I'm going on a date tonight.
As you've probably gathered, I'm not a big fan of dating.
But I do believe in giving a chance to guys who I find attractive and who seem kind.
I will be on my own for dressing myself for this date, so hopefully Mr. Man is not too judgmental of the fashion choices of women with siblings who are exclusively male.
Even if this date is a good one, it doesn't mean I don't still have my theories about why my generation is so messed up when it comes to dating.
If you haven't had the joy of speaking to me on this topic (and by speaking, I mean sitting silently while I rant), then you don't know that I am planning to interview a bunch of people in their 20s and 30s about what it's like to date these days and then turn it into some articles or maybe just some musing here on the Daily.
In a nutshell my theory is that back in the day my grandparents and parents dated "casually," meaning people just went on dates and it wasn't something to get all freaked out about. Generally, I believe, women didn't go to movies, or dinner, or school dances alone. Men took them. Sometimes people dated the same person and fell in love and got married. Other times they just had someone to go somewhere with, one everyday event at a time.
Then women's lib happened. Believe me, I'm very, very happy about this. I have career goals and am a strong independent woman and like it that way. I also am a human, thus I have that natural instinct to want to be loved, to want friendship, intimacy, partnership. I can be patient on this, but I still want it. And meanwhile I seek it out in the amazing friendships I have with people of all ages, male and female.
(I'm not saying that independence and a desire for intimacy are mutually exclusive--this is not a post where I get into the details of feminism and what exactly that crazy web means).
(My theory(ies) also include opinions about the fact that our society focuses so much on romantic love that we hurt ourselves by not making friendship the kind of priority it should be. But again, this post is not getting into that too deeply.)
So, my theory, is that with women's lib, and some other things--TECHNOLOGY, for one--caused people to, over time, throw a bunch of rules out the window. And now we're all confused, and stumbling around, yet wanting love.
Now if you know me but at all you know that I'm not a big rules person. I sent an email to my parents the other day that asked, "Have I ever lived inside the lines?" But I think that without some sort of guidelines, we fall apart.
In my limited experiences with dating, and in talking with my friends, I have come to find that my generation acts very aloof when it comes to dating. My girlfriends tell me to "Let him make the next move." "Don't call him, let him call you." I've had men show interest in me but then never ask me out. I think that men and women alike often balk when someone of the opposite sex shows interest in spending time with them. Sometimes I just want to yell,
"Just because I want to hang out with you doesn't mean I'm asking you to marry me!!"
A lot of times I don't even know if I'm interested in someone romantically, and I just want to hang out with him to find out if, someday, I might. And I won't consider it a wasted afternoon if I eat a sandwich with a guy, or watch a TV show with him, or sit on the beach with him, if we don't go on a proper date later, or even so much as kiss--that day, or at all.
I'm just asking everyone to simmer a bit. Just calm down. And think about this with me:
Remember when we were in college and we'd knock on each other's dorm room doors and just flop on the couch and talk about nothing for a few hours? And then we'd get hungry and go to the dining hall and spend our parents' money loaded onto our dining cards to get some ice cream? And then eventually we'd have to do our homework so we'd part ways?
Did anyone get married in that scenario? (Well, for some, eventually, yes, they did. But I didn't, and a lot of my friends didn't.) Did you feel the need to kiss someone goodbye after such an encounter? Did you feel like you needed to call each other and discuss if you were now going steady? Did you go shopping for a ring or subscribe to Martha Stewart Weddings?
NO. Big fat no.
If you went to a "huggy" campus like I did (lots of hugs shared at good old Valparaiso, which I loved and miss), then maybe you shared hugs at the end of some of these encounters. But I think it's safe to say that 99.99999999999% of the time you never kissed someone or got any more physically involved at the end of these impromtu "day dates."
So all I'm asking, on most days, is to just pretend we're in college again. Let's not abandon our new found maturity levels, please. I do not want to date, or hang out with, the 22-year-old version of yourself. And let's not treat every interaction with the opposite sex as mere friendship--if you have feelings for goodness sake express them! Even if it's via email, just show me you're interested.
And as for the spending of our parents' money, well. Let's just say if you're as broke as me, then we'll do something free or cheap, and split the bill.
OK. Wish me luck tonight. Mostly on my outfit choice, more so than in the chemistry department.