There is no arguing that social media has affected romance. Technological advancements have been getting in the way of chivalry, imagination, fate, and old fashioned ways of courting for a decade now. Social media has taken away the art of mystery and replaced it with instant gratification, simplicity, and mindless freedom. It has allowed our love conquests to be much easier to attain, without the romance. Take some of the great love stories from classically romantic movies, which were written before social media existed! There was no Facebook Friend Request necessary. Many of these movie romances we hold near and dear would be forever changed if written in this day and age, or simply not exist…
Stats: Filmed in 2001, just before social media became popular. This famous love story was written 3 years before the launch of Facebook, and 2 years before Myspace and Linkedin were founded.
How the story unfolds: Jonathan and Sara feel instant chemistry when they first meet by reaching for the same pair of gloves at Bloomingdale’s, and proceed to run into each other again later. They go ice skating together, though neither of them is single. To test fate, Sara writes her full name and phone number inside a book, and tells Jonathan she will give the book to one of the countless used book stores in New York. If they are meant to be together, he will find it. After several years of searching, Jonathan finally gets his hands on it, but it is Sara’s old number written inside. He frantically calls 411 to get Sara’s address, and hops on an airplane to see her. He sees Sara’s friend being intimate with a man through the window, assumes it is Sara, and leaves. Feeling defeated, Jonathan flies home, and goes back to the ice rink he and Sara went to the day they met. Meanwhile, Sara is longing for Jonathan and is on her way to that same ice rink. Fate has finally brought them together again, and they live happily ever after.
How this story would unfold now: Granted, the first part of the movie would remain the same. A mutual attraction after reaching for the same pair of gloves. However, the great lengths Jonathan went to in order to find Sara are completely unnecessary now that social media exists. Once Jonathan had Sara’s full name and city of residence, a quick Facebook search would ensue– is she married? Don’t get on the airplane. If Sara was thrilled to hear from him, they would probably start chatting via social media and arrange a meeting, rather than the romantic ‘chance’ encounter that occurred when both Jonathan and Sara went back to the same ice rink where they skated together years before. Still give off soulmate/fate/destiny vibes? Maybe less so.
Stats: Filmed in 2004, but set in the 1940’s, well before Social Media’s time. The story of The Notebook was written by Nicholas Sparks in 1996 with no influence available from Social Media to change the story, which is one of the reasons the story remains romantic.
How the story unfolds: In the early 1940’s, Noah and Allie meet at a carnival and the two fall madly in love and share a romantic summer. Noah takes Allie to an abandoned house and tells her his plans to buy it and fix it up for them to live in. Allie is from a wealthy upper-class family who calls Noah ‘trash’ as he is poor and working-class. Allie’s mother forbids her from seeing Noah, adamant that he is no good. Allie’s family moves away, and her mother hides all of the love letters Noah sends. Years later, Allie, still in love with Noah but never hearing from him or seeing his letters, becomes engaged. Noah buys the old house, and fixes it up in hopes of getting Allie back. She sees a photo in the paper of Noah and the house, goes to him, and breaks up with her fiance to be with him. As an older couple, the two are still together, but elderly Allie suffers from dementia. He reads Allie the story of how they met and fell in love, and Allie finally remembers that Noah is her husband. She wonders if their love could take them away together, before she forgets who Noah is again. They die in each other’s arms.
How this story would unfold now: Add social media to the mix and this story gets warped. Noah wouldn’t be writing love letters to Allie via snail mail, letters that Allie’s mother could easily hide. Noah and Allie would be freely chatting the whole time via social media. Allie, happily staying in contact with Noah, would not have moved on and become engaged, right? It may seem that social media would have helped Noah and Allie’s love story, and removed the obstacles. Those obstacles though, are what makes their story so romantic. Additionally, social media could have caused problems, when all of Allie’s upper-class friends saw photos being tagged on Facebook of her and a working-class boy, resulting in more judgment and more persuasion not to be with Noah. In their later years, Noah wouldn’t have to read Allie the story of how they met and fell in love to jog her memory – he could just show her their Facebook timeline which would prove their love existed!
An Affair to Remember
Stats: Filmed in 1957, before there was even a whisper of social media, this film is considered to be one of the most romantic movies of all time. So much so, that other romantic movies and TV shows such as Sleepless in Seattle, How I Met your Mother and Gossip Girl have even used adaptations of it in their scripts.
How the story unfolds: Nickie meets Terry aboard a ship en route to New York. Neither Nickie nor Terry is single, but they establish a friendship and eventually fall in love. As the ship is nearing its destination of New York, the two agree to reunite at the top of the Empire State Building in 6 months if they have ended their current relationships. Unfortunately, due to an accident, Terry does not make it and Nickie believes he has been stood up. After the accident, Terry is now in a wheelchair and refuses to contact Nickie. When Nickie learns Terry’s address, he surprises her on Christmas Eve and realizes why she never contacted him when he sees her wheelchair. When the two realize that they still love each other, the film ends in a happily ever after.
How this story would unfold now: In this day and age, romantic agreements of a time and place to meet are much less common then a simple Facebook message sent when one person would like to see the other and a meeting being arranged spontaneously. These days, there is also a lot less mystery, as social media provides instant and abundant information. Social media would provide Nickie and Terry with the information that they are both single now, and Terry would not be able to conceal her disability as easily with social media’s presence around. Rather than hoping the other is single, or hoping the other still loves them, it would be known. Social media also results in less surprise romantic visits and being more in-the-know.
Now you have the inspiration to go out into the world and make a grand romantic gesture – without using the help of social media!