The game has changed, people. Nobody else is saying anything, so I’m taking it upon myself to break the silence and up the ante on dating in 2014, because the rules are different. I myself have never been very good at dating. The forced intimacy, the pretending to love to hike or feng-shui or other shit that makes me look more attractive—it’s not my bag and it never has been.
My ideal first date would be Netflix, pizza, and a laid-back activity. I’m the type of person who wants to start at the unsatisfying-but-comfortable date number 40, in which you kind of hate the person, rather than date number one. Date one is awkward. It involves shaving pretty much every part of your body. You can’t fart on a first date. What you choose for food matters because we both know that the other person is noticing, so you’re not allowed to eat like the savage baby gorilla you really are.
Now, I know you’re reading this and thinking, “Well, the first date is always awkward. Just because the game ain’t comfortable doesn’t mean it’s changed,” and for what it’s worth you’re right. What has changed is the introduction of technology into this whole mess. Tinder. Grindr. Snapchat. Facebook. Sexting. Make no mistake; the social network is slowly but surely fucking up the dating world. I’d argue that this change is particularly hard on those of us who weren’t born in this millennium.
If you’re like me and can remember what it’s like to have a home phone line, you can bet there’s at least one part of dating today that throws you for a loop. The conventional, heteronormative (and yes, more than a little sexist) rules of dating that our parents grew up with no longer apply. Either person can call or text first after the first date—the onus is on you to make contact if that’s what you want to do.
Similarly, you can now text a picture of your junk, in efforts to woo your partner. Snapchatting the contents of your underpants is not only socially acceptable, it’s sometimes considered sexy. I always get uncomfortable when I get photogenetalia—how am I supposed to respond? “Oh thanks! It’s 8 a.m., and a picture of your erection is exactly what my coffee needed!”
My point is that my coffee no longer measures up and you have ruined my morning. There are no boundaries and there are no codes of conduct. If you’re going to reject someone, it can be as easy as not responding to their text. Of all the ingenious innovations that technology provides, it is also slowly but surely turning us all into cowards. It can be especially painful when you want someone to text you and they don’t.
Silence from any device becomes the ominous, “Yeah, you’re nice but—.” We live in a world where anyone can contact anyone else at any time. There is no excuse that the person you’re dating isn’t calling you back, unless of course, they don’t want to call you back. We live in the dating equivalent of the Hunger Games—nobody really wants to be there, and it’s pretty much guaranteed you’ll be praying for death at one point or another.
My solution is pretty simple: keep it kind. Remember that there is a person on the other end of whatever line of communication you’re using. Be nice. Rejection is rejection, and if you’re going to do it, at least pony up and be straight about it. The technology has changed, but being a good person hasn’t, and just because it’s easy doesn’t mean there are no consequences of being an asshole. It’s still a jungle out there, but now the jungle is filled with douchebags on smart phones. So be nice—both to yourself and to others. Until next time, may the odds be ever in your favour . . .