Remember when you found out that Santa wasn't real?

Whether it was the kid on the playground that blew it for you, older siblings, or in my case, when you hit age 11 and your parents had to sit you down and tell you it was time to grow up. Perhaps your parents told you not to spoil Santa for the other kids, which made you feel mature for knowing something only adults knew, so you chose to play along.

This is actually a traumatic experience for a lot of kids because you feel betrayed and lied to. Looking back, it was something you enjoyed but probably would not want to go through more than once. Unfortunately in the girl world, this realization happens twice.

At the same time us girls' heads are being filled with the idea of Santa, we are also being filled with unrealistic ideas of romance. The only difference is no one steps in to burst that bubble. No one really sits you down and says that the knight in shining armor is fictional, Prince Charming is not going to rescue you from the tower and there is no such thing as happily ever after.

Instead, we are told there shouldn't be flaws in our relationships and that guys are meant to be perfect. We imagine all the romantic things they should be doing and expect so much that when we finally realize it doesn't exist, our worlds are shattered.

The dream begins to unravel about the time we hit the first relationship and realize the prince is not taking you to a ball; he is taking you to a casual dinner at Chili's. It's not the extravagant date we were told to expect, but Disney never mentions that Prince Charming has loans to pay off, car payments and on top that, a part-time job.

Girls often must choose between two extreme responses when the romance bubble pops: either hold out for Noah from "The Notebook" or settle for whatever comes their way.

Holding out is a good option because having standards should be a priority, but if you are waiting for Ryan Gosling to stand outside your door in the rain with his photo-shopped, wash-board abs peering through his shirt, then please grab a needle and pop that bubble. Having standards is important, but sometimes we set the bar unrealistically too high for reality. I would bet that no guy will ever write a letter to you every day for a year.

Then there are the girls who set the bar too low. They lose hope on romance and settle on the first guy that says, "You're hot." Guys may not fit your idea of Mr. Right, but that doesn't mean it's okay to settle in with Mr. Wrong.

There should be a median between holding out for the dream man and settling for the first guy we meet. Maybe we should set down the dream entirely, going out on that date with only our standards and an openness to meeting someone new. In the same way, guys should stop comparing every college girl to Katherine Webb, and we also shouldn't be constantly expecting Ryan Gosling to emerge from the body of a 19-year-old college kid.

So it's time for that sit-down if you haven't already had it yet. Just as Santa is not coming down your chimney with free presents made by elves, Noah from "The Notebook" is not waiting for you. You are going to have to put some effort into it, it's never going to be easy, there will be disagreements and it will never be 100 percent perfect.

You may have to kiss many toads to find your prince, and he may not be charming or packing Gosling's abs. But the guy that fits you does exist.

He's real, and that's something Noah from "The Notebook" will never be.

Kaila Curry is a freshman in English. She can be reached at kcurry6@utk.edu.