One of the major criticisms I have received for my book The Before Now and After Then is the fact that the characters fall in love very quickly, or in other terms, Instalove. Before defending or explaining my stance on Instalove, I thought it would be interesting to find out what the internet, which is of course the expert source for all things relevant, had to say about Instalove.
The Urban Dictionary defines Instalove as: “When someone who just meets you thinks that you are their soul mate and they want to spend the rest of their lives with you and have kids with you. usually you dont feel that same about them. After your first date with someone they are already talking about marriage. thats how you know they instalove you.” Of course, The Urban Dictionary‘s top searches today are Alex from Target, Movember and PPD(Post Party Depression).
The next thing I found were thousands upon thousands of hashtagged pictures on Instagram for #Instalove. Most of them were duck-faced selfies and pictures of men curling biceps. Although I expected to find this connection, Instagram and Instalove, I didn’t by any means believe that Instalove was a direct derivative of Instagram so I kept on searching.
I found a blogger who’s definition of Instalove I found to be quite accurate:
Instalove is when two characters fall in love immediately, often without knowing each other beyond physical appearances or a single conversation. An important feature of instalove is that this moment seals the deal for long-term (often forever) love between the two characters. Sometimes the bond is created by a supernatural element (eg, fate or destiny), but that is not always the case.
It is not a requirement that instalove be first love, but that is often the case. The characters may have had serious or non-serious relationships in the past. For the purposes of this debate, I am limiting my definition to instalove as it appears in young adult novels. I read far more YA novels than adult novels, so I’m going to work with what I know (though please feel free to discuss instalove in adult novels in the comments!).
So there you have it. Does it appear in my book? Absolutely, but apparently I’m in good company since Goodreads lists over 4000 other “popular” Instalove titles including Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey! Not exactly the most realistic of books, huh?
And maybe that’s the point. Most people, especially teenagers, either like reading something completely fantastical or they want their books very real. Most of the readers who have criticized my book for having Instalove have stated that Instalove doesn’t exist and that it’s not real and that no two people fall in love that fast.
This is the point in my post today where I change my tune and become quite indignant. The number one question I get from friends and family is how much of the book is really based on my true feelings and stories from my life. Well, not a lot actually, but the part about Instalove is all me. I have always fallen in love very quickly. In fact anyone who I’ve dated can tell you that within a week I was saying I love you. All three of those relationships lasted for quite some time. On my first date with my husband I knew that I would fall in love with him and that I wanted to be with him for the rest of my life, if possible. I used to tell friends that it was pointless for me to date because I could tell within the first five minutes if it was true love or a waste of my time.
I’ve never understood people who’ve said “I always wait a year before saying I love you” or “I don’t take those words lightly so I just don’t say them to anyone”. We live in a society where people will bash each other on Facebook and cuss each other out on the road, but we’re so afraid to say I Love You to someone because it has to have some deep, underlying meaning. Why? Why can’t we just go with our guts and tell someone we love them. I do it all of the time. Not only do I fall in love with people romantically, in this current case my husband, but I also fall in love with people’s spirits, souls and personalities and want them in my life as friends. That could be considered Instalove too but we’re not afraid of that, are we?
One reviewer stated that they loved my book but they couldn’t get into the concept of Instalove because it wasn’t real. I’m sorry, but didn’t Augustus and Hazel Grace fall madly in love with each other The Fault in Our Stars and nobody had a problem with that?
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’ve spent 42 years going about this the wrong way. Maybe I should wait years before saying I love you to someone and maybe I shouldn’t really show my feelings and emotions to someone. Maybe I shouldn’t get excited to get a text from my husband, just like it was the first time, or get excited to see a new friend. Maybe I should just do away with all of it and be completely dismal and depressed. Fuck Instalove! Everyone should fall in love very methodically, protecting their emotions and making sure that they’re only saying what they really mean. Be careful. Be very, very careful.
Fuck that! Life is too short and we’re on borrowed time as it is. I want to live like a bohemian and fall in love and listen to great music and dance in the rain and do all sorts of things that lovers do.
So as I you see, I won’t be defending my stance on Instalove. Instead I’m shaming those who don’t practice it! Be a realistic if you want. As for me; I’m a lover…