Saturday, November 12, 2011
What do You Hate About Modern Dating?
I'll be honest. I'm not much of a hater. Hate is entirely too strong of a word to describe what is usually either an annoyance or simple dislike. In addition, as I have gotten a bit older, I'm less charmed by the idea of bitching and moaning as a past-time. Or even as a warped mechanism of bonding with others. In other words, if I'm being critical, or offering judgments, I try to have a good reason for doing so.
With that said, here's a short list of dating dislikes and/or annoyances:
1. The shopping mentality so many people seem to have. Treating people like items in a catalog rather than as living, breathing human beings.
2. The obsession with "instant, mama said knock you out chemistry." Seriously, if your aim is to be struck by lightning, go stand on a rooftop during a rainstorm with a pitchfork in your hand.
3. All the pressure some folks place on first dates. I used to be one of those folks, trying to "act perfect" and spending the entire time obsessing about every last similarity and difference.
4. How casually some people treat sex and even emotional intimacy these days. Look, I'm all for liberation from the repressed sexual norms of the past, but there has to be honesty, care, and respect as well.
Now, let's look a little closer at what might be being these four annoyances/dislikes. The first one actually says a lot about the rest for me. I do my best to place basic human connection and compassion above most other things, feeling that we have better, more healthier communities when people care about each other. Or at least make the effort to. I also don't think dating should be approached in a transactional sense, where it's all about getting something for yourself. These are pretty core values for me, and so when something is going on that runs against them, I tend to notice.
As far as point two goes, isn't there a hell of a lot more to a strong, healthy relationship than physical attraction? And doesn't it make more sense to place "chemistry" in it's proper place as one of many factors to consider?
Honestly, when I think about number three, it's related to number one in a certain way. On the one hand, you have the salesperson approach of doing everything in your power to sell yourself as desirable to someone else. And on the other hand, there's the "on the clock" mentality that suggests your time is "too valuable to waste," and that someone best "prove some worthiness" in an hour or two, or else you're gonna move on. Whatever happened to enjoying someone's company for an evening? Or basic curiosity about another? I've been on many dates where I didn't have an interest in romance, but still learned a lot about the other person. Sometimes, I have even learned about some cool book, website, or event that I didn't know about before. I've even made a few career-related connections while on dates. You know never what can happen, and at the very least, you've learned a bit about another person's world.
The last one really ties into the rest in terms of, as I wrote above, the value I place on honesty, caring, and basic respect for each other. If you are dating, sleeping with, and pouring out pieces of your heart to multiple people - and they know nothing about that - it's kind of cruel. If any of those folks are like me, they're probably thinking they are the only one, or at the very least they are moving into more special territory. There's nothing more deflating than finding out a few months into dating someone that she/he is also having sex with, and otherwise being intimate with, others you knew nothing about.
So, that's my story. How about you? What do you dislike or find annoying about modern dating? And why?