Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The death of dating

date verb (MEET)

B1 [I or T] mainly US to regularly spend time with someone you have a romantic relationship with 

Above is the technical definition of dating.  You will notice it says "regularly spend time with"  

I have an announcement.  You may have already heard it or experienced it yourself,  if not let me be the first one to tell you: Dating is dead.

That's right. You heard me correctly.  That age old tradition of making arrangements to meet with the person whom you have or hope to have a romantic relationship with has been massacred.  Killed.  Thrown in the shredder.  Run over by a cement truck.

The culprit? Social media and texting.

Dating used to mean meeting someone and getting to know them via phone call, or gasp, in person.  You used to "Meet up" with people and spend hours talking to them face to face and seeing if you got a vibe from them.  You would call each other on the phone to find out how the other was and if per chance there were plans to arrange another meeting.  You had no idea what they were doing if you were not with them.  You had to drive to their house, work or pre-arranged destination.  There was an allure, mystery, tingly excitement of what was to come.

Then technology happened. Texting. Facebook. 20 different dating sites.  All of a sudden the floodgates opened, there was more variety, more opportunity.   You could "meet" people you would have never run into on a normal day.  Instead of waiting for fate or that chance meeting, your destiny could be uploaded, downloaded, poked, sexted, tagged, liked, and you never had to actually meet them.  With so many options why narrow it down to one person when you could chat with 10 simultaneously

We started falling for pictures and words and forced moments put there to make us all look like fun, cool people.  Only our best sides are shown.  We morphed and cropped and filtered ourselves into this desirable mate for someone to look at and "chat" with.  We joke and text and flirt and say witty things that may never come out of our mouths if we were face to face with another person.

Here's the issue; for the most part, instead of meeting someone organically, we have met online.  We have been set up and have "chatted" beforehand.  Not on the phone but on FB messaging, via text message, some mode of communication where we didn't hear each others voices, make real conversation. 

Then you meet the person face to face.  You have constructed the whole relationship based on snippets of information they have carefully crafted, only letting you see the perfect, constructed parts and not the real parts. They aren't exactly what you had in mind so bam...end the date and go back to the dating site and find the next perfect sounding person.  In this instant gratification society, we don't want to get to know anyone.  If you don't do it for me in the first hour, I'm going to disappear into thin air and never be heard from again.  It's called Ghosting and it happens more than you can imagine.  You only talked to that person in cyberspace.  All they know about you is what you told them and you can disappear like that. Back to the drawing board. There's five other women who have shown interest so why not go on to the next one.

So let's just say that date one went well.  This leads to date two then maybe three and four and by golly gee, maybe you are dating, dare I say a relationship??? Good luck.  With all the available choices many men (and some women) are basically just keeping your company until the next shiny new toy catches their attention.    Remember what I said about instant gratification?  Well here is where it comes rearing its ugly head.  Dating Girl A and that is going OK but here comes Girl B, blowing up your phone and liking all your FB posts and flirting hard. Well maybe you should just "chat" with her.  No harm in that right? I mean if Girl A gets boring or doesnt' work out we need another option.

OK Men, before you get all huffy puffy thinking you are getting singled out, just look at the FB page of any newly single dad.  Once a man goes "back on the market" you can practically see the vultures circling with their perfectly manicured red nails.  Seriously, take a look at all the likes and comments and "hey cutie" comments they get when they post a selfie.  Put up a picture of him and his kids??? Every single woman with a pulse is jumping all over that trying to say the cutest, cleverest thing.  I once dated a guy who had three girls.  It became  a joke between us. I used to text him and say "I see your fan club just had a meeting" We would laugh but deep down I felt a bit insecure.  To me it's the technological equivalent of women throwing their panties at a man.

Technology has made us crazy.  Those of us who just want to be in a relationship have become paranoid.  Wondering why some chick is constantly commenting on our mans posts, does she like him? Does he like her?  Is she texting him or messaging him?  We don't want to become that girl who sneaks a look at her mans phone.  We don't want to think some other woman is moving in on our territory.   And we certainly don't want to ask because then we look like the crazy, jealous type.

