Dating These Days

“Busy” is another word for “asshole.” “Asshole” is another word for the guy you’re dating. You deserve a fucking phone call.” ― Greg Behrendt

Dating these days sucks harder than if a car wash vacuum and a suckerfish combined their powers and multiplied them by at least a million.

Dating these days is enough to make even the most confident human curl into the fetal position in an empty bathtub and cry until tears are mistaken for drawn water.

Dating these days is enough to drive a person mad because dating these days can hardly be called dating at all.

After a four month hiatus from the sordid and infuriating world of modern courtship, I went on three dates in one week. I went out with a 28 year old commercial real estate broker, a 34 year old corporate accountant, and a 42 year old voiceover actor who I later found out to be 47.

Three dates and ten drinks later, I remain single with no second dates in sight.

When I sat down to write this my working title was “Dudes These Days.” Then I thought of my single male friend R.K., a handsome, kind, loyal, communicative and funny lawyer who owns two properties and runs ultra-marathons. R.K. often sends me updates about the bizarre, inane and baffling things that his female dates do and say.

Dating these days is awful for everyone. It is so terrible that I cannot help but wonder what about me is so appalling. But the horror of dating these days has nothing to do with me and everything to do with our society’s inability to support meaningful human connection.

Call it technology, call it social media, call it a millennial thing. Call it what we may, it is responsible for the demise of dating. The behaviors involved in dating these days are horrendous, inexcusable, and so common that millennials have created a vocabulary to validate their existence.

The commercial real estate broker ‘breadcrumbed’ me, the cruel act of keeping someone on the hook while waiting for someone better to come along. The corporate accountant ‘ghosted’ me with a silent disappearing trick that bested Houdini himself. The 47 year old lied about his age and exhibited all the hallmarks of a person with narcissistic traits, so let’s call him an outlier.

Tactics like breadcrumbing and ghosting are the psychological mind fucks to end all psychological mind fucks. They happen when people are emotionally inept and afraid to be vulnerable. They happen when people would rather avoid discomfort than express themselves or resolve conflict.

They happen in most interactions of dating these days.

Such behaviors reflect our society’s view that both unique individuals and intimate relationships are disposable. These attitudes of indifference eliminate social cues that are inherent in human connection, leaving the casualty dysregulated, uncertain and awash in distressing ambiguity.

Dating these days is passive-aggressive, emotionally damaging and downright fucking mean.

For those of us dating these days, it’s time to get our shit together. It’s time for us to make and keep actual dates. It’s time for us to let go of dismissive expressions like “we’re talking” and “hanging out.”

It’s time for us to communicate and not just over text. It’s time to be vulnerable. It’s time to be honest. It’s time to say, with kindness, grace and immediacy, when we are not interested. It is time to express, with vulnerability, sincerity and hope, when we are interested.

It is time to acknowledge that the process of finding love is painful, that we will hurt and be hurt along the way. It is time to embrace this process. It is time to stop running, to stop hiding, to stop avoiding, to stop ghosting.

It’s time to value a good thing when we find it. It’s time to put effort into a good thing to make it better. It’s time to stop thinking that a better thing is already out there, and that we will find it if only we keep looking. It is time to commit to ourselves, to each other, and to the ebbs and flows of genuine connection.

It is time to unfuck dating these days.

3 thoughts on “Dating These Days

  1. Down here in the Bible belt, all my single sisters and I are shouting a resounding “Amen!” to this brilliant post. “Downright f-ing mean” is a very accurate description of what I’ve been getting since deciding to get more serious about meeting someone in 2017. I recently connected with a seemingly compatible suitor on line, met him briefly in person on Tuesday to determine mutual interest, and was scheduled to meet him for a “real” date that Friday evening. Wednesday night he sent me this long flowery email that included his desire to lie on a blanket with me under “a canopy of fireflies” and listen to love songs. On Thursday morning, a mere 12 hours later, I get an email saying that while we have so much in common, we also have some “disturbing differences” and that he thinks trying to keep up with me would be like “trying to drink from a firehose.” Ummm, WTF??? Seriously??? All I can come up with is that when he casually mentioned that climate change was a liberal media conspiracy, I offered to introduce him to some of the scientists I work with at a major university who could probably explain it in layman’s terms so that it made more sense. I’m sure I dodged a bullet, but this entire week long interaction left me doubting myself, feeling like a fat whale (I’m a post-menopausal size 8/10) and convinced that no one in their right mind would ever want to date me. Thanks so much for this post, which reminds me of the truth: It’s not us, it’s them. Here’s to hope, and to love’s eventual triumph over loneliness!

  2. PS – Another “doozie,” as my MawMaw would say: The guy I had been dating pretty hot and heavy for three weeks who had initially agreed with me that we would make no plans for Valentine’s Day, as the relationship was too new, it was too much pressure, etc. On Feb. 12th he insisted we make plans, so we agreed he would bring dinner to my house and we would eat in front of my fireplace. On the 13th he completely disappeared with only a text that he needed at least a week to rethink our relationship. I was devastated, but by the end of that week I realized that he was probably a real weirdo with a possible porn addiction. Two months later he randomly mails me a pair of sheer-to-the-waist pantyhose and a note asking to see me in them. Another WTF moment, for sure. When I took the high road and didn’t dignify his request with a response he texted me to be sure I received the package and to reiterate his request, to which I replied with an emphatic “Oh HELL no!” Or how about the guy I went out with several times who talked me into having sex when I was a little drunk and a lot bored. When I agreed, he promptly flipped me over face down “so he didn’t have to look at my ugly face.the whole time.” Thankfully I managed to gather my clothes and get out before he hurt me. I am currently seeing a guy who seems thoughtful, considerate, kind, and intelligent, and has great taste in music, but it feels like I’m just waiting for him to show his true colors. How do we even recognize someone “real” after all the assholes???

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