It’s been forever since I’ve been on a date. In fact, I can barely remember the last time I went on a date. And I’m not talking about a formal date, a dinner date, or a blind date, either (God knows I’ve had enough of those to last me a lifetime). I’m talking about a date – a real date – one accompanied by bells and whistles and being picked up at 7 P.M., wearing my cutest dress and getting those butterflies in my stomach because I have no idea what the evening has in store for me, but it just might have the potential to be great. You know, that kind of a date. Or maybe you don’t know, because here’s what – people don’t date anymore.
And here’s why:
1. Chivalry is Dead…
That’s what they tell us, right? It’s what they’ve been saying for years now. In fact, they’ve probably been saying it since women got the vote. It’s unacceptable, though, and in a wonderful and recent wave of nostalgia, men have been stepping up to the plate, opening doors, looking a little more dapper. We could chalk it all up to Mad Men, but I think the rise of the post-modern gentleman has a little less to do with TV, and a little more to do with the fact that guys miss it. If he wants to be your big strong man, then by all means, ladies, let him. Something to keep in mind, however, is that we have a long ways to go in terms of reviving those old school ways – and I’m not just talking about the boys here. Both sexes play a part.
2. …and Social Media killed it
Why put in the time, or the work, when we all have convenient little apps on our phone that do it for us? It’s no secret Tinder and Grinder and the numerous other programs we can download in an instant have helped more than they’ve hurt, but they have hurt. After all, what’s human about surveying mere pixels, taking a thumb to a screen and swiping YES or NO before even hearing what somebody else has to say for themselves? It is painless, sure, and easier than approaching somebody face to face, but life isn’t supposed to be painless, or void of rejection. The struggle and the process build character, and these are the things that eventually lead you to the person you know you’re meant to be with. The one you’ve been wading through all the others for. The one you’ve been waiting for.
3. We hide behind our screens.
Ever been out with friends and looked around the club, or the bar, or the dinner table, only to find each and every one of them corresponding with somebody who’s NOT with you? Somebody who’s not there at all? Repeat after me: MY PHONE IS NOT MY FRIEND. This is why nobody approaches another human being at a bar anymore, or at a coffee shop, or on the subway, or in a café. Those Meet-Cutes? The ones in the movies? They used to happen all the time. Back then, nobody had a screen to hide behind. It was a move-it-or-lose-it situation. If you saw a cute girl studying in a coffee shop or walking past you down the street, if you really thought she was a babe, and if you lived before the Digital Age, you’d have to get over yourself and say hello. Tell her she looks pretty. Ask her out. Take her out. Today, we dismiss those cues, ignore those opportunities, let them pass us by, because at the end of the day, if we’re really that interested, we could always just stalk them on Facebook. That’s where it all went wrong.
4. Etiquette has gone out the window.
Pursuers: take notes. If you finally get the object of your affection to agree to go out with you, if you’ve actually mustered up the courage to ask them on a real date, and if they’ve finally said YES, then by all means, take charge and plan it all out. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked out, only for my pursuer to follow their proposal with, “So what do you wanna do?” A first date is a chance for you to impress me, and not the other way around, especially if you were the one doing the asking. Think of it as an audition – the few hours I take out of my own busy life to spend with you should be a window into how great that busy life of mine could be with you in it. This is key, and so often forgotten.
5. Read the room.
When you pick her up (and do try to pick her up), don’t just honk your horn outside her place like a taxicab, or like those loser boyfriends in the movies. Lean on your car like James Dean and wait for her to come out. If she’s a slow walker, for God’s sakes walk beside her. If he looks nervous, put him at ease. If she can’t walk in those high heels, give her your arm or your hand (NEVER make fun of the shoes). If he’s a sweetheart who’s trying to make you laugh, then laugh. If he’s the kind who’s full of himself, tease him and give him a hard time. Make the most out of every moment, because let’s face it – in this day and age, who knows when another date – a real date – will come your way again.
I grew up without any religious affiliation in a very religious town and now attend a southern college that also has a large religious presence. Many of my best friends are extremely religious and while I love them, I wish that they would consider the five following points.
- Lack of religious affiliation does not mean lack of morality. I was talking to my very religious friend recently about different places we would like to live. When I suggested France, she cringed and said that she could never live there because, as a country, France seemed to be very “immoral,” which I had never heard said before. When I asked where she heard that, she said, “Oh I don’t know, I have just heard that they have the highest percentage of non-religious people in all of Europe.” Ouch. The two are not one in the same.
- Do not come to me with your crisis of faith. I have no idea how to comfort you. I understand that college presents a lot of temptation in ways that lead many people to feel spiritually challenged and nervous about how faithful they are being to their religion. It doesn’t matter how drunk you are, it’s still annoying for someone that knows and cares very little about religion to be around a friend panicking about how guilty she or he feels because God is watching. I just don’t even know where to start when it comes to comforting you.
- People are fine with not being religious, and it is pretty frustrating when people feel bad for you, or act as though you are missing out on the meaning of life as a result of not being religious. For many people, religion is something that rarely even crosses their minds, and their fulfillment can be found in many different areas of life.