I want to meet a guy without a smartphone.  No FB.  Maybe an InstaGram that he posts pictures of his dog, and sunsets and food.  It would certainly make dating easier and give me peace of mind.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Please, tell me more....

I have been single for five years now.  Not completely single, I was in two longish relationships, a couple shorter ones, about 25 crappy dates, a handful of great ones and too many questionable choices.  It has been interesting to say the least.  Because of all of this there has been a great many conversations about the aforementioned forays.  Mostly with my girlfriends and sisters and few select friends. I have talked to co-workers and on occasion total and complete strangers.

Being single is almost like being pregnant.  Most people aren't. Some have been and almost everyone has an opinion.  Over this time frame I have had some astounding conversations, been on the receiving end of good and bad advice and subject to the offhand, rude, or off-color comment.

The following are the most common things people say to me and at this point I am either annoyed or amused.  Most have good intentions but just like the expectant mother who just wants to have her baby without a litany of advice and old-wives tales, I too just want people to let it go.

1.  I don't understand why you're still single.  

Often followed up w
ith "You're so pretty, smart, wonderful" whichever adjective you want to describe me with, I have heard it all. I know all of this. Your guess is as good as mine.  I have my own theories which we have discussed in previous posts and my newest one which will be posted in the next day or so.  My only reply to say to that is; Get in line, I don't get it either.  It's basically the $65,000 question and no one has the answer to it.  Oh wait but they do....

2.  It will happen when you least expect it

Really? Will Prince Charming fall out of my apple tree? Jump out of my closet? Is he hovering nearby waiting for the precise moment for me to give up on the thought that there is one single, decent man in this world only to jump out and shower me in confetti and yell "Surprise, here I am"  If you aren't sure, that is sarcasm.  I gave up expecting a great guy a long time ago. I am not looking out my window waiting for my prince to gallop up on white steed or harbor the saccharin romantic movie fantasy that we will bump into each other on the street, our eyes lock and fall in love surrounded by a crappy soundtrack.  It doesn't happen. If it happens when I least expect it, it will probably be some sort of kidnapping and please call the police.

3. Maybe you are just too picky 

This is one one of my personal favorites. Yes I am picky.  You would be too if you were married to a verbally abusive semi-sociopath.  I have gotten my priorities straight and because my kids come first for now I am extremely picky on what qualities I will accept in a man.  I am sure I could have a boyfriend if I wanted one, yet if I just settled for whatever swirled about I wouldn't be any further ahead than what I was five years ago.  I have standards people and they are set a tad high.  I don't really care about money.  Looks are somewhat important but chemistry, decency, honesty are things I am not going to settle for.  If it's not there and our values are not aligned I am not wasting my time.

4. Maybe you just need to put yourself out there more     
You mean wearing my single girl sandwich board and ringing my bell aren't enough?  I have toyed with the idea of buying one of those signs at Costco...the ones that flash neon and say OPEN FOR BUSINESS.  Do you think that will work????  Please.  I have done the online dating thing.  Spectacular fail with the exception of one guy.  I am as outgoing as they come.  I am not going to meet anyone decent at a bar.  My church is full of married men, or the single ones are nowhere near my age range.  School....ditto.  Work? Doubtful, but you never know.  I am involved in a number of things where potential single men gather.  It just hasn't happened.   People know I am single.  They want to set me up constantly.  I don't wear any type of ring. If a guy doesn't have the kahones to ask me out or get to know me then it's his loss.  I am done advertising, 

By now some of you are sitting there, legs crossed and lips pursed because you know, YOU KNOW you have said one or more of these things to me.  Stop. Don't get all offended and self-righteous on me.  Those that are my true friends know my struggles and stories and idiot mistakes that I have made and continue to make.  I appreciate the shoulders to cry and laugh on.  The pep talks and the anecdotes, the good advice and the texts that brighten my day when I want to chuck it all and become a nun.