“You swipe the ones you don’t like into the left corner and the ones you do into a save folder?”

Sort of.”

“So then you write them a letter and they send one back and you both pick a place to find out which one of you lied about your age?”

Yes.”

“And if you don’t like the way he chew’s his food, you block him and give the next guy in line your number?”

I guess.”

“My husband and I met in high school. We’ve been inseparable ever since.”

Oh, how the times have changed.”

This is an excerpt from any conversation I have with someone twice my age who is trying to understand what it’s like to date. My generation isn’t doing it wrong, we’re just doing it differently. 1980 and earlier, you had your thrills: tube TV’s, classic arcade games, drive in’s. Us twenty-something’s were given the gift of internet and we ran with it. The truth is, I don’t know if I’d want to do this any other way. The world wild web is a plethora of accessibility and it has transformed the dating game forever.

The rules have changed. Courtship is an anomaly. First dates are interviews, and people are filthy liars. But that’s ok, because this is it…this is now. Dating is quick and it’s simultaneous. We either lure and secure or seduce and then lose. Meeting your partner is not as stiff and prudish anymore. Today, fate won’t find your partner for you, match.com will. As I untangle the literal and figurative web I find my dating  approach to be exponentially different than my parents and I have over a quarter of a century of change to thank for the following:

Flowers are for sorry’s. It took women a long time to realize that floral gifts are just gestures of habit. Decades upon decades of apologies, anniversaries and flirtation ruined by the annoyance of their very meaning. Flowers are presumptuous. They are thought to turn a frown upside down, make you forget about the lack of creativity that went into their purchase, and even sometimes aim to guilt you into a false sense of intimacy.  Roses are a go-to and I want your unlike-any-other. Impress me by NOT continuing this stupid cycle of giving me something that will inevitably die on my counter top before our next date.

Kiss me today, or not at all. My dad isn’t sitting on the porch with his shot gun. Mom’s in the kitchen hoping you go in for the kill. Being self assured about your passion for a physical connection is the biggest difference between me going on date two or blocking your number before bed. With as many options as we have these days it’s going to come down to compatibility and interest. Interest in possibly kissing them again is an indication that it’s appropriate to do so without a time frame. Meaning the first date is as good as any, because there will be more. And you’re not any ‘easier’ for wanting to start the beginning of something good sooner rather than later.

Pre-date fate. Your first date is not technically your first date, it’s your first meet.  Meaning, nobody is required to fit into societal roles. So, when the check comes, if he doesn’t foresee a future with the woman who blatantly lied all over her profile page to score a free meal, he should be able to decline paying for her free of judgment. Prior to the internet, two people met in person. They both knew exactly who was showing up for the date they scheduled. There is usually an interest already formed, and thus courtship begins. That is not the case with today’s ‘first dates’ and it places a lot of stress on men to ride the line between what society thinks they should do and how they truly feel. Your first date in the online world is an interview for your real first date. That’s when the romance begins and any expectations outside of that are just holding on to yesterday’s rules in today’s times.

Women, woo your men. We run businesses, we own businesses, we vote. So why is it still so odd to see a woman make the first move? This is the age of female empowerment and it’s ok to know what you want and seek it out whole heartedly. It’s almost pathetic to see girls these days hide behind their thought process that a man has to approach her for any sort of courtship to ensue. Tell him he’s handsome, share with him your interests, ask him on a date. Although there may be a time that he makes the money while you make the babies, the two of you will most likely share responsibilities as you create a life together. Why make it his job to entertain you from the start? All that says is that you’re weak and incapable and if there’s anything us woman are these days it’s capable.

Browsing the Interwebs. You’re allowed to date more than one person, dating is dating because it’s not a relationship. It’s the opportunity to find exactly what you’re looking for by not settling like your parents thought they had to do. Options are plentiful, and it’s easy to walk away when something doesn’t feel right. Exercise this often, until divorce isn’t an option because you’ve narrowed it down to the one person you can ultimately tolerate for the rest of your life. Back in the day they didn’t have these options. There weren’t mixers, or dating apps, or match making. There was a guy at your local ice cream parlor with enough skeletons in his closet to make you absolutely mad down the line. Thank god for public court records and credit reports. No deadbeats slip through our generation’s google cracks.

It’s funny how we keep the same social values through a century of dating, as if they mean the same thing from one generation to the next. They don’t. What’s important to us now won’t be important to anybody my children’s children’s children date. We are an entirely different crop of humans as technology advances. People are more worldly and picky, because they can be. We are capable of far more connections with limitless possibilities and It’s only bringing us closer to finding soul-mates for life.

 

 

 

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