I am doing NaBloPoMo this month. 30 blog posts in 30 days. Come join me. #nablopomo2022
My friend Stephany recently shared her new rules for dating (specifically online dating) after reading Logan Ury’s book, How Not to Die Alone (which I haven’t read, but am intrigued by) and I literally had to pick my jaw up from the floor after reading her post. Not because I found the rules outrageous (in fact, I was impressed by how much thought she put into creating these rules for herself and her plan to implement them for a better dating experience), but because I was so shocked at how much work dating is these days. I would probably die as an old spinster if I had to date in the modern world. I don’t think I would have the energy and patience for it. Here’s a confession: I am a total ‘dating ignoramus’ because I don’t think I have ever dated.
But wait, San, you’re married. You must have at least dated Jon!
Well, yes and no. If you call “meeting, getting to know each other, and becoming a couple” dating, then yes, we dated. Sort of. But if you talk about dating in the sense of the word as it is used today, then no, we didn’t date. In fact, I think Jon completely failed at the dating etiquette of modern times, by just randomly chatting me up, and then “following” me around for the rest of the evening. He confessed later to me that most American girls would have probably been weirded out by this and would have politely found an “exit strategy”. But there was nothing weird about it for me and I had such a great time talking to him that I didn’t even think about it twice. (Come back later for one of the AMA posts when I will share more about how we met.)
Honestly, “dating” is a very American concept for me, which comes with a lot of rules and expectations that I was not aware existed in Germany (maybe they do now? Maybe things have changed in the last two decades, who knows? They probably have.)
I had precisely two relationships in my life: a long-term boyfriend from when I was a teenager to my mid-20s, and then Jon. Both these relationships just “happened” naturally. I wasn’t actively seeking a partner (well, as much as you’re “not actively seeking” as a young adult when you’re meeting new people), and I didn’t (have to) go out with a bunch of guys before settling on one. And granted, this all happened before the era of social media and dating apps (which sound like they have complicated things A LOT).
Of course, I did have crushes (as a teen), and I probably hung out with a guy or two, but there was never actual dating involved. (Maybe it was dating, and they just didn’t call it that back then. It was never an official date (like, I wasn’t asked to “go on a date”) and there was no talk about a “second or third date”. Everything developed quite organically (or not).
The whole process today, especially if dating apps are involved, weirdly sounds like you’re applying for a job as a romantic partner. There are dating app profiles and suggestions on how to best present yourself, conversation starters, rules about the first date, and the second date. And yes, while I realize that most people probably have their own strategies when it comes to dating, my take-away from Stephany’s post and the whole dating thing is: I never had to do any of this, and THIS SOUNDS FREAKIN’ EXHAUSTING. It does not sound like fun to jump through all these hoops to find a partner (although I do know – quite a few! – people that successfully matched on dating apps and have beautiful relationships now).
The closest I have come to ‘dating’ in recent years is trying to make new (local) girlfriends (and we all know how hard that can be, without the added pressure of physical attraction).
This is to say, I don’t envy anyone who’s going through this process. Maybe I was just incredibly lucky that I never had to date as an adult, that I didn’t have to employ all these strategies to find my person. Our paths crossed randomly and I am quite relieved that it worked out that way (twice!) for me. However, I am also somewhat of a romantic and believe that people who are meant to find each other will find each other. One way or another.
Are you currently dating?
What’s your dating experience?
Or are you mostly ignorant like me?