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This modern love: Finding romance in the golden film age of hook-up culture

In That Awkward Moment, hook-up culture eventually backfires on Jason (Efron), but don't worry, it all works out for him in the end.
In That Awkward Moment, hook-up culture eventually backfires on Jason (Efron), but don't worry, it all works out for him in the end.
From Focus Feature's That Awkward Moment, accessed at

We grow our dreams from the fodder we’re fed. Be it family, friends, media, or society, what we want and expect starts with what we know. Notions of classic romance and the normal development of relationships have inevitably changed with time. But what have we lost in the name of modernity?

Audiences swooned at John Cusack holding a stereo over his head in the 1980s, and in the 90s at Heath Ledger taming the shrew of his high school in 10 Things I Hate About You. However, we’ve heard that boy meets girl story before, and it just doesn’t speak to real-life the way it once did. Today popular romantic comedies display hook-up culture and being afraid of commitment as the norm. The new wave of hook-up culture films, such as Friends with Benefits and No Strings Attached, or the recently released That Awkward Moment, have created a new normal in dating.

The problem with these films, which do realistically reflect the twentysomething dating experience in the US to a large degree, is that people now think this is how relationships should and must develop. In these story-lines, we see the man eventually fall in love with his hook-up buddy, or vice versa, and through some eventual drama, they end up being in a committed relationship. While this may work from time to time, it often leads to more collateral damage than happy endings.

The new and improved formula for building finding and ensnaring your mate is as follows: find a someone you want to be with who is willing to casually sleep with you, pretend not to want a relationship, and wait for them to fall in love with you. Fool proof, right? Sadly, this is what we're being told is normal. This is how we find someone who will love us; we have to trick them into being with us. We learn from popular culture what to expect in the world around us, whether we realize it or not, we’re all affected by how relationships are depicted on the screen.

How do you then find romance, love, commitment as a twentysomething today? It's disgustingly simple. Ask for what you want and don’t be afraid, or ashamed of it. Because pleasing someone else is never as important as how you feel. And maybe throw in some non-fiction from time to time.