Those Kids and Their Crazy Dating Games
There are no two terms I hate being associated with more than the dreaded “Millennial” and “twenty-something.” Of course there are plenty of opinions regarding my generation that I don’t agree with, (we’re lazy, entitled, in need of constant pats on the back, blah blah blah), but the one topic that’s really been grinding my gears lately is how people think we go about dating. Older generations already think that we’re a “hook-up culture,” that we have no idea how to court people, and that we don’t know how to get to know someone without the help of Google, Facebook, and online dating profiles. The worst part is that my generation is actually proving them right.
I was Sunday brunching with two good friends a few weekends ago when the conversation took a turn toward the topic of what was going on in each of our romantic lives. This is the part of girl talk to which I never really have much to contribute. We talked about the roommate’s new happy relationship, and the ex-neighbor’s latest flame, but this time when I said that I still didn’t have anything to share, I got called out for thinking too much into things and taking everything too seriously.
“Why aren’t you dating?”
“Because I don’t want a relationship right now.”
“Dating people doesn’t have to lead to a relationship.”
(^Said as if this were common sense.)
THEN WHAT IS THE POINT?!
What is so great about taking an interest in somebody, spending time together, and becoming physically involved if you don’t want it to go anywhere? And, of course, none of this can be done exclusively because everyone has these weird commitment issues and a fear of being “tied down” and missing out on something better that may come along.
I do not understand the dating world of the twenty-something. Why is everyone pushing this casual dating thing? That’s not my style. I simply cannot do it. And I know that. I know that while I don’t do it often, when I actually do date, it’s not a just-for-the-moment type of thing. I know that I tend to care about people, and that I care about them deeply. I know that I love with my entire heart and that I’ll wear it on my sleeve with no apologies. I know that I like feeling things and putting my faith in people—no matter how many times I’m let down and convinced that maybe I shouldn’t. I don’t mind taking things slow, but the minute I open up to you, I know how rare of a thing that is for me. There is nothing routine or casual in nature when it comes to my romantic life.
I know that I’d like to get to know somebody face to face rather than swiping through profiles and letting the internet tell me how compatible I am with someone. I know that if I’m looking for “some fun,” an amusement park or a sporting event works just as well. I know that if I get lonely enough I can just get a dog. I don’t feel the need to be on someone’s arm every night of every weekend. I can sit in a coffee shop or a bar, get lost in a book, and bring myself home.
So I don’t casually date. Unfortunately, I fear I’m part of a dying breed of people in their twenties who actually have respect for relationships and emotions. Call me old-fashioned, but I’m a one-woman type of gal. And as far as our generation not knowing how to court people goes, given the chance, some of us are still able to romance you in a way that would give Gatsby a run for his money.
Featured on Literally Darling, May 2014