“Make Dating Great Again!” A play on the phrase coined by the 45th man elected into the White House. The phrase “Make America Great Again” was simple and catchy. For his supporters it did exactly what it was meant to do. However, when asked to clarify a time when, America was great, we on the opposing side can always prove that even during the most prosperous eras, America was never great for everyone involved.
However, when it comes to the topic of dating, it appears there was a time that we can reflect back to; before the word date became commonplace, there was courting.
The significance in the man’s act of courting was to prove himself worthy of his future bride’s hand in marriage. Urban literature and legend paints a glorious picture of long walks in the park holding hands, sitting on the porch drinking lemonade, maybe even stealing a kiss or two. All of these sweet gestures would last months, sometimes years- all leading up to the man asking her father for his daughter’s hand in marriage. If the father approved, he would then ask his future bride and she would often say yes. They would then plan a wedding and be married in spring or fall. The wedding night would be a mixture of excitement, fear, sexual frustration and often over within the hour.
Fast forward to today. I, like many women living in New York City, am single. I was with my last ex for over a year and the ex before him, we were together for almost two years. After my last break up, I figured I wanted to take some time for myself. It was early spring: I was training for my first marathon, I had just got a new job and I didn’t want any distractions. Things were finally falling into place, I was getting healthy with my running, I was spending more time with my friends and family, I was happy at work, and I was genuinely happy being alone.
Then as the temperature started to drop, and the leaves started to turn, the bitter feeling of loneliness started to spread. So, like any girl in her twenties, I did what most women do, I turned online dating. (Just to be clear; I was not new to this. I had been online dating since before it was called such. I was in AOL chat-rooms with a screen-name that I still use for my emails to this day. The majority of my long-term relationships were initiated online, including the last two.) So, when I re-opened my account I figured it wouldn’t be so hard to find a man that would be interested in dating me: I’m smart, cute, very caring, have a nice personality, and a nice body. With all those credentials and more I figured that I would have a handsome suitor in no time; and in the very least, a nice guy that could eventually grow into a friend or companion.
Boy! Was I in for a rude awakening?
I started with the apps I was already familiar with: Badoo and OKCupid. They were the two that I had the most luck with, so I figured they would be a good place to start. Immediately it was a disaster. A steady stream of men with nothing to offer: men with no jobs, no plans, and no goals, with baby mama drama or just plain unattractive.
Now, I know that beauty comes from within; but that shit does not work when it comes to online dating. If I meet you at work: I get to know your personality, you can woo me with your kind words, and even though you can look like a gorilla attacked your face, there’s a chance that I could look beyond the physical and see the person inside. But, if I’m swiping through profile pictures that are: grainy, from when you were 14 (rocking braids and oversized clothing), you clearly look like you miss jail, your teeth are jacked up, and you look like a baboon attacked your face- you have no chance.
In finance you never want to put all your eggs in one basket, you always should diversify your funds so in the hope to better enhance my odds I decided to expand my dating apps: Bumble, Tinder, Coffee Meets Bagel, Black People Meet, and Black White Interracial Dating (yes- I am down with the swirl). There were a few promising men (I’ll discuss what happened with those in later posts) but to my dismay I still was unable to land a suitable, long-lasting, candidate.
It became abundantly clear to me, about a year in, that; during the years I was in my relationships, the dating world had dramatically and drastically changed, and the rules I once knew and had success with no longer applied.
No longer were people discussing likes and/or dislikes, they were discussing positions. No longer was the 4 pictures on my profile enough, men often asked for more “body pics” or “something sexy” at which point, I knew where this conversation was headed so I just blocked them at that point. I was now in a world where so many people were so openly having sex at such a rapid rate, even I was shocked. (Now, my friends that know me well know that I was and still am a very sexual being. So for me to be alarmed at the rate in which things were happening was shocking to them.) I’m not talking about the; meet at the bar, have a few drinks, and come back to my place for sex, sex (that’s the spontaneous sex- the sex that I’m sure most people engage in). What I’m talking about the; G conversation to X, to receiving an unrequested dick pic sent, want to smash or not sex. (So you don’t even want to meet me and make sure you like my personality before you try to sex, sex- This was new territory for me).
Long gone were the days of talking on the phone for a few days or weeks, then meeting for a coffee or dinner and seeing if the chemistry is the same in person, then trying to get the person into bed. There’s no longer finesse, flirtation, or effort. The only effort invested is to search through the phone to find the right dick pic and hit send. At first I wondered if it was only I, and as I started to vent to my friends, some single and also online dating, they expressed the same dilemmas I was dealing with.
What happened to the days of dating? Had they all disappeared?
All that I had once known was being replaced by a superficial conversation, often lasting less than 24-hours – Why?
Is it because both men and women are horny bastards? Is it because we are living in a culture that’s oversaturated with sexuality? Or is it because some people just want sex without commitment? The answer to all those questions are yes.
I am well aware that both man and woman do not always want to be in a relationship. Some people, and often time way more people than we would like to acknowledge, to our own surprise, just want safe sex with a reliable companion.
This sexual companionship has often been labeled as ‘friends with benefits’ but in the sake of being honest. In my past FWB, as I am older and able to accurately analyze the situation, the “F” was never there. We were just benefits, because we never did anything together besides have great sex. So just to make it clear, if this sounds like your situation: you get a call or text, he/she arrives or leaves to meet you, you talk for a bit then get to business, then he/she is on his/her way- you are NOT a FWB, you are in fact, in a ‘fuck-sationship’ – nothing more, nothing less.
The men that crossed my path during the years did not want a relationship; they wanted to have sex and “see where things go” (which was code for a fuck-sationship). As the days, weeks, months, and years ticked by and I continued to: left-swipe, block, delete, curse out; my hopes of finding, at this point, any man worthy of my time dramatically dwindled. Every time I was actually able to engage in conversation with a man that met my initial criteria, there was often a hidden agenda and it would happen again, again, and again. So I really wonder what happened to the romance of dating? Is it lost forever or is this just a 3-year period of bad timing? I’m still holding onto the hope that something will change and the act of dating will once again be great. I miss long phone calls, and good morning texts, and having butterflies before a first date and the anticipation of a text or call after the first date. I’ll continue to have faith that the universe will, one day soon, Make Dating Great Again.