recently thoughtcatalog put up a blog post entitled “10 old-fashioned dating habits we should make cool again.” (i’d strongly recommend that you have a go at it before reading this post. also, i added the hyphen to old-fashioned. come on. proofread that shit!). i knew, without even clicking on the link, images of disney characters and rose petals frolicking in my head, that i would disagree with the majority of the list, but i read it anyway. this is probably because i’m a bit of a masochist, but more so because i smelled my post brewing.
everyone is different and expects different things from a relationship at any stage, from the first date to the proposal to makin’ babies, if applicable, but being that this is my blog (mine!), i’d like to talk about what i think of old-fashioned dating habits.
i think they’re old and out of fashion.
i’d say it’s likely that i’m destined to live somewhere only outcasts go, like under a bridge or a remote cabin or las vegas, so i don’t feel too badly about tossing some opinions out there, of which most people won’t be too fond.
my general opinion on flowers as presents has always been that they are dumb—unless, that is, they’re in a beautiful garden through which i can stroll, much like the one my mom has planted to the right of our house. i appreciate the thought behind flowers, like when they come from someone who i’ve known for a while. my ex-boss gave me flowers after i’d been in my position for a year, and that was a lovely gesture. those daisies, however, were earned. flowers on a first date? did we meet in a bar and probably not have a real conversation because that would have required screaming in the other person’s ear? are the only things you know about me the ones in my online dating profile? what did i do to deserve those flowers? oh, i have a pretty smile? i couldn’t feel more objectified. give me flowers once i’ve shown you my sparkling personality. or, you know. never.
i’m obviously assuming that these flowers are to be given from man to woman and not the other way around. i’d therefore be apt to feel pretty silly, having shown up (or, wait—he came to my door, according to cool old-fashioned dating habit number one) empty-handed. i’m for gender equality and, after all, as kristen wiig said in bridesmaids, “this is the nineties.”
“i feel as though i should be bringing the guy something in exchange,” i said to my male friend the other night while we were discussing the thoughtcatalog post. “what would you want for flowers? a subscription to maxim?”
he paused and looked up. “porn?”
ah, i see now why women don’t bring anything to a first date.
a man comes to your door to pick you up so he can make sure you don’t trip walking down your own sidewalk and are able to get into a car properly by opening and closing the door for you. i’m pretty sure the last time someone opened and closed a car door for me was after i’d been placed in a car seat, and i’m fine with having been somewhat nonverbal the last time this chivalrous event occurred. i checked, and i am quite capable of walking to a car, opening the door, and sitting on the seat all by myself. okay, so maybe the “here” text message isn’t too romantic, but how about: “hey, you, i’m outside, waiting in the car for ya, keeping it warm. :-)”? i’d take that over being extracted from my place of residence any day.
and on that note, having the door held open for me so that i can walk into a building or a room first? do i get a prize for being first? am i being put on a pedestal? i’m a person, i don’t belong on a pedestal, and i can open a door well enough on my own.
so you’re on a date. you’re wearing a nice dress. you’re sitting across from your date. you’ve been talking for an hour. you’ve had a glass of wine. the bar is dimly lit and all sorts of romantical. you’re finding your date attractive. you’re thinking, i wouldn’t hate it if he kissed me. and then, just when you think he might, he puts out his hand timidly and asks:
“is it okay if i put my hand on your thigh, on the intimate-but-not-too-invasive place just above your knee?”
well, that was clunky and awkward, akin to the ass-out hug vince vaughn describes in wedding crashers. if i don’t want you to touch my leg, i’ll find a way, quickly, to let you know as much. but don’t approach me as if you’re asking a waitress if you can sub sweet potato fries for regular, because you weren’t sure if that’d be “cool” with the kitchen? is that cool? are you positive? touch my damn leg.
the other day i was talking to a single friend of mine about her dating life, and she said she was seeing a guy, but she wasn’t feeling that into him. i asked how they met, and she gave me a rundown of their brief relationship thus far (they exchanged a few messages online and have since had a number of dates over the time period of a month) and, “of course,” she said, “typical me, i slept with him too quickly.”
i didn’t ask what “too quickly” meant, but i could gather that it meant either dates one, two, or three, because women usually think they’ve exited slut territory around date four (what the reasoning for this is, i’m not sure). i told her that she must stop, quit, cease, and desist feeling as if sex is something to give up, something women aren’t supposed to want or find enjoyable until it’s socially acceptable to want and enjoy it.
the list of ten says, “a date does not have to be a precursor for sex.”
