One Good Date Is All We Need To Forget About The Stupid Hook-Up Culture

by Candice Jalili

I was satisfied with my love life. Sure, it wasn’t quite "The Notebook," but it wasn’t awful, either. I was juggling several hot, young men, and nobody was grabbing my heart and slashing it into a million pieces. I felt like I was doing something right.

It wasn’t until I went on a real, bonafide date -- with a real, bonafide nice guy -- that I realized something: The reasons I had for being okay with the hookup culture were also reasons for why it actually f*cking BLOWS.

I was juggling a few men because none of them stood out, and nobody was slashing my heart because no one was grabbing it at all.

I'll be clear: I wasn’t crazy about Date Guy. We dated for a couple of months, and things fizzled out after that.

But on that first date, he did something fantastic for me, and I'm forever grateful -- he raised my bar for romantic expectations.

All it took was one nice date to convince me that the culture I had blindly accepted just wasn’t good enough for my standards.

All it takes is one sober conversation to make you laugh at all your drunken heart-to-hearts.

Six tequila shots had you convinced that it would be a good idea to tell this virtual stranger all about your cheating ex. That’s all fine and good -- until you muster up the courage to soberly open up to someone you actually like.

Suddenly you see all of those “heart-to-hearts” for what they really were: drunk overshares.

All it takes is one good movie date to make you say no to Netflix and chill.

Inviting you to "Netflix and chill" is NOT a date. But a true date is hard to come by these days, so we take what we can get and hope for the best.

That is, until a guy actually invites you to a movie outside of his own bedroom -- and he innocently holds your hand instead of not-so-slightly pushing your head toward his scrotum.

All it takes is one goodnight kiss to get you over all the mediocre lays.

People don’t kiss goodnight anymore. They f*ck. And, more often than not, the f*cking is honestly pretty terrible. This doesn’t stop you from feeling hurt when this virtual stranger with below-average bedroom skills forgets to call you the next day.

That is, until you meet someone who isn't in a rush and is okay with a kiss. This guy knows he'll have what he wants eventually; he’s just not in a rush to start and end your love story all in one night.

All it takes is one small moment of optimism to make you doubt your cynicism.

He doesn’t even have to be The One. He just has to be a little bit better than all of the other ones.

This date gives you a spark of hope for more similar outings in the future -- whether with him or someone else. You start to believe romance might not be dead.

All it takes is one good feeling to make you realize how numb you were.

The hookup culture is all about quantity over quality. Yeah, we’re all talking to a million people at the same time, and we're hooking up left and right. But do we actually feel anything for them? It’s almost like we're forgetting our feelings.

A few good old-fashioned butterflies are all you need to forget the guys who didn't make you feel anything. 

All it takes is one "good morning" text to make you ignore the 2 am "u up?" text.

We're drowning in a sea of guys trying to finish their nights inside of us. The only lifeline we need is a guy who suggests a sober date in the sun.

All it takes is one romantic stroll to put an end to the walks of shame.

The walk of shame has become an art. Send your besties some “save me” Snapchats in a random guy’s bed, slip him a nice note while he’s still asleep, and proudly walk home looking like a hooker. This isn't ideal, but you're fine with it.

That is... until now, when you meet the guy who insists he accompany you home. Suddenly you remember your hands are worth holding and your company is worth keeping.

All it takes is one second date to make you rethink settling for second best.

While a first date is often inspired by nothing more than physical attraction, a second date requires something more.

By the second date, the guy has a sense of who you are. He's looking beyond appearances and likes what he sees. Getting to know your fabulous self is a priority for him, and he's willing to set time aside to do it.

You find yourself thinking about the guys who didn't make this a priority. You're thinking about the ones who couldn't remember your name, let alone your passion for Mafia movies and your knack for polishing silver. Now you know you deserve so much better.

All it takes is one good meal to soak up the drinks you used to order.

"Getting drinks" is nothing more than a glorified, drunken rendezvous. A drink often disguises itself as a date, and we emerge disappointed every time. Getting inappropriately drunk with a virtual stranger is just NOT a date.

Drinks can be appropriately described as gold-plated sh*t. But a real dinner date is pure gold. Dinner means commitment. This guy is willing to set aside an hour or more to soberly chat with you and get to know you better. He genuinely wants to give this a fair shot.

All it takes is one best friend to release you from your friends with benefits.

Here’s the thing about friends with benefits: They never end up working out. Why not? One person is always more invested than the other, which turns into inevitable heartbreak.

Something magic happens when you go on a date and think, “Man, I feel like this guy has been my best friend for years.” Suddenly all of your friends with benefits pale in comparison.

You are both on this date -- you guys are both interested. There is no pretense to be "casual." That would confuse the sh*t out of you because there is nothing casual about this. You, my friend, just found love.

All it takes is one nice guy to make you see who the "nice" guys really were.

We're surrounded by mega-douches who play the “nice guy” card in order to sleep with you and never speak to you again. The worst part is we fall for it.

That stops when we spend time with an actually nice guy. You know, the kind who doesn't feel the need to call himself a "nice guy." Suddenly all the mega-douches are revealed for who they really are.