In the age of online dating, sliding into DMs, and social distancing, romantic pursuit is looking more like a casual ‘wyd’ text and less like the elaborate, tenacious courtships we grew up marveling at in Hollywood movies. Not that there’s anything wrong with a more straightforward, no-bullshit approach to flirting—the concept of dating lots of different people throughout one’s adulthood is much more socially accepted now than it used to be. And as the social conditions change over time, it’s only natural that our behavior should change accordingly. The problem is, we’re complicated, overthinking humans. We still have to reconcile the realities of modern dating with desire, fantasy, and unrealistic expectations. In 1960, French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan said of love and desire, ‘imagine you see in front of you a beautiful flower, or a ripe fruit. You reach out your hand to grab it. But at the moment you do, the flower, or the fruit, bursts into flames. In its place you see another hand appear, reaching back towards your own.’ Lacan believed that desire is produced in the margin between one’s appetite for satisfaction and the demand for love. He theorized that desire isn’t exactly innate—desire is actually mediated by the desire of the ‘Other.’ And what does this big Other desire? Well if we knew that, then our desire burst into flame like Lacan’s beautiful flower. Because it’s the very recognition of the object of desire that we lack and therefore seek. Our desire is like an empty vessel that constantly gets filled with the desire of the Other, always changing as the socio-cultural context changes. And so it makes sense then that millennials are unsatisfied with certain normalized social behaviors that have been shaped by new social conditions. Reality is at odds with what we are made to desire—an idealized version of reality that fiction routinely implants into us.
We’re featuring a viral Twitter meme that very succinctly illustrates this age-old problem of expectation vs. reality. The meme cleverly takes that familiar ‘wyd’ text (which is comically concise and yet loaded with implications) and juxtaposes it with absurdly theatrical shows of concern from well-known romcom scenes, television dialogue, and corny song lyrics. It’s always ‘wyd’ and never ‘but, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?’ It’s always ‘wyd’ and never ‘you had me at hello.’ It’s always ‘wyd’ and never ‘you’re like my own personal brand of heroin.’ Get it?
Perhaps the best thing about this meme is the level of self-awareness it reveals about the poster. Those tweeting the meme are simultaneously admitting their desire for a vague, idealized version of romance and making fun of themselves for it, which becomes evident in the more absurd tweets. One of the funniest examples of this meme is perhaps the one that uses Anakin Skywalker’s infamous line in Star Wars: Episode II—”It’s always ‘wyd’ and never ‘I don’t like sand. It’s coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere. Not like here. Here everything is soft and smooth.'” The notoriously cringey scene was supposed to represent a romantic, intimate turning point in the characters’ relationship. Instead it feels more like a terribly awkward Tinder date that would have had a real-life Padme running in the other direction. The decision to insert this line into the meme turns it into a hilarious mockery of its original sentiment. We’ve collected some of the funniest examples of the trending Twitter meme for your amusement.