Whatever happened to dating? How is it that there are so many people over the age of 30 who are single or divorced who are so terrible at dating or understanding social cues and treating potential dates with respect? Are all you single adult Mormon men in Utah still clinging to the advice in the For The Strength of Youth pamphlet, even though you're 20+ years past the age group it was written for? (DATE IN GROUPS! DON'T SPEND TOO MUCH TIME ALONE WITH ONE PERSON! DON'T DATE THE SAME PERSON TOO MANY TIME IN A ROW!) Guys, newsflash, you're not 16 anymore. Learn how to date like a man.
It's not that hard. I promise. Look I'll show you an interaction I had last year at a friend's party, to illustrate what you should do.
Man: "It was great meeting you, hey I hope this isn't too forward but can I get your number?"
Me: "Sure it's xxx.xxx.xxxx"
Him: "Great, I'll call you."
Me: "Looking forward to it."
And guess what? He called me the next evening. It went like this.
Man: "Hi this is Xxxxxxx we met at xxxxxx's party."
Me: "Hi Xxxxxxx, I remember, it's good to hear from you. How are you?"
Man: "I'm doing well, thanks. I was wondering if you'd like to go to dinner with me next Friday night? You said you liked sushi so I thought we could go to Takara."
Me: "That would be great, what time?"
Man: "How about 6pm? If you give me your address I can pick you up."
Me: "It's xxx W xxxx N in Logan."
Man: "Thanks, see you then."
And then he texted the night before to confirm that I was still on board for our plans. He showed up on time, looking put together and smelling nice. I had made an effort to look and smell nice. His car was clean, he opened doors for me, and he engaged me in conversation. After dinner he took me home and walked me to the door, gave me a kiss on the cheek and that was that. Pretty much a decent, normal first date.
I had an enjoyable evening, but this gentleman and I didn't have enough in common and we went our separate ways, no hard feelings. NO BIG DEAL. It didn't crush me that we weren't meant for each other, and I'm sure it didn't crush him either.
I didn't obsess about it, BECAUSE he didn't promise to call me at the end of the date...so I didn't expect him to call. He was courteous, attentive, made a detailed plan...and shocker...he followed through on it. He didn't expect anything in exchange for buying me dinner, other than the pleasure of my company and a chance for us to get to know each other better. He did make an effort in his appearance and hygiene. He didn't stretch it out into a 4 hour long megadate. He did make me feel comfortable and safe. He didn't "forget" his wallet. He used good manners. He didn't rant about politics or his ex's. He asked thoughtful questions and when I asked him questions he gave thoughtful answer.
Basically we both did everything right and enjoyed the evening but there wasn't enough there for a second date. This is not why I'm asking what happened to dating. Why I'm wondering what has happened to dating is that this date is one of the rare exceptions to my experiences with dating in the last 3+ years here in Utah.
The days of men calling women up and asking them out for a specific day/time/activity seem to be long gone. Only a few dapper dinosaurs still do that. Newsflash: I adore dinosaurs. Most of the dates I've been on lately have been set ups, and they are their own special kind of hell which I won't go into here. However I have been on a lot of "hangouts" and I can honestly say, I'm not a fan. More often than not I get a text like this...
Him: "Whatcha doing?"
Me: "Just hanging out at home."
Him: "Um do you want to hangout?"
Me: "That's what I'm doing right now, alone, comfortably, in the privacy of my own home."
Him: "Um, with me?"
Him: "I don't know, whenever."
Me: "What would you like to do?"
Him: "Um, I don't know, whatever?"
Sorry guys, this is what you do with your bros or your roommates (why, by the way, are you 40 and have 3 college aged roommates?), not what you do with women that you are interested in and want to get to know better. Even worse than Hang-Out-Guy is Indecisive-Guy.
Him: "We should get dinner some time."
Me: "I'd like that, when do you want to go."
Him: "I'll call you."
*crickets chirp...then die waiting for him to call, because he never does*
I've written about this subject before, you can find the post here. Here's the thing guys, women in their 30's and 40's view dating a bit like this:
Either make an effort to let us know that you're interested and want to get to know us better and that we are potentially a priority in your life, or let us know you're not interested. It isn't as difficult or scary as you think. Please stop wasting our time, keeping us on the friend hook**, or wanting to ask us out but never growing the stones to do it.
You don't ask us out? Guess what, we're not waiting around for you to swoop in at the last second and offer us a spot on your slightly stained couch somewhere between you and the piles of discarded food wrappers and junk mail strewn about, watching a lame action movie.
Oh, and before you guys start thinking "Well that's easy for a WOMAN to say, you don't have to deal with the rejection, judgment, etc." let me share something. For the last year I made a conscious effort to turn the tables and ask men out. I did this at least once a month for all of 2015, every month with a different guy. I called them up (or in a few chicken moments, texted) and asked if they wanted to go to dinner with me. I made the plan, I picked them up, I paid, I took them home at the end of the night. Did I get turned down? Sometimes. Did it crush me? No. Did I ask guys that might not be society's definition of super attractive, but seemed like kind and interesting men whom I wanted to give myself a chance to get to know better? Heck, yes. Did I enjoy myself on these dates? Yes. If I said I would call them later, I called. If I wasn't interested it ended with a handshake and a simple "good night". We had dinner, we had fun, we didn't die. NOT.THAT.HARD.
Me? I enjoy going out for dinner with nice guys, it doesn't happen all that often and I enjoy the novelty of it. But if given the choice of hanging out with some random dude who can't be bothered to change out of a tshirt and sweat pants when I come over, and staying home alone...I'm going to pick staying home alone every time, at least then I don't feel like I have to change out of MY sweatpants. I enjoy my own company more than that of a guy who treats me like an afterthought, thank you very much.
So please, will someone explain to me what has happened to dating?
**Side rant about "friend zoning". Saying that we don't want to be in the Friend-Zone doesn't mean we don't want male friends. What it means is that we want to have male friends who are friends, and don't use us as the romantic equivalent of a nightlight. This means, don't treat us as a pseudo-girlfriend when you're in between relationships. Ladies? Same thing goes for you. Don't Friend-Zone guys, don't keep them on the hook because you're too afraid to be alone but aren't interested in having a real relationship with the poor guy. Be honest, be clear. I promise, everyone will appreciate it. Whatever you do, don't leave the girl wondering if it was a date or not. I've had the following conversation more times than I care to count.
PS - Dating is disappearing almost as fast as good parties, and guests who actually know how to RSVP. Don't get me started.