Are 20-Somethings Living in a ‘Post-Dating’ Society?

The content here ranges from “objectively accurate,” to “intriguing,” to “ah, well this is why no one wants to date you.” But overall, it's one of those things that merits continuous discussion. Bros are, after all, half the equation:

MAYBE it was because they had met on OkCupid. But when the dark-eyed musician with artfully disheveled hair asked Shani Silver, a social media and blog manager in Philadelphia, out on a “date” Friday night, she was expecting at least a drink, one on one.

A sentence in, and already our first buzzword! (Buzzwords will include OKCupid, Lena Dunham, instagram, millennials, and any creative method of recession-based labeling).

More importantly though, we have a nice insertion of what I like to call the “Adam Driver Syndrome”–named after the main boy character in Buzzword #2's television show, the Adam Driver syndrome occurs when a girl likes a guy not because he's an actual guy, but because he's more of a projection of someone who barely exists in real life–thus creating a fundamental miscommunication between both parties, that can really only result in a guy being completely unaware of the unrealistic expectations that have been set for him. This then, will prompt the girl to grow tired of the guy's failure to reach his “true (contrived) potential,” inevitably resulting in a series of emotionally exhausting on-and-off breakup arguments.

Point here, is “dark-eyed musician with artfully disheveled hair” is never going to fulfill your expectations. He's a paradigm of what-if, and a microcosm of an attractive ideal–if we really want to go in for the kill, we can even classify him as the oh-so elusive “beautiful disaster.”

“Dating culture has evolved to a cycle of text messages, each one requiring the code-breaking skills of a cold war spy to interpret.”

Highly valid. The most annoying part of this has got to be the crowdsourcing that comes into play–a guy or girl can't really respond nowadays without consulting his or her text-crafting posse.  

Hookups may be fine for college students, but what about after, when they start to build an adult life? The problem is that “young people today don’t know how to get out of hookup culture,” Ms. Freitas said. In interviews with students, many graduating seniors did not know the first thing about the basic mechanics of a traditional date. “They’re wondering, ‘If you like someone, how would you walk up to them? What would you say? What words would you use?’ ” Ms. Freitas said.

Somewhat true, but isn't this sort of like any other adjustment? Being a freshman in high school offered its trials and tribulations, as did going to college–despite everyone with their giddy overdone “College is sooo sick” smugness, deep down we all know that first semester wasn't exactly a cake-walk. Freshman floor insecurity and second guessmanship is a stench as foul as any. Adjustments are a part of life. Failure to adjust really just means you're shitty at Social Darwinsim.

After an evening when she exchanged flirtatious glances with a bouncer at a Williamsburg nightclub, the bouncer invited her and her friends back to his apartment for whiskey and boxed macaroni and cheese. When she agreed, he gamely hoisted her over his shoulders, and, she recalled, “carried me home, my girlfriends and his bros in tow, where we danced around a tiny apartment to some MGMT and Ratatat remixes.”

The only thing that could possibly be more hip than these zeitgeist revolutionaries would be to remix that entire paragraph. 

Traditional courtship — picking up the telephone and asking someone on a date — required courage, strategic planning and a considerable investment of ego (by telephone, rejection stings). Not so with texting, e-mail, Twitter or other forms of “asynchronous communication,” as techies call it. In the context of dating, it removes much of the need for charm; it’s more like dropping a line in the water and hoping for a nibble.

Yes, but no. It also creates very easy opportunities for people to be perceived as awesome for very little work. Really like a girl? Call her. You don't even have to say anything. The fact that your voice is a thing is essentially game over. 

“I’ve seen men put more effort into finding a movie to watch on Netflix Instant than composing a coherent message to ask a woman out,”

Yes, but keep in mind that The West Wing is a lot more interesting than you will ever be. 

Online dating services, which have gained mainstream acceptance, reinforce the hyper-casual approach by greatly expanding the number of potential dates. Faced with a never-ending stream of singles to choose from, many feel a sense of “FOMO” (fear of missing out), so they opt for a speed-dating approach — cycle through lots of suitors quickly.

FOMO! Score another for team buzzword.

Dodgy economic prospects facing millennials also help torpedo the old, formal dating rituals. Faced with a lingering recession, a stagnant job market, and mountains of student debt, many young people — particularly victims of the “mancession” — simply cannot afford to invest a fancy dinner or show in someone they may or may not click with. 

I am assuming that “Mancession” is the next band championed by the boxed macroni remix gang. That, or I'm just utilizing self-defensive snark (+1 for relevant catch-phrasing) to avoid addressing the unfortunate reality that this is tremendously true.

Also, if you combine the wallet realities with the amount of work a fancy dinner requires (i.e., having to trick someone into thinking that you're smart, cool, nice, and actually care about what they're saying for at least three hours, without them having to offer you sex in return due to the fact that you're nice, smart, caring, “a good guy” etc…) is a tremendously unappealing prospect indeed. 

Many young men these days have no experience in formal dating and feel the need to be faintly ironic about the process — “to ‘date’ in quotation marks” — because they are “worried that they might offend women by dating in an old-fashioned way,” Ms. Rosin said.

“It’s hard to read a woman exactly right these days,” she added. “You don’t know whether, say, choosing the wine without asking her opinion will meet her yearnings for old-fashioned romance or strike her as boorish and macho.” 

If there's ever been one constant, it's that being hesitant and insecure has always been attractive. 

Even in an era of ingrained ambivalence about gender roles, however, some women keep the old dating traditions alive by refusing to accept anything less.

Cheryl Yeoh, a tech entrepreneur in San Francisco, said that she has been on many formal dates of late — plays, fancy restaurants. One suitor even presented her with red roses. For her, the old traditions are alive simply because she refuses to put up with anything less. She generally refuses to go on any date that is not set up a week in advance, involving a degree of forethought.

Gotta love the realistic approach here. Truly innovative, and definitely has nothing to do with hordes of girls complaining about “how they can't find a decent guy.” 

Was there a point to all this? Probably not. But whether you're one of those girls who practices the “eye-catch look away” on the dancefloor you'd rather not be on, or the guy that prefers posting up on the wall rather than putting himself out there, just remember that the other side is just as clueless as you are. 


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