What constitutes true happiness? Will wealth, a lover, pursuit of my dreams settle this longing in my heart? These are the questions that Mia and Sebastian ask themselves as their stories progress through the new cinema spectacular La La Land.

As the curtain opens and we get our first glance into their lives, we see two strikingly similar personalities. Both are highly spirited characters who have sacrificed everything to pursue their own dreams but are struggling to make ends meet. As the events unfold, they fall in love despite themselves, grow interdependent, and cohabitate. However, they founded their love off a desire to be loved, rather than to love.

Both characters view the relationship as a tool they can manipulate for their benefit. They enjoy the romantic flare of having a lover, long for the companionship, and yearn for the support. Yet, they are unwilling to make sacrifices and place the other’s needs before their own. Mia rejects Sebastian’s offer to accompany him on his musical tour, while Sebastian neglects to attend her one-time, one-woman performance. In both instances, each puts his own wishes and convenience over the desires and needs of the other. Because of this mentality, the couple ends up splitting ways, retaining nothing but the feelings of being used, emptied, and forgotten, accompanied by mere memories of a few fleeting pleasures.

How often today is this same situation repeated, where people view relationships as temporary flings instead of long-term commitments? One study showed that 50 percent of the college senior women said that they had only been on 5 or less dates since their arrival on campus (just over one date per year). On these same campuses, however, the hookup culture is flourishing, leaving only 25 percent of students, approximately, as virgins by their graduation. Each of us has a choice to make. Will we choose to succumb to the pressures of society and suffer the same fate as Mia and Sebastian, or will we honor our bodies, and those around us, saving the gift of our sexuality for the one who will wear our ring one day?

Bonita Murphy is a freshman at St. Mary’s College studying English. She has danced ballet her whole life. Contact Bonita at bmurphy01@saintmarys.edu.