. . .
i have already seen relationships, even the mothers of all relationships, marriages, fail because people have married the male version of their best friend, someone who shares their likes and dislikes, is caring and nice and sweet and funny, earns a good living, likes babies and animals, but isn’t—
- the guy whose clothes they want to rip off, or
- the guy with whom they want to stay up all night, talking about absolutely everything.
women will later cite the cause of this breakup as a lack of:
- “passion,” and
your partner should not be one or the other—a sexual, passionate man or a reliable, wholesome nice-guy—and it’s a myth that they have to be. your partner should be both. the best friend who tells you when you have a booger in your nose and the lover who kisses you (or touches your leg) without asking, maybe so unexpectedly that you jump in your seat a tad.
sex is really fucking important. for men and women. i said it. if you don’t think of a date as a precursor for sex, why are you going on the date? i can think of a slew of ways to make new friends, but a date isn’t one of them—at least it shouldn’t be at the top of the list. i’ve had friends come out of dates, but this result certainly wasn’t intentional or planned.
the excessiveness and ostentation of engagements, showers, bachelorette parties, and weddings has hit an all-time high, and is one of those often-discussed small-talk topics that late-twenties/early thirties women bring up at dinner or drinks. it sits alongside how texting is ruining relationships and communication, why can’t we be more like canada and have free health insurance, and gosh, everyone on facebook is getting married or having a baby, and i found a gray hair and there’s a new wrinkle on my forehead. the ironic thing is that i’ve heard the same women with high-carat (not karat or carrot) rocks on their fingers poo-poo another woman who spent “too much” on her wedding. side note: i wrote high-carat because i’m not even sure what is considered a large carat diamond on an engagement ring. one carat? two? anyway . . .
when did life become so much about things? women want to be equal. they want the same pay and opportunities as men. they want the same respect. but they also want to be treated like princesses? if you want to make certain that you continue to earn less than men, keep expecting them to buy you drinks all night, bring flowers to every first date, and take you to fancy places so you can waltz your ass around.
if a man were to go on four first dates in a month, he could conceivably spend ten dollars for gas to pick up a woman (or take a cab to get her), twenty dollars (conservatively) for those damn flowers, and fifty dollars (again, conservatively) for dinner and/or drinks, bringing one date to a grand total of eighty dollars, on the low end. times four, that’s $320 a month. and then, i’m sure, if it turns into a relationship, he’s expected not just to keep the status quo, but most likely to improve upon it. shows and concerts and ballets and expensive dinners and elaborate proposals and an engagement ring worth, at the very least, three months’ salary. i make practically pebbles for the work i do and i cannot fathom spending a few k on anything, least of all a symbol for something that should not need such extravagant symbolizing.
“i’ve put dating on the back burner because i can’t afford it,” my other male friend said to me once a few years ago.
i hear ya, pal.
i went to costa rica at the beginning of october, and while i was there, i wanted to get my boyfriend a souvenir. all the usual things—t-shirts, shot glasses, and coffee—oh my god, the most incredible coffee ever—seemed ill-fitting. i’ve rarely caught him wearing a shirt containing any sort of writing; the only shot i’ve seen him take he sipped and then gave the rest to me; and he pretty much categorizes coffee as molten poison. i had my work cut out for me, until i saw the imperial beer–labeled, waterproof drawstring bag my traveling buddy was toting. i flashed to an image of my boyfriend’s suitcase, his laundry kept in one of those plastic, tall, kitchen-dwelling garbage bags, and i thought, that’s it. i made it my goal to find one of those pouchlike bags. when i finally did, i realized it was the first outright gift i’d ever bought him, even though i’ve known him since late february. i also realized that while he’s paid for flights and club covers and food, he’s never once placed a traditional (or old-fashioned, if you please) gift into my hands. i smiled. i smiled again days later when i saw him use the bag exactly as i’d intended it.
then i realized that other people probably think all this is weird—insane, even. but then i realized, oh, right! i stopped giving a shit about what other people think a long time ago.
ladies, go halfsies, i say.
or start bringing porn to your first dates. it’s only fair.