Our society has become so used to prepackaged meats waiting readily in the deli case that we’ve lost all hunger for the hunt. If most of us had to hunt for prey in order to quell our appetites, we’d probably starve first. This same privileged apathy applies to dating. The use of dating apps has made random hookups so readily available that the chase -taking the time to really get to know someone while building anticipation for that first satisfying taste of intimacy- has become nearly extinct.
I’ll admit, I’ve never used an app or online dating site, because I still believe in fate or a blind-date introduction from friends who really know and want what’s best for me. I’ve also had the pleasure of experiencing more than my share of creepy strangers online by virtue of my work in media so you couldn’t blame me for being a little gun-shy.
I have, however, observed my friends swiping left and right, hooking up with random chicks every night while complaining to me about how lonely they are. I’ve listened to my girlfriends complain about how the guy just wanted sex and wasn’t interested in anything else. Of course they ended up hooking up, but gee, that was ALL he wanted.
There is a rush to make sex happen as fast as possible with the least amount of effort put in. It must be working, because just about every guy I’ve met in the last few years has been under the assumption that I’d like to drop everything I’m doing pronto to drive over to his house and “chill”. Applying the pressure even after a firm no. Now, I love the point in a relationship when you can just sit on the couch enjoying each other’s company, but I don’t want to do that with a complete stranger, especially not one who’s groping at me all night!
In the rush to push for sex fast, we’re missing out on what we all really crave; intimacy.
That cozy-up on the couch feeling comes once you know that a person chooses you no matter what; they know your story, your faults, your fears, maybe even your family! And yet they still want to be right there on the sofa, sharing oxygen with you. Having experiences together to build this rapport takes time. We all want to feel seen, understood, and supported. I get it, though, if you just want to get to the wham-bam-thank-you-mam’n then go for it! Just be decent and up front about that fact first- and don’t be mad if you don’t get a text back.
Call me old fashioned but I really enjoy the nervous butterflies of a new thing, awkward phone conversations included. Will we have a satisfying tête-à-tête or just long pauses as we struggle to find something in common? Maybe they call at 2pm and I find out they’re a heavy day-drinker still recovering from the night before, who knows! But I won’t learn that from an app or an instant hookup.
Texting in the beginning of a relationship during the getting-to-know-you phase should be off limits, save for confirming dates with time/directions, etc. It’s nearly impossible to set that boundary and, I imagine, especially when you’ve met online. Heck, I have had several guys continue text-bombing me even after I explained this was not my preferred way of conversation, turning every text into a sex joke only to then text a paragraph explaining why I must have misunderstood them or taken it the wrong way. No, it’s not my first unsolicited dick joke; it’s the texting, stupid! There’s one “hot millionaire” who can’t fathom why I won’t talk to him anymore. My dog had just died and he was like, “Oh that’s so sad, want me to come over? I have something that will make you feel better *winky face*” Insta-block.
Unless they’re blatantly a jerk, you can’t really get a sense of a person you barely know when texting back and forth. Maybe you have witty banter but are you really getting to know them? That person may be a clever writer but in person they’re dull and distracted. There’s the risk of creating a great person in your mind because you’re reading more into the texts than the person has to offer and you won’t realize they’re actually not very smart or funny until you’ve spent time together in the real world (guilty!). With no personal history you won’t pick up on tone, sense of humor, eye rolls (looking at you, sex joke guy), it’s a set up for all kinds of miscommunication.
Texting gives way more access then should be granted when meeting someone new and then add to that the expectation for an immediate response, or a risque photo. Once I didn’t respond to a text sent late at night, so the guy ASSumed our date the next day was off. He never called to confirm or anything, just told me later that he assumed I didn’t like him anymore –because I didn’t respond to a stupid text he sent that wasn’t even in the form of a question. I get it, we live in an age of ghosting, but talk about projection, what a wimp!
Respect that a real woman will be busy with her own life, she’s not just waiting around for a guy she just met to text her at 8:00 at night (or any worse time later) for the “come over” text. Instant turn off. Set a date with her in advance. This lets her know that she is important enough to block time in your schedule, that you respect she has other things going on and you want to make sure you fit into HER schedule, and that you both will be thinking about each other all week til the big day. Don’t bombard her with texts before then. You’re just giving her a chance to lose interest, honestly. Save all your flirty questions for the date or give her a call for a get-to-know-you chat but keep things light and not sexual. Save the dirty jokes for your actual friends if you really must.
Women love for someone to find them interesting enough to talk to about things other then sex and ironically good conversation will build sexual tension. But for heaven’s sake, stop with all the texting. Using texts as an all-access pass right away leaves nothing to discover down the road.
There is no time to create sexual tension when you expect instant gratification.
As far as getting back to the good ol’ days of dating, I’m not saying you need to go the expensive route, although what girl doesn’t love dressing up for a nice dinner. I don’t mean a dinner at YOUR HOUSE, either. Sure, I’d love for a man to cook for me eventually, but I just met you. I don’t know you. You could be a serial killer trying to get handsy from the confines of your own couch. How convenient.
I’d rather do something casually interesting and in public for a first date, like walking on the beach or around the museum grounds for free (insert your own interests here) while we get to know each other and save the dinner date for the “WOW! You clean up nice” chemistry. Plus, it’s easier to abstain from alcohol during a daytime date and avoid the late-night innuendo. Now you’ve gotten to know each other a little bit and can confirm if this is a person you want to make further effort for and vice versa. Maybe you’ll find out that she’s bipolar or he has a drug problem or an STD, frequents swinger parties, or secretly wants to marry his sex doll…all sorts of things that most people keep hidden at first, but things you learn with time, if only you’d take the time.
I get it, a lot of dates end up being duds. There is a big complaint among men that dating women just isn’t worth the effort. I have met some of these women, I’d agree you should avoid them at all costs. And the good Lord knows after meeting so many ding dongs I’m almost happy to Netflix & Chill with my dog forever.
But in the interest of swinging this solitary ship around before it sinks into the abyss, I’m calling on eligible men to get back to their hunter roots, ditch the easy-access apps, and start enjoying the game again. Likewise, interested women need to know that men enjoy playing games, so don’t let him win so easily. I’m not talking about playing games, that’s a sign of immaturity and that you’re not ready to hold somebody’s heart in your hands. In these days of forced gender neutrality, or neutering, maybe men forget that they really do enjoy a challenge, whether it be basketball, golf, gambling, gaming, and yes, dating.
Believe me, there are good women out there waiting for the right guy to give chase. As long as it’s established she’s actually interested, let her play a little hard to get. Enjoy the suspense instead of swiping onto the next instantly gratifying let-down. She’ll be satisfied knowing he found her irresistible enough to make a winning effort for her affections, and he’ll be much happier knowing he scored a woman who challenged him to a good game.
At the very least I’m linking this to the next guy who invites me over via text.