I would like to start by saying I was reluctant to write another dating post. I have written two other ones, and there is a fine line between ranting and coming off jaded. My hope is, you’ve read my previous posts about dating and realize this has absolutely nothing to do with me being bitter. As with other writers, I just needed the right type of inspiration. I found it, and felt compelled to write the final part of all my experience from the modern dating world. This will be my last post about the topic. It ends the trilogy and completes the saga. This is my Dark Knight Rises. A reference that makes total sense, since dating has been the Bane of my existence.
I, like many who have gone through the ups and downs of online and modern dating, have many stories to share. Everyone it seems, has a story to tell. I have spoken to so many who say they could write a book with all there experiences, or that they should start a blog. Unfortunately, these stories are now all too common. They aren’t all that unique, and these aren’t the kind of wonderful tales you would want to tell your grandchildren down the road. No, these days, the stories do feel more like griping or complaining. We talk and listen to friends and colleagues about how bad dating really is. Their stories tend to eerily match your own. I was watching an episode of Master of None on Netflix and couldn’t believe every date story in that episode (I think 5 in total) was something I had personally experienced. I wonder if Aziz Ansari some how Inceptioned my mind and stole all my important dating files from the limbic region of my brain? But eventually, logic prevailed, and the technology for stealing human thoughts just isn’t there…yet. I realized that these stories are shared by many. It’s not unique to me, it’s not unique to you. The fact that many feel and go through this sort of dating brain fog doesn’t necessarily make it better or even provide clarity. However, I take comfort that others are finding similar experiences with dating these days. The struggle is real. That struggle is compounded when you talk to people who are married or in a relationship. They usually say one of two things. One is, how they wish they could be dating like you are. Or two, while shaking their head, they wonder how people even survive in the dating world right now and are so thankful they found their one before all this bullshit began. They pull out a Polaroid picture of their soulmate and kiss the photo. You puke into a nearby anything.
When we first jump into the world of online romance, it’s quite exhilarating. Possibility leads us down a path of intrigue and excitement. You quickly jump to the next stage, which is an increase in frustration when you wrap your head around all the repeating patterns in today’s dating scene. The same questions over and over. The same date ideas. And…the same outcome. How many ‘one and done’ dates have you had? Most of us have this necessity to feel that instant spark or click that would garner more dates. I agree with that statement to some extent. I think we yearn for the romanticism of the past. You know, one milk shake two straws. Calling each other. Letting something develop over time. Dating right now is just an endless amount of emails and texting back and forth without people actually connecting and meeting. I think we ask so many specific questions now. Filtering protocols put into place to prevent wasted time. That is, even the slightest thing that doesn’t align causes us to move onto someone else. We want perfection. We also do this because there are so many options out there with online dating, and nobody feels accountable anymore. We’re just ghosts typing into digital screens. If we delete someone, it means nothing. We’ve lost touch. A human touch. And sadly, we’ve all been guilty of this at some point. It’s time for a change. It’s time to rise from The Death of Digital Dating for Christ sake.
We know dating nowadays is predominantly done online, and there’s no denying it, no shying away from it either. For a while, I thought the only way to humanize the online dating experience was to get rid of online and toss the apps completely. I wanted to go back to the roots of how people met for the purpose of dating. Go old school if you will. But I was wrong, because that doesn’t work either. Allow me explain.
