Millennials. Non-committal flakes that they are have invented a new type of dating. Hookup culture. Dateless dating. Netflix and chill. Other annoying catchphrases. Essentially it’s a world in which no one makes a plan. Meetups are casual almost accidental. The will they won’t they question infuriatingly leaks into every weekend. No one really knows where they stand. Romance is dead.
For some. This works. I don’t believe it. But they claim it does. I’ve always thought it was just dudes somehow finally calling every last shot in the dating realm. You know, having cake and eating it too. Free cows and what not. But a friend of mine who has dated a handful of women on the tail end of the millennial spectrum (not as far as the illegal end, though), and he swears most of these girls get freaked out by the idea of committing to real plans outside of “maybe we’ll meet up at that party if I decide to go, I guess.”
Maybe it’s true. Maybe they don’t know what opportunities are going to pop up from one weekend to the next. Opportunities that are more appealing than a picnic with a nervous guy who thinks fedoras are impressive. Maybe they don’t want to commit to a full dinner with someone who could turn out to be a misogynist monster, or worse, suuuuuuper boring. Maybe their visceral reactions to actual dates has been programmed by years of evasive men.
Whatever. With the right person, dating dating is fun. Exciting. Full of promise. To pretend it isn’t is cynical and immature, which is why I spent most of my 20s pretending to hate it. Okay, yeah it’s pretty awful with the wrong person. And, yeah, odds are you’re going to have to date the wrong person a lot. But, even that could be kind of fun. And give you five or so years of blog material.
The cultural shift to casual meetups may be a good thing, though. It leaves the woo opportunity wide open for those willing to take a risk and seize it. The right person doesn’t have nearly as much white noise to fight without the backdrop of supper club saturdays and Friday night dances. (Okay so perhaps my dating ideals are modeled after a romanticized time that was really rampant with sexism, homophobia and racism.)
With no one bothering to plan a date as simple as dinner and a movie, the bar to make a positive impression is fairly low. No need to chart a helicopter tour of the city or send an elaborate post-date diamond tennis bracelet (WTF is a tennis bracelet anyway). A Trader Joe’s bouquet and a few drinks with a view and you’ll seem like the most thoughtful man in the world.
This goes for the ladies, too. Be willing to commit to two hours with a cute guy. Just the two of you. You don’t have to marry him if he’s lame or a bad tipper, but how else are you going to find out who he is if you don’t actually spend some time with him. Hell, plan two hours with the cute guy yourself—feminism! Don’t get weirded out by some flowers and an open door. Appreciate it for the kind gesture it is.
If you don’t, someone else might and you’ll lose your casual hookup buddy who could have been something more. I’m looking at you, Illana. Lincoln is a prince among men and you blew it!
Anyway. Obviously, you can date however you want. But there is something to be said about old school dating (or just like 90s dating) and it’s ability to facilitate genuine human connection that could lead to something lasting. If that’s what you’re into.