5.09.2012

The Growing Aversion to Dating


Be ruled by time, the wisest counselor of all.

~ Pericles

I'm sorry, but this fascinates me to no end.

I once remarked at how "romance" is a commodity here in America; from formulaic romantic comedies to the steadily growing obsession with weddings to the ever-present pressure for both men and women to look like fashion models, corporate America is making its money.

I was close...but there was something missing.

The roommate explained that Americans, when dating, "want everything now."  By the end of the first date - if it goes halfway decently - some Americans either want to be in a committed relationship right now, or they want to at least skip to the sex life right now.  There's no wooing.  There's no earning and building trust.  There's no taking things slow and making productive use of time.  Why?  Because in a place where food is ordered online, homework and business are completed via smartphone, and where restaurant servers are cussed out basically for being slower than a 24th Century replicator, Americans don't like things which take time...or hard work.

When I was younger, there was a time when every single boy/young man who wanted to kiss me asked my permission first.  Yes, peer pressure to have sex was prevalent, but at least most young men offered me the courtesy of asking first.  In recent years, however, I've noticed that a guy who wants to kiss me before the first date is even over "just goes for it".  They don't wait a for a couple of dates, spend any time getting to know me better, or let me get comfortable...no, no...they want it now.  They don't even pause to wonder if I even want their lips on me in the first.  When I asked one dude why he thought I was ready for him to kiss me, he said, "I didn't think that at all.  I just went for it."

But that's not all Americans want right away...some folks want you to become their chauffeur right away, pay a bill right away, spend the night right away (not for a one-night stand, mind you).  In other words, they want the relationship right away, replete with all perks and privileges.  They want the home-cooked meals, the foot and back massages, the heartfelt love and trust, and the shacking up...they want it all right away.

Now, this might be the norm for the Text-n-Twitter Generation, but for grown folks, it's a problem.

What happened to the work?  Whatever happened to the effort which used to go into looking good and being an interesting conversationalist who worked to amuse and seduce their date?  Even writers in Hollywood don't know how to draft a decent, intelligent, deep conversation in romantic films.  They instead try to convince the audience that by tossing back a few drinks and sharing some really lame humor, two people will fall madly in love and live happily ever after.

I am a sapiosexual.  I am stimulated by intelligence, wit, and humor.  I am an educated woman capable of deep dialogue.  Bonding with me takes time.  I don't give a fuck about your washboard abs, or your expensive smartphone or car or whatever - those are exactly the things which contribute to the "right now" mentality.

I took myself off the market last year when I realized I was always The Interesting One.  I didn't use my dates as therapy sessions, and I would dress up every time.  I made a point to show interest in my dates as people, and tried to start and maintain conversations on history, theology, politics, media analysis, writing, and world news.  The situation always ended the same: they wanted my number.  They wanted to see me again.  And they wanted me to throw myself at them right away.

This happened recently with a guy we'll call "Nick".  I wasn't even on date with him.  Nick, the Roomie, and I were at a bar a short while ago.  It was a group of platonic folks sharing a drink; Nick does the Roomie's taxes, and I had never met him before.  I hesitated "being me" but when the questions didn't end and the Roomie kept insisting that I talk more, I started "being me."

Next thing I know, this dude I just met is hugging me at random intervals and trying to get me to go out with him (read: get me into bed).  No way in hell was that happening, of course; the Roomie offered to pay for all the drinks and he didn't put up a fight.  HUGE red flag for Moi.  But then there's the fact that Nick is boring.  Nick makes day-old oatmeal look like a wild night on the town.

Problem is, he still has hopes that I'll come around some day, and the roommate's not helping.

My roommate pointed out also that Americans are not very sensual; sensuality implies time.  Heterosexual women in America complain a lot about sex being too quick and unsatisfying.  That's usually because men don't have longevity on the mind; they want to get in there, unload, then run off and brag to all their friends.  They rush through the date just to get to the sex, then they rush through the sex.

There's a saying about how time is fascinating because there's so much yet so little of it.  Interesting how many dates, sex lives, and overall relationships could last longer and be more fulfilling if Americans just slowed down and took their time.

14 comments:

  1. *Applause* Brava! You put what I think into words. Trust me it's a problem for the Text-n-Twitter Generation as well. Which is why so many people in that generation now proclaim "There's no such thing as love!" They rushed to be grown ups (in EVERY aspect of the word) only to find out that they were disillusioned about so much. *shrug* I'm an old time-y dater (think Cary Grant and Grace Kelley) I suspect I'll have a hard time finding a guy that respects and fits into that thought process but ... I truly do believe he's out there ... Only time will tell.

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  2. I have friends who have completely thrown in the towel (Both man and women)I remember a male co-worker saying why should men court a woman, when so many of them are willing to give it up on the first date. I also have a guy friend who says if a man wants to be with you, he'll be with you whether you give it up early or not. A man has to be ready for that commitment. Most just aren't he says.

