Is it just me, or has dating gotten way too f*cking awkward?
I mean, meeting someone you barely know in a romantic setting is always a little awkward, but I feel like the older I get and the more time passes, the more awkward dating gets.
You’d think that with experience, dating would get easier. But that isn’t the case, is it? And I know it’s not me who’s awkward, either. So I took some time to figure out why I feel dating is only getting more difficult as time goes on.
The truth is we “date” more often, but the dating we do isn’t really dating. It certainly isn’t what it used to be. Because as the world we live in becomes faster, more efficient and more technologically advanced, dating has taken a turn for the worse and has gotten far more awkward.
1. Cell phones.
Cell phones are entirely defeating the purpose of dating. You’re presumably going out with this person to enjoy, get to know, connect and spend time with him or her. But instead, you spend most of the night with your nose glued to your screen.
We have phone calls, texts, tweets, status updates, tags, check-ins and selfies. Not to mention the food photo session that has to happen every time you sit down to eat.
Some people are better at keeping their phones away during dates than others, but for every 30 seconds you’re on that phone, there are 30 seconds of awkwardness you’re making the other person feel.
Have you ever stopped for a second to think about how ludicrous Tinder and all those other swipe-dating sites out there actually are?
Forget about personality. You're supposed to decide, by looking only at a couple of photos and some generic information, whether or not you are interested in someone.
We’ve gone from courting people to window-shopping for our partner.
Plus, you can never really tell whether the person on the other side is looking just to hook up or to actually be in a relationship. Which, of course, makes going out on that first date even more awkward.
3. The concept of going “out for drinks.”
I get that booze helps cut through the tension a bit, but the concept of going out for drinks as an appropriate date setting already has a lot wrong with it.
If it’s with someone you’ve been going out with for months and already feel comfortable with, then fine. Go “out for drinks,” and then go home and get frisky -- because that's the point of going out for drinks.
If anyone tells you that going “out for drinks” has any purpose other than to ease into coitus, he or she is lying to you.
So what ends up happening is you either have two people just wanting to get laid, going through the motions of dating so that they feel better about themselves for sleeping with a stranger (which still allows for plenty of awkwardness), or you have one person oblivious to the fact that the other has had a hard-on since you first both swiped right.
Which, again, makes things very awkward.
And “chill.” Damn you, Netflix, for bringing the movie theater into our living rooms (or, rather, our bedrooms, since watching on our laptops is “more comfortable" -- or so goes the excuse).
In movie theaters, we used to have to sit all the way up at the top to stop people from seeing us make moves and (hopefully) get to second base. Now, well, now we avoid that awkwardness and excitement altogether and substitute it with a more comfortable awkwardness.
We now only feel anxious about whether or not the person we're trying to hook up with knows what “Netflix and Chill” actually means. Boy, would it be awkward if that person didn't.
5. Social media.
Dating used to involve two individuals who were sharing something that the rest of the world would never have access to, and it was special because the moments were private.
But the fact that everything needs to be tweeted, updated, shared and put under the scrutiny of the rest of the world means that private moments are no longer private.
These days, your business is everyone else’s business. And you interrupt dates by removing yourself from the little bubble where only the two of you exist, from a moment that could be beautiful, just to post something on social media.
And for what? So everyone else can know how much fun you could be having if you weren’t too busy trying to prove to the world that you’re having fun?
6. Our superficiality.
The world we live in today is incredibly superficial, more so than it has ever been before. But that's only because more people can now afford to be superficial than ever before.
Trying to prove to yourself that you’re better than everyone else by whatever means necessary may not be a part of human nature, but it certainly is a part of human culture. And has been for centuries.
Most of the world does what they do, wears what they wear and pursues what and whom they pursue because they believe it will increase their value in the eyes of their neighbors.
People don’t so much care about finding the right person, about finding someone who they can happily spend their lives with, but rather about finding someone who would fool the rest of the world into thinking they are living happy, wealthy and exciting lives.
Most people don’t care what the reality is as long as they can fool everyone else into believing they’re better people than they actually are.
This list all points back to you. You are the culprit. You are the reason that dating is way too f*cking awkward these days.
It’s you who refuses to log out of all those social media accounts and put down the phone.
It’s you who decides to date the guy or girl who takes good Instagram pictures and is clearly good with Photoshop instead of the guy or girl in the supermarket who you’re too shy to speak to in person but who may actually be the love of your life.
It’s you who decides you need to go out for drinks, just as it’s you who decides that instead of exploring life you’re going to sit home, put on Netflix and chill.
It’s you who dates for the wrong reasons, just as it’s you who allows yourself to continue on the path you’re already on.
There are a million variables you could point your finger at, but at the end of the day, it’s you who’s making dating so awkward.
Sure, the rest of the dating world is also to blame. But so are you.