There used to be a very linear style of dating, that was more acceptable than the non-conventional dating methods we see today. Meet in public, shoot your shot, and see what happens. But, in the past year we’ve seen an influx in the media of online dating, and a broader acceptance of what it means to essentially have feelings for a stranger that you haven’t even met yet. The dating shows that used to follow a strict format in line with what society accepts, have now branched out and moved toward new, innovative ways to spark romance between two unlikely people. Now, this is not always the intention, but when it happens, they ride the popularity until the very end because romance sellse, and we love buying it.
It’s become so ‘normal’ now, that even where romance is not expected to happen, it somehow makes its way through and surprises everyone. The Circle is a Netflix social-media stimulation show, where contestants compete for $100,000 by staying relevant, and never ranking in the bottom. The season finale crowned Trevor, catfish version of Deleesa, as the winner, but, the real finale seemed to already happen when social media went up in arms over the suspected budding romance between Mitchell Eason and Chloe Veitch.
We’ve met Chloe before, when she was on the hit-show Too Hot To Handle from Netflix, which took the world by storm with its ‘hookups only’ cast. She’s an Essex-born, social media influencer. In quarantine times, the close proximity and forced ‘only-one-bed’ situations were quite entertaining and provided lots of discourse–but in a show that is not geared toward dating, it’s even more of a fan-favorite when two unlikely people get a good ‘banter’ on. We see this all the time in the romance tropes we heartily consume; best friends to lovers, enemies to lovers, and meet-cutes are amongst the most popular tropes selling on Amazon right now.
After the quickly-rising hearthrob Mitchell Eason took to Instagram and announced his Youtube channel, he slid in a comment about meeting Chloe in person soon. Many were pleased to hear this, because of course it’s so much fun to follow the romance of 2 people, whether real or not, but their quick connection says a lot about online dating, the validity of liking someone through a screen, and questions how we imagine relationships to start.
We won’t get ahead of ourselves with Mitchell and Chloe, but we can say that their openness to unconventional methods of meeting new people is affecting societies around the world through social media. We see this a lot in the romance novels that group together with a certain category or trope, yet each bring their own originality through the characters. Chloe, for example, was on a dating show strictly designed for dating and getting past the ‘hook-up,’ yet on The Circle, she represented the misunderstood young woman, who wanted to be seen beyond the physicality and past actions. Second chance romance, anyone? Mitchell was in line with that same sort of thinking–he’s conventionally hot, okay, sexy as hell, but the first thing he said was that he’s more than meets the eye, and wanted to show his inner-personality before his looks spoke for him. Talk about a book-boyfriend to the max!
So, what does all this talk about The Circle’s Chloe and Mitchell have to say about social media and dating? The Circle is built off the possibility of forming connections through a screen, while staying true to yourself, and that message has been heard loud and clear by fans across the globe through Mitchell and Chloe’s banter and quick connection outside of the show.
Romance novels have been pushing the boundaries of how people form connections for years already. There are hundreds of different meet-cutes across the dozens of romance sub-genres. Forced-proximity and the ‘only-one’bed’ trope definitely push some boundaries, but readers eat up the Helen Hoang and Rosie Danan’s The Roommate style of tastefully testing the limits people set for themselves, and watching what kind of magic can happen afterward.
Somehow, The Circle managed to draw Mitchell and Chloe together from across the globe, and create a melting pop of different people, personalities, and feelings. The future of romance is rooted in innovation, and the devout romance authors we love are quick to not only follow, but set the trends.
Hopefully, we can start to see more of these unlikely romantic sparks in unsuspected places, because when there’s turmoil and unfortunate events plaguing the timeline every other day, romance always seems to lighten it up with its hope and longevity. As far as Chloe and Mitchell goes, they serve as an example, and we’ll just have to wait and see if they’re the goal.
Image Credit: ok.co.uk