a date or to follow up with them, probably because these real–life interactions make me less suspicious that they’re editing their personalities to get laid. 

I often wonder if I’m the only one suffering from a boring senior year sex life, and whether everyone else simply knows how to use Tinder better than me. Maybe my version of a good meet–cute is with someone who already graduated college. Maybe I still need to remedy my affinity for “alt” guys. 

I downloaded Hinge a few weeks ago, and asked three people out within a day before promptly deleting the app. This can’t be the new meet–cute. I won’t let it be. Penn is a place that time and time again has crushed my belief in love, but I refuse to let it win. From this article on, I vow to be more proactive in initiating the meet–cutes I deserve. 

Yes, the meet–cutes of movies will never perfectly translate to reality, but that’s sort of the fun in reenacting them. I know they will be messy and corny and cringey and probably a complete embarrassment, but I also think they help keep the possibility of true love alive, whether these random connections ever evolve into it or not. 

While an Instagram DM can apparently lead to marriage for some people, let’s not allow the modern meet–cute to fully push out the old. One of these days, I’m sure I’ll hop back on a dating app or two. But for now, as I begin to feel the first symptoms of cuffing season, I’ll continue to strive for the unachievable rendezvous of Hollywood romance. So if you ever witness me attempting my own semblance of a meet–cute in public, please, for the sake of my fragile ego, humor me.


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