We live in the always-on century. We're always "shopping" in some way or another. Beyond that, we're dating how we once shopped, and we're shopping how we once dated — so it should come as no surprise that two have begun to overlap.
As our everyday social interactions diminish to flurry of group chats and emoji, our approaches to finding love and making purchase decisions are naturally evolving and intersecting.
Much like the last pick-up line you heard, your accepted definition of shopping is probably a little rusty. Shopping isn't buying; it is the discovery process that aids you in making a purchase decision, regardless of whether or not you buy anything.
It involves searching, weighing the options and trying things on for fit, comfort, style and size.
Like a chef cooking from a recipe and adding his or her own flair, shopping is the process you must follow to help you distinguish what you like from what you don't, and by reflecting your tastes, shopping helps to reveal your true personality.
Dating is shopping's not-so-distant cousin; it involves searching, weighing the options and trying things on for fit, comfort, style and size. More than Pinterest or Twitter, dating is essentially "social shopping" in the rawest form of the buzzword.
It helps you discover what you do like socially, what you don't like socially and learn new things about who you are as a social being.
Dating is to loving what shopping is to buying, and the New York dating scene is like the retailer with the best quality material. It makes you jump through what seems like rings of fire just to make it through checkout.
You may say, "I love New York," but your actions say "I shop New York," and these are the ways you do it:
1. You Have Endless Options, But Still Can't Find What You Want
In both shopping and dating, you have, very literally, thousands of options, but oftentimes, you still struggle to find something in the ballpark of what you actually want.
You doubt yourself, take a different route and change up your approach more times in a month than your suburbanized married friends can fathom.
Finally, you settle down with some of the characteristics you like, but not always with the best quality or value. After all, with such a limitless selection from which to choose, you could search forever. So, you might as well try one, and if it doesn't work out, you can always try again.
2. After A Few Years, You Can Spot A Fake A Mile Away
After enough experiences, enough stores and enough dates, you learn to spot the counterfeit from the authentic and the lies from the sincerity.
Your radar for spotting fakes is quickly brought up to speed if you frequent Canal Street, Times Square or pretty much any club where buying $500+ bottle service is a requirement for men to get past the bouncer.
It may take a seasoned matchmaker or someone who has endured the New York dating scene to sniff out the nonsense and rip-offs as quickly as you can.
3. Location Is A Deal Breaker
High shipping fees — thank you, out-of-state sellers — dampen your mood as much as discovering that he lives in a different borough. Distance holds ridiculous sway over your decisions, and you proceed with caution.
4. You Try To Keep It Out Of The Office
Even if you're tempted, you don't bring your personal life into the office. We've all been there, when that banner ad with "50 Percent Off" flashes those big baby blues at you, just begging you to tap it.
But, you have restraint, so you hold back. You know the sites are probably banned anyway, and even when tempted, you don't do it at work.
5. You Have A Love-Hate Relationship With Finance
On one hand, having that extra $5,000 credit limit was better than any Christmas present you ever received. On the other, the interest fees are killing you. Okay, resolve: It's time to avoid interactions with bankers, banks and the entire financially focused scene for a while.
By the same token, when you date a finance guy, you'll have to take the subway a lot less often and will learn Excel tricks you never knew possible. You're also exhausted from endless conversations about money and the markets.
Frat parties look like Bible study compared to his nights out with the guys, and after a few weeks, you start to wonder if he likes how you look with him more than he actually likes you.
6. You've Done It After One Too Many Drinks
You're guilty of shopping under the influence; you admit it. It's not even fair how they send out those promotional emails post-happy hour. Plus, looking back, you didn't even like it that much.
You know you would never have done it had you been sober. You're a little embarrassed, but it's nothing you can't financially handle. Per dating, this one's self-explanatory.
7. You Seesaw Between The Online And In-Person Route
At first, you were wary of doing it online. Then, a friend convinced you. Suddenly, you got hooked, but eventually, you'll get something you didn't think you ordered. Immediately, you are deterred, borderline hurt and temporarily over it.
You figure that you're in a city that never sleeps; you can get anything you want whenever you want it and don't need to order it online. You'll just walk.
Predictably, however, the local venue doesn't serve up exactly want you're looking for, so you give in and go back to online searching. It's okay; no one's judging.
8. You're Always Looking to Upgrade
The grass is always greener, and when living in a metropolitan area or shopping online, everywhere you look, you see that which appears to be perfect: the best, brightest and most attractive.
This means your time of contentment with what you currently have or have recently acquired tends to be short-lived. Inevitably, the time comes for you to have to have that newer version.
So, you decide it's time to part ways and venture down the path of getting a newer, better version; your endless search for the cream of the crop.
9. "We'll Always Have Paris"
You've gone through a phase, or maybe you're in one now, where all you want is the foreign names. If it's over, you cherish the time so much that you don't have regrets.
It was a time you treasured, and with the mementos you have, it's a time you remember fondly. Maybe it's that damned accent?
On the shopping side, you probably intensify your obsession with the foreign names after a big bonus, promotion or birthday. Think Christian Dior, Coco Chanel or Louis Vuitton, just to name a few.
10. It's Draining Your Wallet, But It's So Worth It
It's not like you binge-spent, so where did your money go? You're an excellent rationalizer, just not when it comes to rationing what you spend. You told yourself it was worth it.
Your fashion sense speaks volumes about your personality, and your experiences in life are most certainly more valuable than your rent check. At certain times, however, you stop and think, "Maybe I should start using my savings account..."
Photo Courtesy: Buena Vista Pictures/Pretty Woman