In Defense of Dating.

Dating sucks.

No really, it does.  I know, I’ve been doing it a little over two years now.

It.  Sucks.  Ass.

Oh sure, you get to meet cool people.  Sure, there’s the prospect of that exciting first kiss, the quickening of breath, hearts racing and all that.  It still sucks, and I just don’t quite know why, or why I continue to do it.  I certainly don’t remember it being like this the last time I was single.  True, that was about 8 years ago, but still.  Maybe its the particular age group I’m dealing with now.  Maybe all the sane, stable, un-fucked up ones are taken.  Maybe I have old-fashioned ideas about dating.  Maybe I’m just looking in the wrong places.  Maybe “things are just done differently now”.  Whatever the case may be, I’m not Livin’ La Vida Loca, that’s for damn sure.  Dating seems to boil down to one thing: playing head games.

That is the one game that I really REALLY hate with a boiling passion am not fond of.

But what the hell.  Sign me up for that emotional roller coaster ride!  Yes, I ENJOY using my heart as a metal ball in the Dating Pinball machine.  If you’re not jaded and disillusioned, then you’re doin it wrong!  Hello, MultiBall!

Meh.  Meh, I say.

A friend of mine told me that relationships are overrated. That if hers ended, she’d just date and be single and happy for the rest of her life. She also told me she’s heard of lots of couples splitting up recently.

Well for her, and all the people thinking the grass is greener on the single side, here’s what I’ve learned after two years.  A few tips, you might say.  Or words of warning.  Take them how you will.

  1. Don’t show any interest in someone you’re interested in. That makes you “needy”. Maintain an air of mild disdain for human connection, or risk being seen as weak. The more you like them, the less you can show it.  And the less you show it, the more they want you.
  2. If you’re not dating at least 5 other people, you’re dangerous. Too available.
  3. However, if  someone informs you that they’re dating 15 other people, you *might* want to consider leaving.
  4. If you’re looking for more than a casual hookup, give up. Committed relationships apparently are no longer cool.  Whoa there partner…do you have FEELINGS about me?  Whoa, I’m not cool with FEELINGS, you know.  Now come over and let’s fuck.
  5. Unless the connection is instant and overwhelming, it’s not worth your time. Slowly getting to know someone? Who’s got time for that?
  6. People say in their ads/profiles that they’re ‘looking for friends, maybe more’. THEY ARE LYING.  If they don’t think you’re hot on first meeting, no matter how much you have in common or how much you hit it off, you’ll never hear from them again.
  7. Speaking of friends: There’s no such thing as going directly from dating to friends if you’ve had sex.  Saying that “We can be friends!” is a lie created to distract you from the fact that you’re being broken up with.
  8. You’ll want to learn the art of the passive aggressive text message.  Text is this generation’s sticky note on the bathroom mirror.
  9. Never, under any circumstances, friend people you’re dating on Facebook .  Or Twitter.  Or LinkedIn, Tumblr, or any of the other 3 billion social networking sites.  If by some dumb stroke of luck you actually *do* end up in a long term relationship with someone, then MAAAAYYBBEEE you can consider the digital hookup.  Until then, however, keep it off the internets.  It’s safer.  Think of it as a digital condom.  Let’s be safe out there, people.
  10. Realize that this is going to be a huge pain in the ass. Dating is like trying to organize a multilevel marketing scam but with the possibility of STDs and more booze.

But seriously, internets.  Dating just seems to bring out the ugly side of people, myself included.  I can’t tell you how many people have reached out to me on the various dating sites, and I take one look at the picture and delete the message with a shudder.  That makes me feel shallow and cruel - but I know what I’m looking for, and they have not met my standards. I’m sure I’d like those people.  I bet we’d be great friends.  I’m sure I have a lot I could learn from them; I believe that of most anyone.  But I don’t claim to be looking for friendship on these sites.  My mission is clear and focused.  Find people I’d like to date, and date them.  If we click a little, have fun.  If we click a lot, explore that potential.

Even more worrisome is that this casual hookup society I find myself in has truly shaken my faith in love.  I view it as a force , as a meta-force if you will; most forces can be described in terms of love or attraction.  I have faith in its inevitability, its power, its universal application.  But the fact that my experiences in the past two years are casting shreds of doubt in that faith shakes me down to my very core.  It scares me more than anything I’ve ever been scared of.  It threatens my foundations.

So think again before you throw in your towel and decide to become a hunter again .  It is not for the faint or the weak. As another friend of mine told me, encouraging me to just spend more time with my friends instead:  “Dating sucks!  We’re way more fun!”

“But Morgan!” you say.  “This post was called ‘In Defense of Dating’!  Not ‘Dating Sucks’!”

Yes, well.  I know, I sound a bit jaded and bitter.  I’m just doing a bit of dredging.  Believe me,  I still hold out hope, internets.  I’m a very hopeful type.  Perhaps one of you can convince me that there’s value in this twisted dance?  That there are people who don’t view relationships as a sport, to be won at any cost?

Here’s hopin’.

Thanks to my good friend Aaron, who brought his prodigious experience to bear on this topic, and to Michelle and her amazing Miracle in July for the Apture suggestion.  You both rock my world.

Comments

  1. Metroknow says:

    Great post Morgan. Here’s to getting through the desert on a horse with no name. Or a horseface with the right attitude, as the case may be. :)

  2. crunchysue says:

    I guess I’ll stick with single and not dating for now. Sounds like the best plan, based on your research.

  3. Heidi says:

    You’re right to hold out for the real deal (says one-half of the ‘disgustingly cute’ couple). The right relationship won’t require any mind games to attain. I’ll help you screen out all the rest. ;-)

  4. mediaChick says:

    You nailed it, baybee! NAILED. IT. The older I get the more I find myself meh-ing at the joke of it all. Dating five people at once? Who has time for that kind of insane hook-up schedule? I’m too busy DOING something with my life, not trying to find someone to sleep in my bed every night, annoy the fuck outta me.

    I’m just saying…

    Also, thanks for the linkie to The Miracle in July! #purr

  5. Morgan says:

    @metroknow I’ll drink to that :D

    @crunchysue It does seem to be, doesn’t it? That makes me sad.

    @Heidi Yes you are disgustingly cute :D Love you guys!

    @mediachick you are pretty damn amazing, and deserve worship. As do I. :)

  6. Amy says:

    Awesome. Best thing I’ve read online in a while. *sigh*