If you're anything like me, in your 30's, single, and ready to settle down, you might find yourself wondering… When did dating get so complicated? Remember what it was like 10 years ago? You met someone, you got along, you found them attractive, and well…then you were a couple.
Some of the complications have come with age. Look around at the dating pool of 30-somethings. It's dwindled down quite a bit. At this point, you've probably noticed most of your friends are married, engaged, having kids, or at the very least…coupled up. People haven't really started getting divorced yet. There's not many of us left! I'd guess there are more singles in the pool at ages 40-50 than there are from 30-40.
In addition, at least for women, our priorities have shifted with age. At 22, all we wanted was a cute guy who had killer flip-cup skills and would split a bottle of Skoal vodka with us. We didn't care that he worked at Starbucks, because, hell…you yourself worked as a waitress at Ponderosa. We didn't worry about whether he could support a family, be a good father, or get along with our Dad. Now, while we still need to be attracted to a mate, the looks category has taken a back seat to things like stability, ethics, and paternal instincts. Take me for example, here is one automatic deal-breaker. I won't date someone that doesn't have a good job…it doesn't matter what that job is (as long as it's legal), but I need to know that one day I can stay home to raise my children and live comfortably. I know we're in a recession, but it doesn't matter. No job = no date. So as we age, not only has our dating pool suffered a major drought, we have to weed through a mess, searching for someone who meets our qualifications.
And how do you weed people out? Why, facebook of course!!!
Facebook is in neck-in-neck race with internet dating sites to ruin our lives. If you have ever been on match.com, eHarmony.com, plentyoffish.com, etc, you know what I'm talking about. Let me make a little side note that I have witnessed some great relationships come off these sites, but that has not changed my overall perspective.
Remember what life was like before google, facebook and match.com? No? Me either. I mean, HOW did we go on a date with a man if we couldn't stalk him beforehand. Every time I go on a date my friends ask “did you google him?” And I want to answer: “Yes. It came up as Joe Smith: chronic drug user, cheater, doesn't floss his teeth, huge beer gut.” Come on people, what do you think you're gonna find? Now, Google, of course, is just the first step in a long line of internet-driven psychotic behaviors.
Google is the least of our problems. God forbid you actually have a good date, and you both are on facebook. First of all, you'd think that making the decision to add someone on facebook is like trying to decide the fate of the free world. “What does it mean?” “Should I wait for him to add me first.” “How long do I wait to send a friend request?” We are seriously a bunch of idiots. And when you do take that huge step and add the person as your friend, you have a whole lot of work ahead of you. You then have to meticulously untag photos, change your bio, and make sure you don't say anything that could be misconstrued as stupid, desperate, ignorant, etc on your status update. After you censor your own profile, you then become what is now known as a socially-acceptable stalker and go through his entire profile with a fine-toothed comb, over-analyzing every single post he's ever gotten from any female. “Who is that girl? Why is his arm around her in that photo? Is he wearing KEDS??? That BETTER be his cousin.…” You constantly check your chat box to see if he's online, and if he will send you a message. You get pulled over for texting while driving, and then try to explain to the officer that you weren't texting, you were checking your boyfriend's facebook page every 13 seconds. Just when you think he is ignoring you, you decide that you need to have “the talk.” You know – the one where you discuss if you are going to change your relationship status. Because as well all know, no relationship is to be taken seriously unless you are “in a relationship” on facebook. The day you change your status to “in a relationship,” you even get a little heart on your profile and all your friends can “like” it!! OH GOODIE!!!
Facebook is in neck-in-neck race with internet dating sites to ruin our lives. If you have ever been on match.com, eHarmony.com, plentyoffish.com, etc, you know what I'm talking about. Let me make a little side note that I have witnessed some great relationships come off these sites, but that has not changed my overall perspective. You know what advice I got most often when I was on these sites was? “You should be dating a lot of people.” And, WHY would that be? Obviously because everyone else on that site is doing the same thing. So basically we are all just dating a bunch of people, never giving one person an actual chance; because we are so busy trying to figure out who is best, and if there could be someone better out there in match.com land. All the members could probably play six degrees of separation and all be linked together somehow. The worst part about these sites is that when you go to someone's profile, it says when they were last online. So you are constantly looking to see how often, and the last time they were online. If it was within a week, and they weren't on sending YOU a message, you assume they are seeing other people. Then you get pissed and start sending off winks random-fire as if it's some sort of revenge. Of course you can never ask the person if they are dating other people, that's like match.com suicide. And the worst thing that can happen to you: he's “online now!!” Nobody knows the proper way to handle this situation. Do you say hello, do you ignore him, or do you send a psychotic sounding message like “how many other girls are you talking to, you fucking prick?” Sigh. Luckily I gave up internet dating before it caused me serious permanent mental damage.
So, what's the answer? How do we un-complicate dating?? Obviously social media has taken our lives by storm, affecting everything from corporate marketing to our relationships. There's just simply no way to go back to basics. I guess we just have to live and learn how to use these tools to our advantage. But I just can't figure out how… Thoughts?