More likely than not, many of us have heard the phrase “meet cute” being thrown around. What does this mean? The idea of the meet cute is pretty self-explanatory. It’s essentially a movie trope where two love interests meet each other in a way that is cute, the type of story that you would be proud to share at your wedding. Whether it be accidentally spilling a drink on your future lover at a coffee shop or meeting at a wedding, the meet cute can often give us high expectations of how we might meet our own significant others as well as how relationships are supposed to form after meeting.
However, meeting somebody in a memorable way and seemingly turning the interaction into romance instantly is not always feasible, especially at Tulane. The reality is, especially moving past the coronavirus pandemic, many students met their significant others from dating apps such as Tinder or Bumble. This is especially true at times when students were not able to socialize outside of their social “pods.” Meeting significant others, and even friends at parties, the Boot, classes, etc. was not really the norm of the time, as these in-person opportunities were limited.
Dating apps are still popular among students today. Although using dating apps is less stigmatized than before, couples will often have a hard time explaining how they met to family, peers, and friends. Parents especially will question why their kids felt the need to use dating apps, and usually preach the idea that meeting people through dating apps is dangerous. Meeting in person is seen as “more romantic” or even more “natural,” since in-person connections are the most ideal way to get to know somebody and know if you have a connection. Sometimes, it is hard to find a connection online right away with somebody who is possibly a stranger. But the reality is that there are opportunities to connect and vibe, no matter how couples meet.
There are many expectations that couples are expected to abide by, and they are often hetereonormaitve (automatically assuming the relationship is hetereosexual) as well as outdated. These expectations can come from our parents, family, peers, older acquaintances, etc. who tell us not to engage in sex after a first date, or else we’ll be seen as easy. They can also come from the films we watch, where a couple meets in a romantic and beautiful way. Some of these expectations can include: men should be the ones to pay on the first date, first dates should be nicer as you are meant to impress your love interest, first kiss usually happens after a date and is a sparks-flying type of moment, dates are the only way you should get to know your partner at the beginning, etc. The meet-cute to first date to falling in love over time structure is not always reality. Some couples, especially in college, may first start as casual hookups, which can lead to talking, and then they eventually go on a date. Couples that start from a casual hookup are often just as happy as couples who fit into the “meet cute” linear structure. But why are relationships that do not follow this so frowned upon?
The answer is that the disapproval of relationships outside of the structure can be traced back to societal norms, heteronormativity, and old-fashioned views of relationships through media, movies, and social circles. As college students, we have lived through unique times and circumstances, as well as fought for social change. Of course, the way we meet people is very different from the ways of our older family members, friends, etc. Dating apps are now more normalized and user-friendly than before, thus an increase in couples who meet through these platforms. Although many of us have fantasized about meeting the loves of our lives in a beautiful, almost poetic way, many of us with significant others have met them in uninteresting ways, such as a class, dating apps, at a party, etc. We should recognize that our circumstances have drastically changed, and that your relationship isn’t “un-romantic” just because it does not compare to those in the movies.
Cover Photo: Isabelle Goldfarb
Taylor Spill is a staff writer for the Crescent Magazine, specifically focusing on 'Sex and the Crescent City' and College Life. She is majoring in Communications with minors in Sociology and Film Studies. Other than writing, she loves to work out, explore New Orleans with friends, and working with kids throughout the community.