Over the past few years, the dating scene has seen a major shift. Somewhere between the absence of chivalry and the surge of feminism, trust has been lost.
Old rules have been sent out the window and it has ultimately changed the way we interact with and approach one another.
Mingling while single in today’s society has been shaped by a multitude of factors and series of movements that have made a minefield out of what was once an amicable space where men and women could have respectful encounters.
It’s no longer about being “out there” or “playing the field," now it’s about showing someone he or she can trust you enough to provide the simple respect he or she deserves — the same respect we are all supposed to give each other.
That lack of respect has led both genders into a Cold War of sorts. Rejection is no longer the leading cause of hesitancy when a man approaches a woman; it’s the mere public perception.
Today, walking up and showing interest in a woman is a crime worthy of scorn, distain and scowls. I've seen girls actually complain about being approached and asked out.
I've overheard them complain about guys asking for their numbers, and I've seen, firsthand, the attitudes of women toward men who dare try and speak to someone they find cute.
Women no longer feel respected enough to entertain being looked at or spoken to anyway, and it's for good reason.
Many feel that an offer to dinner is not worth the three-course meal of smalltalk and the uncomfortable stares that come with it.
Men are no longer worth the time of day because we haven't provided anything deserving of it. As a result, a stalemate exists.
The question is: How did we get here? And, more importantly, how can it end?
One of the major factors that has made romantic curiosity toward strangers less appropriate is the increased prevalence of virtual dating.
Having the power to ignore any and everyone in the palm of your hands or at the click of a button has almost eliminated the need for face-to-face encounters.
From the slippery slope that is "sliding in the DMs” (which we have seen can get you married on Twitter), to wandering the sketchy and unpredictable streets of Tinder, the trend of just going up and asking for someone’s name and number is simply going out of style.
But even more so than a trend, some people just find it easier. More than a third of new marriages started online in 2013, and that number is likely only increasing.
Creating another avenue for romantic connection is great, but people talking less to each other in person is not. I do not want to see the future of dating hanging in the balance of an online impression; I feel it makes us miss out on so much more.
Along with the rise of online dating, the discussion of rape culture in America is another factor that has broken the trust women have with men they don’t know.
Late last year, a catcalling (or “verbal street harassment”) video was released in order to raise awareness to help end street harassment.
The video showed a woman being called several inappropriate names as well as receiving a series of whistles while walking around in the New York City.
The video shows firsthand the state we are in, and it makes sense why women are apprehensive to men approaching them in public.
But the numerous amount of men who behave in such a disrespectful manners — as shown in that video — don't represent the numerous amount of men, like me, who don't participate in or condone that kind of disrespect at all.
It’s a cycle that has translated poorly for both men and women. To adjust, women walk in public with tunnel vision in hopes of making it to where they need to be without being subjected to some guy’s imagination, often factoring out the potential of the real connections.
The nature of today’s world unfortunately makes random spurts of spontaneous interactions unrealistic, but that doesn’t mean it has to stay this way.
If we all worked harder to respect each other by being genuine with our intentions and honest with our approaches, then fairytale endings inscribed with exciting “Where did you guys meet?” stories could become more possible.
That’s what I’m hoping for.