Today's lesson is about dating. Now before you go thinking that I'm gonna start bashing men, let me clarify, I love men. I love almost everything about them...except for dating them. But I will not place the blame on the entire male gender because a) that is being unjust and b)it's quite possible that I'm just as much, if not more, to blame. Maybe I've just been out of it for so long that I didn't realize that some rules have changed and the rules that haven't....well, it's possible that I thought they would have by now.
Let's have some background so maybe we can figure out where the problem is..
First, I'm new to the single scene (is that phrase still used?) after being out of it for nearly 12 years. I've been dating for almost a year now. The first thing that I noticed is that the preferred method of meeting is online. I'm good with that. Theoretically, that should give 2 people the opportunity to chat and discover if the awkwardness of a first date is merited. So, I got on board, starting with, the free dating sites. (I can hear the collective groan) I was literally bombarded with messages, which was quite the ego boost. Then the hatchet fell and I learned a new term...."friends with benefits." I was quite naive with regards to this term despite the fact that I feel I'm pretty hip to a lot of happenings in today's world. I have many friends, all of which provide benefit to my life. I learned the hard way that this was not the same type of benefit. This benefit provided me with enough material to give any porn magazine a run for it's money as these individuals are quite fond of sending photos. Back in the day, we called it hooking up or booty calls.
So, after updating my "free" profile in an attempt to limit these requests, I opened up another can of worms.....which, given my current state of mind, was worse. The messages slowed, as I expected, but the ones that I did receive were practically marriage proposals. I completely understand that the ultimate mission of dating is to find that one person to spend the rest of your life with. But even Cosmo still contains articles about how to get a guy to commit. I had no problem finding this apparently not so rare man.
So I started to investigate the word, "dating." Could it be possible that I've had the wrong definition for 42 years? But there it was, black and white, direct from Wikipedia...."....a form of courtship, and may include any social activity undertaken by, typically, two persons with the aim of each assessing the other's suitability as a partner....." I am drawn specifically to the words "social activity" and "assessing." Is random sex now considered a "social activity?" Has it progressed to the point of Pictionary? And the word "assessing." How can it be, when many times in our world that we must go through several points of assessment before a decision is made, that one could make a decision to be with someone so quickly? I had 3 interviews for my last job and went through at least 15 meetings to buy a house.
So, using my mom's philosophy of "you get what you pay for," I decided to use the more upscale dating sites. I felt that being matched on 32 levels of compatibility might provide a better fit for my definition of dating. We'll just leave it at the fact that I lost $79 only to discover that the site was populated with the exact same guys. No, I don't mean similar, I mean the EXACT same guys.
I was, and still am, disillusioned with the concept that dating is supposed to be fun. It is hardly what I would call fun. I have had more fun getting my taxes done. So what is it that I've missed in my time away? Did someone put out a handbook that I have yet to purchase? Will it help me to determine the correct phrase to use because I've learned that using the phrase, "I'm not currently seeking a long term relationship" has the direct result of classifying me as a "friend with benefits" but I am also unable to say "I'm not looking for a one night stand" as I will have a guy with his dog and a suitcase at my door on the first date....
I'm thinking of investing in a gps to find the elusive middle ground.