    Me and my ex husband dated for only three months before getting married we met on a Prince Fan website believe it or not! (We were married for 8 years) I know that's rare but we loved each other, were ready and did it. I have no regrets. He's a good man, and we've remained close. He's been there for me through a lot. <3

    I'm not so optimistic anymore though. it's been difficult finding interesting men to just talk to. I'm a pretty eccentric person (I'm a professional Astrologer) and I like to talk about all kinds of things. That's the one thing I miss about my ex. We would talk about everything from music (We're both huge Soul/R&B fans) to politics, to UFO abductions!

    I agree with Hazel. I've heard a lot of younger people say "I don't believe in love. It doesn't exist." I was on the train one day and these guys around 18 years old were pointing out all of the fine "Bitches" they say on the train station. I just sat back an thought, is this what my little girl has to look forward to? God help her.

    I've been lucky that I have had some amazing men in my life. But at this point in my life, Being single is the best option for me. I'm not a very easy person to get close to as it is,and my tolerance for bullshit is nonexistent. I'd rather be alone than have some man around just to say I got somebody.

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    1. I agree that if a man wants you it doesn't necessarily matter how the relationship begins. Two out of three times that I've had a one-night stand led to a relationship. The third time, I just wanted to try out the whole friends with benefits thing. I was also weeding out a less than sincere friend and figured I had nothing to lose by sleeping with him.

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  3. This summarizes the concerns I have about dating; I fear I would not be successful because I move at much slower pace and I really need to know the person before I even feel safe with them. That's why I think I will have to be friends with someone first before I fall for them. The dating scene sounds like more trouble than it is worth.

    And I am a lot like you in that I am strongly attracted to intelligence.

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  4. Americans don't like things which take time...or hard work.

    So true. So absolutely true. I don't see it improving. This combined with the very real issue of lack of accountability makes "dating" damn near impossible for someone like me. What's even more sad(?) is that I don't feel like I'm missing anything. I see guys and I sigh inside because even thinking about more than just a second look makes me tired. Dating is anathema to me.

    I'm 80% certain that love (that which exists between a man and a woman and/or SO) doesn't exist anymore. It went the way of the dodo about 10-12 years ago, IMO. Likely due to technology becoming more efficient (kids don't study anymore; they Google the answers to everything; ready "knowledge" precludes having to take time to learn the answer), the art of courting or wooing is nearly extinct. We no longer have to wait for anything; a meaningful relationship should be no different. But people no longer know what that means because the time it takes to establish one is too long.

    Like Nicole, it's hard to find someone interesting enough to have conversations with, much less the level of intimacy required to get to first base. 'Cause you ain't just randomly putting your lips (or anything else) on me, trust and believe.

    Part of me can't help but wonder where this trend is going to lead. If we're no longer interested in dating, then what? It's in our nature not to be alone for the most part, but if we choose to be such because we're tired of the tomfoolery, then what happens after that?

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    1. Good question.

      I believe that more women will start living together, while dating men casually.

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    2. Interesting point, but I can't help but think of Roomie's failed attempt at casually dating that guy who thought he'd be in control of things.

      I guess my question then becomes: What constitutes "casual" dating? Is it basic companionship? Is it just going to the movies or catching a meal together? Is it stating up front that the relationship is strictly casual; there's no sex involved? Is it a FWB situation? Is it even possible to casually date a man?

      I guess "casual" has to be defined by both parties and the standard must be agreed and adhered to. If both parties actually want more, then a casual relationship simply cannot be had.

      For me, it's a waste of time to casually date a guy. I don't even know what it means.

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    3. Let me put it this way: the goal is not to settle down, have kids, get married, etc. You don't shack up. There are no strings. Folks can leave, and come back months later. It doesn't even have to be monogamous.

      As for how you spend your time together, that depends on what works for you. The symphony make work for one person, movies another. Dinner make work for some folks, but strictly keeping to drinks at the bar may work others.

      Typically, there is sex, and if the sex is not satisfying, things can be ended as soon as they begin. Good sex is one of the primary goals of casual dating. If that's not working out...NEXT.

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    4. It's not even about settling down; I already am. My needs are specific, and I don't mean just sexually; so none of this will work for me for a variety of reasons. I'm too damned picky about who I associate with; much less who I give the goodies up to. There's nothing casual about that, as far as I'm concerned.

      And while that may be all well and good from your end, there are no guarantees when it comes to him. I just don't trust a mofo not to renege.

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    5. On what constitutes a casual relationship. You guys may go out for drinks every now and then, have sex, do things sporadically, be okay with seeing other people...and then he flips the script and starts having expectations. Or, *gasp* want to be in control of the relationship. I guess the obvious answer is to cut that fool loose, but still...

      "She" could easily do it as well.

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    6. Well, yeah; that's one of the pitfalls. But just as there's always a chance it'll go wrong, there's also a chance it'll go right. *shrug* If at first you don't succeed....

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  5. As far as things moving fast or slow physically. All the guys I've met either won't date you at all or expect sex by the 3rd date. The one guy I met that I thought was a gentlemen for taking it slow, turned out to have a girlfriend in another city that he was about to relocate to. So he didn't want to physically cheat just emotionally cheat.

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