We, as in the disenfranchised members of the online dating community, all have this pipe dream of organically meeting that special someone at the grocery store, or a wedding reception, or through friends. Remember, I’m not saying everyone has this fairy tale in their head. People that are new to online, or are just looking to have fun, getting their feet wet after a break up, and/or just want to mess around. They don’t give a shit about fairy tales. They want a non-fiction fuck. I’m talking about the seasoned vets, the experienced daters who are so far past that lifestyle, that they usually start their dating rants with “dating these days..” Here’s the problem. We go to Whole Foods, in hopes that all the dating references about meeting people at Whole Foods are true, and we walk around the grocery store with aspirations of running into someone special. You have three organic gala apples in your cart that probably will cost in the neighborhood of $7.06, but that’s OK. It’s worth it because it’s a small price to pay to find…The One. You turn that corner and head down the fair trade tea and coffee section, and there she is. Gorgeous, but chill and laid back, checking the labels (as they should). Modern-hippie and just the right amount of trendiness. You know, purposefully tossed hair that’s equal messy, equal runway. Making sure the product she’s looking at is equitable and Non-GMO. You do a little sweep of your own hair, throw some other products into your cart to make it look full. It doesn’t matter if the cashier is going to look at you funny when he/she checks you at the register and you have three apples, menopause supplements, an ethical farming practice pack of bacon, and organic tampons. And you’re a guy. It doesn’t matter, it’s besides the point. Your small shopping cart looks packed. You walk up beside her. She’s perfect and this is the moment you’ve been waiting for your whole entire ‘post online dating life’. Which ranges anywhere from a few minutes up to maybe a few days since you quit all those apps. You start looking at teas. Mmmm…rooibos. Mmmmm…dandelion root. As you stand there going through all the ridiculous flavors, she never looks your way. She looks at her phone a few times, does a couple swipe motions, and goes back to looking at tea. And then it hits you. You’ve waited for this grocery store moment for so long, and the problem is, it doesn’t happen anymore. Those people are online too, and their heads are in the digital sand looking down at their phone swiping left or right, missing moments left and right. Even if that person was receptive, do you even know how to start a conversation anymore? Does anyone? Let’s say you have the stones and know-how to bring up the fact that Kambucha is the way to go, and strike a great conversation. By miracle, you snag her number. It doesn’t change the fact that she’s likely still online! And how do you even know if she’s on the same page as you? Oh I know, you send a few feeler texts, send each other pics, and who knows, maybe you don’t like the way she tilts her hips in pictures. It fizzles, and 6 months later you try to figure out who the fuck ‘Erin’ is in your phone. So you do a generic “Hey cleaning out my phone who is this?” text to get a reminder but all you get back is “Who is this?” flipping your world upside down. Gosh, maybe I’m not the center of the universe. Touche ‘Erin’. Touche. So the answer isn’t to go completely sober from dating apps and websites. It’s to use them responsibly, and never swipe and drive.
The danger lies in hiding behind a keyboard, which so many people do. They spend hours online searching, days before making a phone call, and weeks before meeting. This turns into a viscous cycle that repeats repeatedly. What ends up happening is a phenomenon that all too many people are familiar with. And although it sounds supernatural, it’s far from super or natural in terms of what human interaction should be about. This behaviour is known as ‘ghosting’. This is the act of ceasing all communication with someone. This may be for a myriad of reasons. It could be a lack of interest, too many other options, it could just be that the other person is seemingly bat shit crazy. We ghost on people way too much these days. It’s becoming an epidemic. While ‘Ghost’ should be everybody’s favorite dire wolf on Game of Thrones, it should not be a tool used to get out of human interaction, even if the interaction is to disengage. Let’s start acting like humans, better yet, lets be human. Can we converse already? What’s that you say? No time I have to work on my selfie game. No time, I have to do nothing, and that takes a lot of time. How defeating is it when you want to get to know someone but they choose to upload a ‘story’ on their social media instead. They choose to post a new pic on their dating profile or Instagram to get more attention, but neglect even asking simple questions about who you are. Isn’t it just so sad? This is what is important now. Likes, and duck faces, and skin and tits and ass. Now some of you will say we need to adapt or perish. Darwin bitches. Survival of the fittest. But adaptations take time. This dating environment we’re in, is going to make us extinct like the dinosaurs. Pretty soon, no one will know how to interact without a phone. It used to be that fear was the reason you wouldn’t go up to someone at a restaurant or gathering. Fear of rejection or embarrassment. Being shy, or no experience. But these are human characteristics. Now the reason we don’t approach is because we’ve forgotten how, and/or it’s just easier to use our phone instead.
But guess what? WIFI goes down in a random cafe for two weeks. Do you know what happens to that cafe? No, it doesn’t become a ghost town. It becomes more lively and communal than ever before. Hey, you still have your phone and LTE, but you’re a little more reluctant to use all that data right? Same with dating. Let’s interact a bit more. Let’s exercise those demons. Heck let’s just exercise and get out there for a hike. Do you really need to line up your dating card with 8 dates a week? How about asking some questions, conversing, and meeting just one that actually has potential. Does scrolling down your Bumble matches really give you satisfaction if it takes more than a swipe? We need to go on a date and not check our phone for other matches while they go to the bathroom. We need to act our age. We need to talk more. We need to stop using social media as a way to advertise and validate ourselves. We need to get out into the community. We need to order an organic strawberry coconut milkshake (gluten free)… with two fucking straws. And throw on some oldies while you’re at it. You know, 90’s.
So rise. Stand up. Put your phone down for a minute. Connect and listen. Because it’s time to start a revolution. We need a caped crusader that is capable of defeating the one dimensional dating approach that is monopolizing and taking over our minds. And that hero… is you. Only you can bring it back to the way it was, the way it should be. We need…The Return of Real Relationships.