Dear Dating in 2016,
You’re the worst.
Oh, but I’m not done. You see I’m what “they” call a millennial, but NOT the same kind of millennial as that youngest Kardashian who has had so much plastic surgery she looks like Cruella De Vil…that’s a 101 Dalmatians reference for you young ones reading this.
I digress. So I graduated in 2005, I’ve been in the workforce for 10 years, I have a child (cutest five-year-old you’ve ever met), I own a home and a car, have a 401k, oh and did I mention I’m divorced. Yeah, there’s that too.
So rewind 10 years ago when I was leaving the comforts of college life (never do it) and ventured for the West coast to seek love and adventure. It was a time of freedom, fun and MySpace, yup MySpace. (Where are you Tom?) Social media was just beginning to form and Nokia phones with interchangeable color buttons were a thing. It was a beautiful time. People drove without texting, they used their phones as phones, conversations in grocery stores were shared, if something funny happened and you missed it, you missed it. It was real life.
And dating was real. So I’ll confess, dating in my twenties was cut short due to that time I got married and played house in Mississippi, but from what I remember, dating was far, far from what I’m now experiencing in my thirties. Here are some observations, clarifications, ramifications for your entertainment and education.
Texting can be great for those instances where I screen my mom’s call and can respond to her forty questions with a simple text, but by no means is texting the way to get to know someone.
I’m guilty for sure of only texting with a guy from the beginning stage of “getting to know him”, but guess what? It only goes so far. Talk. On the phone. Old school like the days when you had call waiting and feared your mom would pick up the landline from the kitchen. Use your phone as a phone. Just try it. I dare you.
And then maybe meet in person and make eye-contact while you’re talking…the horror I know. But from this side of divorce, trust me, communication is key sure, but what is more is the tone and body language that goes along with those words.
These things did not exist ten years ago and I wish they didn’t exist now. It is harder to meet someone new as you get um older, but in my experience you will not swipe right on your husband using a dating app and here is some dating app lingo to help you understand.
Ghosting – When a dude you’ve been talking a.k.a. texting with for a good few weeks or so and then poof he disappears, never to be heard from again.
Unicorn – the dude does not exist. His profile is fake and you can keep dreaming.
Thirsty – when he’s texting all the time and before you know it you’re taking care of his dog and you don’t even like the guy.
All or nothing – Things are great for two weeks. You’re really feeling this guy and going there in your head…oh you know what I’m talking about, matching your first name with his last name, what it would be like to go on a trip together. That dumbshit. Stop. Just stop because the two-week timer will go off and it will be over. Bye, Felicia.
You know what exactly those are. They have you sitting on the edge of your couch or walking around starring at your phone waiting for him to respond only to watch those devil dots disappear and you walk into a wall. I really want to know what the developer at Apple was thinking when he built those into the iMessanger. Like, oh I’ll create thought bubbles this will be great. Only no, you actually created a new language: the no response-response. He was going to say something, but now he’s gone forever and the hypothetical mental game ensues. F me.
Speaking of Mental Games
So guess what? Those … mean he has his phone on him 105% of the time just like you. And he hasn’t texted you in a day. Chill the F out. And please for the love of French fries, don’t play the “I’m gonna wait 15 minutes to reply” game. I don’t know here’s an idea. Call him and blow his mind. What is the worst that could happen…he doesn’t text you? Oh wait, that’s already happening.
Not the fruit, but the act of going on dates with multiple people. It’s called dating until it’s not and it’s called a relationship. So go on dates with more than one dude so you don’t fall into the dicksand and someone is there to help you out. If you have multiple guys on the bench your chances of winning go up. You can’t win the lottery without playing. Same goes with dating. Don’t just put all your balls in one basket…uhhh whatever you know what I mean. You’re a free agent and you don’t have to sign with the first team that makes an offer. Then you’re not fixated on that one team who ultimately will trade you for an early pick and top defensive end.
This is for you. Don’t be dicks. Be honest and up front.
If you’re not in a spot where you can’t give much to dating, but looking for some fun. Great.
If you’re someone who is looking for a NSA (no-strings attached) contract let her know. Awesome.
If you’re a sociopath who is bored. Not great. Go get help.
But in all seriousness, and for the love of cold beer and frosted mugs, don’t lead a girl on. Don’t introduce her to your friends if you have zero intentions of ever dating her after two weeks (remember that timer). Don’t talk about emotions unless you mean them. Don’t respond with “thank you” if she shares her emotions. Grow a pair and be a man.
And back to texting. Dudes have it so much easier now because they didn’t like to talk on the phone to begin with, and now they can carry on full conversations in the form of text novels. Just pick up the phone OR better yet meet in person and talk it about it. I know crazy right?
Guys, don’t lead girls on.
Girls, don’t get led into the dicksand.
Guys, call girls.
Guys, don’t text her all the time if you’re really not that into her.
Girls, don’t get pulled into the texting game if you don’t have the head game strength.
Guys, don’t just ghost on a girl. Don’t be a Jay-Z. Be honest.
Girls, be honest with yourself. Do you really like the guy? Or do you like the attention?
Guys, if she doesn’t text you back it doesn’t mean she’s not into you, she has a life.
Girls, if he’s not texting you don’t automatically think he’s not into you anymore. He might be legit busy. You’ve only gone one two dates. You’re not married therefore he doesn’t have to text you everyday.
Guys, don’t heart her pics on social media if you haven’t talked to her in weeks.
Girls, don’t post pics on Snapchat only to see if he’ll view them.
Guys & Girls, swipe right on getting to know yourself.
So yeah, this dating thing can be the worst and fun-ish, but what I’m learning is if I’m not down to date myself then I’m not ready to go on the field. Practice what makes you happy, content and confident.
Stop playing mind games.
Stop swinging and missing because your discernment is off.
Go back to the basics of what makes you, you and play that game—take up a new hobby, read a book, go on a run, start a new class, call your mom back.
Life is full of wins and loses. Dating is full of even more. But you got this. Go out there and play by your rules and standards. Don’t go back to JV ball where you fall into the dicksand the minute the guy tells you you’re gorgeous. Be a pro at doing you—being you. And one day you’ll find your forever teammate.
Stay tuned for more dating conundrums…