- Try to act less bewildered by non-religious people. Another story: I was stargazing this past summer with a different very religious friend of mine when she said, “It’s looking at things like these gorgeous stars that make me amazed by the fact you don’t believe in God.” Holy freaking awkward silence. I promise I am just as bewildered by some of your beliefs as you are by my lack thereof, I just don’t mention it.
- Your religion is interesting to me, and many spiritual texts contain awesome stories that are amusing and teach values that are undeniably great guides to live by. When I ask about a certain tradition or custom, my friends often say something along the lines of “Oh it’s a religious thing.” Great, yeah, I got that, but I genuinely am interested in the stories and reasoning behind these actions, and being written off is annoying and exclusive. I respect your beliefs and won’t find what you say silly.
1. You have an epiphany about the importance of multivitamins, and if your friends aren’t already taking one, you list for them the endless benefits.
2. You break down and finally look up what a mortgage is on Wikipedia.
3. Energy drinks make you cringe. People actually put that into their bodies?
4. You find yourself spending less time in Forever 21 and more time in Ann Taylor. You justify that it’s still trendy, but buttons won’t pop off after you’ve been wearing the blouse for only twenty minutes.
5. You’re fed up with ramen and decide it’s time to cook balanced, nutritional dinners for yourself. Steamed broccoli to the rescue!
6. …And after dinner, you make and pack your lunch for the next day.
7. Staying up until 2AM is no longer fun and exciting, but painful because you know waking up for work/school is going to be hell.
8. Whether or not you go through with it, you consider subscribing to a newspaper.
9. The amount of time you have left on your parents’ health insurance makes you a little nervous.
10. The invitations for your friends’ weddings start coming in, and they’re your normal friends, not the “why-the-heck-are-they-getting-married-this-is-a-terrible-idea” friends.
11. You schedule your own dentist appointments.
12. AARP sends you mail.
13. The hangovers get worse.
14. You that picture of you sucking down Jack Daniels or delete a depressive subtweet. You’re aware of what you put on the internet.
15. Dating is starting to feel like a bigger deal that can shape your future, rather than “this is just for now.”
16. The smell of coconut is divine.
17. …You’re using words like “divine.”
18. Your friends are buying puppies and you only hope they understand the responsibility that goes along with owning pet.
19. You’re accepting the fact that you have no idea where you’re going to be five years from now. Half of you is scared as hell, and the other half wouldn’t have it any other way.
Yes, this applies to women as well.
1. You respect yourself. We’re easing into it here with the obvious: it’s impossible to respect someone who doesn’t respect himself. You know yourself better than anyone else, so if, with all that knowledge you don’t like what you see — people are going to trust the authority on the subject (you).
2. You aren’t lazy. This is probably the biggest complaint people have against men, especially young men — they seem too apathetic to have passions and too lazy to follow them. If you have interests you’re pursuing in one way or another, you’re more than exceeding expectations.
3. You aren’t a yes man. There’s this cultural myth that women say they want nice guys but only really become attracted to “bad boys.” This is true, maybe, if we have a massive, culture-wide misunderstanding of what a “nice guy” is. It isn’t “nice” for someone to have no personality of their own and simply give you whatever you want, that’s just either being too passive to function (see #2) or thinking so little of a woman that you can’t say no for fear she will break. The balance women are looking for is outlined by Anaïs Nin:
“I, with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naive or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman.”
4. You don’t need a mom. True story: my sister’s husband had never used a napkin before they met. He was aware that they existed in restaurants, but he thought in your own home, you just used your clothing. I can’t tell you how terrifying it is that this is the tip of the iceberg. There’s nothing sexy about nagging a guy or mom-ing him, if a girl needs to tell you how to do 101 adult things, she won’t even be able to respect herself.
5. You introduce yourself to people you don’t know. I always think less of a guy if in a social or business setting he waits shyly in the corner for someone he knows to introduce him instead of doing this himself. (This applies to women too, but let’s stay on subject).
6. You read. Nothing — nothing, is worse than a bimbo. It’s nearly impossible respect people who are much less intelligent than you are and actually impossible to respect someone who doesn’t care.
7. You can turn a woman you don’t want to date down. With words. You can do this through text, even. What matters is not being someone who lives in fear of a briefly uncomfortable conversation. That is the part that’s a bad look.
8. You don’t have a bunch of kids with a bunch of different women. That’s no one’s Plan A for obvious/financial/your kid’s health reasons so it’s a state of being you reach through some pretty active irresponsibility — which is likely not isolated to this one area.
9. You don’t hate your job. This is true because you’re not the kind of person who gets “stuck.” You would never be “trapped” in a job or relationship that isn’t working, you’d simply move on to something that does work. Because you’re smart (see #6) and hard working (see #2) and have social skills (see #5) you will always have options.
10. You say what you want, even if it’s unpopular. But, you do it to be clear, not to get off on hurting someone’s feelings. This is the difference between guys who get called assholes by people who wish to be coddled, and men who self-identify as assholes because they wish they were brave enough for it to be true.